This speaker is a cylinder that’s exactly the diameter of a CD – perhaps a homage to the audio generation it supersedes. It can play music from your phone and tablet via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or directly from services such as Spotify Premium (which requires a subscription) when it’s connected to your home broadband router. There’s also a direct audio jack input.
Buttons on top of the unit control volume and playback, but you can’t skip tracks. For most purposes you’ll control the speaker from Gear4’s app, which also lets you create multi-room setups if you buy more than one Stream unit.
2x full-range drivers • 802.11n Wi-Fi • Requires PC, phone or tablet with Bluetooth 2.1 or higher • 210x120x120mm (HxWxD) • 1.1kg • One-year warranty
Unfortunately, the app is very clunky, and could leave you scratching your head a few times before getting things working.
The built-in rechargeable battery makes the Stream 1 fully wire-free (unlike the chunkier Stream 3), and it has a rubber handle on top for carrying it around. At over a kilo it wouldn’t be the ideal choice for holidays, but it’s portable enough to take into the garden or for a day at the beach.
Launched last summer, the Stream range isn’t currently shown on Gear4’s website, which seems slightly ominous.
If you’re planning a future-proof multi-room system, you might want to stick with a more established range, such as Sonos. As a standalone speaker with a good range of connection options and multi-room potential, though, the Stream 1 isn’t bad, and HMV is currently selling it at little more than a third of the normal price of £100.
For £100 this doesn’t have the best sound or the neatest app, but if you can get it for less its a decent portable speaker