Pulling the Parrot Party out of its box, the first thought was that the Bluetooth speaker looked a bit goofy. In shiny black plastic with grey rubber edging, the dog-bone shaped speaker set looked like it had been pried out of the side of a car door.
But in the two minutes it took to set up and get clear, solid sound from my mobile phone, the Parrot Party won a new fan.
Press a blue LED-lit button on the top, and it’s automatically in pairing mode, and ready for your phone’s input – or your computer or other Bluetooth device, for that matter. However, using it via a laptop isn’t quite as simple as a phone, as software must be installed first.
Those with a Nokia 6212 Classic need not even flip through their phone menus, as a simple wave of the handset over the right spot on the Parrot Party hooks it all up automatically using Near Field Communication (NFC). Handy, that.
Of course, speakers are all about the sound, and this is where the Parrot Party was most surprising. Music comes through clear and full, and the little speakers can get quite loud if cranked all the way up. It also features a bass boost, which thickens the sound out nicely, while pushing the “stereo widening” button apparently does just that, and widens the sound field. To be honest, both buttons are a bit useless, as the sound is so much better with both on that there’s no reason to ever turn them off.
Coming in at 650g, it’s light but not super tiny – indeed, it’d be hard to imagine such good quality sound in anything smaller. But it is small (and sturdy) enough to chuck in a rucksack for a picnic in the park or a handbag to bring to a party. And because it’s so easy to set up, anyone at your picnic or party will be able to share their music, as long as their phone features Bluetooth.
But if you don’t feel like sharing, it’s handy around the house, too. Leave it sitting on the shelf, and you can control it from your phone or laptop – flipping through songs or turning up the volume without walking across the room. On my Nokia, I couldn’t get the full volume range, however.
It also comes with a cord to connect to computers and music players that aren’t Bluetooth-friendly.
Fully charged, it lasts for up to eight hours – more than enough for a picnic, but if you’re using it around the house, you may want to keep it plugged in.
Parrot Party Bluetooth Speaker Info
Typical price: £70
Good sound quality
Easy to use
Not cheap at £70
Sound buttons a bit useless
Verdict: An odd-looking speaker that packs a punch with sound
More info: Parrot Website