Bose SoundDock review: Bose SoundDock

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CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Impressive sound compared to other portable systems. Charges iPod while docked. Rich bass. Remote control included.

The Bad Only works with third- and fourth-generation iPods (and iPod minis). Expensive for a set of speakers. Power supply is rather large.

The Bottom Line If you don't mind the high price, the SoundDock will turn your iPod into a party stereo system where anybody can play DJ.

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As a fairly recent convert to the iPod pheonomenon (I never thought I'd ever need anything more than my MD player), I am only now discovering something that a lot of you probably already know. Probably the biggest for me is that -- while listening to the thousands of songs I have on my iPod is great -- with all that music right at your fingertips, there is an incredible urge to share it with others. But how can you?

There are more and more ways appearing every day. And one of those is the Bose SoundDock. From the first moment you try one of these speaker docking stations out you can't help but notice how compact and easy-to-use the system is. But is that necessarily a good thing? Personally, I have never come across a "portable" sound system that has not been a disappointment when it comes to good sound. For a long time, boom boxes and other mobile sound systems could achieve sizes that would give back strain to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and still not be able to deliver good sound. It is always the bass that's missing, something you don't notice in a portable sound system until you try to use in a party situation where it has to compete with lot of background noise. Put the Bose SoundDock into that situation, however, and the difference is astounding. We've never heard such good bass sound from such a small unit. Granted, the "test scenario" get together was held in a fairly small space -- just that of a small living room -- but the quality of the sound drew everyone there around the unit (where they all began to pull iPods from their pockets and wrestle to get their set list played).

The other nice thing about plugging the iPod into Bose's SoundDock is that it all works just as you'd want it to: the iPod can be controlled via either the supplied remote, or by the controls on the front of the iPod itself. You can plug the headphones in and control the volume independently of the SoundDock volume. The iPod is continually charged as it plays, and the unit doesn't freak out when you plug or unplug the iPod while songs are playing.

The only possible negatives I managed to find had to do with the "brick" power supply that comes with the speakers. I know this way of doing things makes it possible for the speaker box to be smaller, but these things are still annoying. I think I'd rather have slightly larger speakers. The brick also got very hot after only a few hours of playing. I'd hate to think what would happen if it attempted to play the 3.7 days worth of music on my iPod. The one other drawback is the price: with an RRP of AU$499, it's way at the top end of the scale for these kinds of devices.

The bottom line is the Bose system is loud enough for you to enjoy good bass and clear sound in your living room or on the balcony at a volume loud enough to get your neighbours to complain. There are several other competing sound systems for the iPod, such as Harmon Kardon's Soundsticks II, but the all-in-one construction of the SoundDock sure is a lot more convenient than the three-piece format of the Soundsticks.

The SoundDock system works with third- and fourth-generation iPods, as well as the iPod mini. It measures just 16.89 x 16.47cm and weighs 2.1kg.

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Where to Buy

Bose SoundDock

Part Number: CNETBose SoundDock

Typical Price: $499.00

See manufacturer website for availability.