Rocking out with John Mellencamp's greatest hits once again proved the little system's stamina. Yes, a decent home-theater system will deliver even more satisfying sound and real stereo separation, but it will take up a lot more space than the little SoundDock. If you're considering Altec Lansing'smicrospeaker set, which also hosts iPods, that travel-friendly unit is half the price ($150), but the Bose plays louder and has deeper bass and clearer treble.
Our biggest gripe with the SoundDock is its lack of inputs, which means that you can't connect anything to it besides a dock-equipped iPod. Ideally, a speaker accessory costing $300 would be a little more flexible. Also, it'd be nice if the SoundDock, like Tivoli Audio's, had a built-in rechargeable battery, making it a truly cordless speaker that you could place anywhere.
When we first reviewed the SoundDock in 2004, it was one of the first dedicated iPod speakers available. In the years since, the the market's been flooded with competing models offering more features and decent (if not better) sound quality. The SoundDock remains well suited for use in an office, a bedroom, or a small living room--especially for those for whom the Bose name is worth paying a premium. But we'd like to see the SoundDock at a slightly lower price and--at the very least--with an auxiliary line-in port.
Editors' note: Freelancer Steve Guttenberg contributed to this review.