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MP3 Players

Hands-on with Bose's SoundDock Portable, Wave music system DAB and MusicMonitor

Say 'neodymium transducers' and you'll be speaking the language of Bose's newly redesigned SoundDock Portable, just one of the company's latest releases

'It sounds very good, but it's very expensive' tends to be Crave's verdict on Bose kit, and its latest releases are no exception. Of most interest to us at Bose's recent touch-and-try session was the new iPod dock, the Bose SoundDock Portable.

It's a redesign of the well-received original Bose SoundDock, but with a slimmer design and a re-chargeable battery. Bose says that you can get 24 hours of life out of the battery at 'normal listening levels', although this reduces to three if you turn the speakers up to full volume.

The innards have been tweaked, with new 'neodymium transducers', and there's an aux input at the back for iPod Shuffles, or even -- God forbid -- an MP3 player from another manufacturer.

There's no mistaking that years of painstaking, patented research has gone into the SoundDock Portable, but much to the dismay of Bose's MD, Crave's favourite feature is the least techie part of the whole shebang -- the rotating iPod dock itself at the front, which glides away with a lovely smooth action when you tap it gently. How does it sound? Good, but it is very expensive at £279, to be precise. -Jason Jenkins

Here's the rotating iPod dock we loved so much. Next product!

Next up is the Bose Wave music system DAB. You may know the Wave music system from those text-heavy ads in the Sunday papers, where it's been a staple for years, but if not, think expensive clock radio with CD player.

It's one of Bose's flagship products, and the company is very proud of the technologies it has patented to help the Wave produce a decent sound out of a comparatively small box.

This new version is only available in the UK and adds DAB radio to the FM and AM stations available in the old product. Strangely, it does this in a very un-Bose way, through an extra box you can stash away somewhere. While this may seem a little odd given that the last Wave was a one-box system, it means that existing Wave owners can buy the extra DAB box to turn their Waves into DAB models. A DAB antenna has been integrated into the power lead, but if the signal isn’t very strong where you live an extra external one is also available.

The whole DAB system costs £499, the upgrade box is £99 for existing Wave owners.

Finally, we took a look at the Bose Computer MusicMonitor, the two tiny computer speakers that cost £280. Why so expensive? 'Dual internal opposing passive radiators' is the answer, a technology that lets the speakers produce a good sound that's relatively loud even though they're so small. (Usually, small speakers this loud would buzz all over the desk.) When up close, they sound pretty good to our ears, although we're not so keen on the pedestrian design.