Review Bose has decided that iPod users are sufficiently numerous now to venture into the iPod add-on business, but can the company bring its high-end loudspeaker prowess to the world of personal audio? asks Stuart Miles.
Compared to other speakers you can hook up to your iPod, two things about the SoundDock stand out. Firstly, it's a lot more expensive than many of its peers. Secondly, the main and only speaker is big and weighty, measuring 29.8 x 16.6 x 16.2cm and weighing 2.1kg. There are reasons for both. The first is because Bose is Bose and, like Apple, everything it makes doesn't come cheap. The second is because the sound the model produces from this large speaker is very loud, very clear and very good.
What's the catch, I hear you ask? In our mind, the design, while good, just isn't up to what we've come to expect from Bose. The iPod slots into the base of the speaker at the front but it isn't well supported and, well, it wobbles. The docking bay can be swapped out to fit versions for the 10GB, 15GB, 20GB and 40GB iPod and even the iPod Mini, but you won't be able to plug in your 60GB iPod Photo.
On-board controls are thin on the ground. True to the minimalist styling, there's a volume selector on the front, and that's it. The back of the SoundDock sports a connector to allow you to hook it up to a Mac or PC. Unlike Altec Lansing's iM3 iPod speaker set, the SoundDock doesn't feature an additional input socket for a secondary source.
The SoundDock is controlled with a remote, but there's no display to tell you what's being played, or how far into a given track you've got - you have to rely on the iPod's own display for that.
Still, Bose's sound engineering shines through in spades and unlike the Altec Lansing iM3 there are we experience no problems getting the levels right on the iPod and the speaker system. This really is a speaker capable of beating most mini-systems.
The Bose does what it says on the tin, albeit at a price. This model retails at around £250, and while the sound is as impressive as these things get, the iPod fitting, the lack of support for the iPod Photo and the rather bulky remote are disappointing.
If you can stretch to the price this is a great speaker system. But do you really want to pay more for the speakers than you did for player?
|Pros||The sound quality.|
|Cons||No iPod Photo support; the wobbly dock fitting.|
|More info||The Bose Sounddock site|
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