Bose kit has a reputation for high prices and high quality. This dock is certainly the former, but is it the latter?
Do you live in a massive, minimalist, babe-magnet apartment overlooking a city park? Us, too. You probably also own a Bose product.
In fact, even the paupers who don’t live our dream lifestyle aspire to own one – and people who've never even heard a bit of Bose kit seem to have an opinion about it.
Our own Bose experience has been mixed in the past, but this dock didn't get far from its packaging before we were reminded why so many people hold the company in such high regard.
In classic Bose style, the SoundDock Portable seems at first to be awfully expensive for what it is. There's no facility to stream video files from your iPod (in fact, extra features extend no further than a 3.5mm auxiliary input) and it's unassuming to gaze at.
The remote control carries only basic functions and the huge mains plug means it's tough to plug anything in next to it. The swivelling dock is a sophisticated touch, though, and the rechargeable lithium-ion battery is integrated neatly.
The rear-firing reflex port doubles as a carrying handle, too, so the Bose is as portable as these things get.
Packing a portable punch
The dock regains more credibility when it's up and running. The noise it produces sounds appreciably wider than the unit, with surprising punch and drive.
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Timing and integration are good, and the Bose displays a beady eye for detail. There's some vagueness where the upper bass frequencies meet the bottom of the midrange – deeper voices can sound a bit blunted – but across the rest of the frequency range it has natural musicality.
Even what folk fans would call ‘unruly’ tunes are managed without fuss, with under-rehearsed ranting granted some shape. In fact, the SoundDock Portable can turn its hand to just about any music – only the fiercest dance track shows up the bottom end's lack of outright control.
The likeable sound, coupled with neat, tidy design and effortless portability, make this as convincing a dock as we've heard from Bose in a while. We just can't help thinking that the price is a touch high – even for us, and we’re millionaires – and that's where it loses a star.
Bose SoundDock Portable review
Has the usual Bose feel-good glow and mostly great sound – but at a price