By Lawson Wong
Small Size, Big Sound
While people predominately use their iPods at the gym or on their commutes, many want to bring their iPods into the house to enjoy them beyond the earphones. The market has exploded with a plethora of small form factor iPod-dedicated speakers. While any decent pair of 2.1 home computer speakers or shelf system will sound better than any iPod speaker, the true beauty of these speakers is their small size and self-enclosed design that makes them flexible enough to be moved and used in any room in house. Long known for sound quality, Bose was one of the first to enter the iPod speaker market with its SoundDock Digital Music System.
What It Is
Sporting a very iPod-esque look, the Bose SoundDock boasts a simple yet stylish design, and it's available in black and white. Though not the smallest speaker in its class, the SoundDock still fits unobtrusively on your desk or on the shelf. Not meant for the road, the Bose sound system does not run on batteries, counting on the included AC adapter for power.
Easy to Use
Going with its simple design, the SoundDock is also simple to use. Just pop on the correct-sized docking cradle (from the 10 GB iPod to the iPod Nano), plug in the power, and you're ready to rock. The speakers also double as a charging station for your iPod. While you can adjust the volume via the buttons that bookend the dock, the included IR remote grants you more control to pause, forward, reverse tracks in addition to controlling the volume.
Don't let the size of the speakers fool you. The SoundDock lives up to the Bose name -- blaring forth a rich and full sound with tremendous bass. While most other iPod speakers sound tinny and weak, cracking at the first hint of bass, the Bose speakers provide a well-rounded audio experience, easily handling the highs and lows and showing no distortion, even at high volumes.
Not All Roses
While the design and sound quality impressed me, the SoundDock is not perfect. First, you are paying an premium. However, you do get what you pay for. Secondly, unlike less expensive competitors, the Bose unit has no dock connector to sync your iPod with your computer. Though not a deal breaker, I would have expected it, given how much dough you're dishing out. Lastly, the SoundDock lacks an auxiliary audio input jack to connect your computer, TV, or even other digital audio players.
Who Is It For
Although the Bose speaker will take a big bite out of your wallet and does lack some key features, the SoundDock misses nothing in the sound quality department. If you're an audiophile, the SoundDock is the one you want for your iPod.
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