One Minute Review: Bose SoundDock Portable speaker system (with iPhone)

sounddockp What: Bose SoundDock Portable, $399 (

The good: The SoundDock Portable weighs under five pounds, has strong volume and bass, tight design and solid construction. Bose reports up to three hours of use on the rechargeable battery when listening at full volume. The company says lowering the volume provides longer battery life but does not cite specific estimates. In my test with the iPhone, I was able to receive calls while using the SoundDock Portable; like the iPhone’s headphones, the music fades to silence to take the call, then fades back when the call ends.

The not so good: The power adapter is big and clunky, and while a groove to wrap the cord is nice, the shape and size of the adapter makes it an unpleasant travel partner. The iPhone’s volume control is deactivated when plugged into the SoundDock, so you’ve got to use the remote to raise and lower the volume. The iPhone’s other controls work fine, and the remote lets you also pause, play and skip tracks. Lastly, as with certain other Bose products, there’s no bass or treble control and the bass is very heavy while the treble not fine enough. Since female vocalists like Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones, Nina Simone and Alanis Morisette are my favorites, treble matters to me; I managed to improve the sound of the ladies’ voices by changing the iPhone’s EQ setting to Acoustic (Vocal Booster and Treble Booster both gave too much treble).

Bottom line: Great room-filling sound with lots of bass, acceptable treble when adjusted via the iPod or iPhone’s EQ setting, but traveling with the clunky adapter is a bummer. Dedicated fans of Bose products will be pleased with the SoundDock Portable, while others may want to consider the less expensive Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere Compact Speakers ($149), which though not as loud and bassy, do produce good sound and are easier to travel with.


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