Bose SoundDock II review

If you value thrilling energy and precise timing above all else, the SoundDock II has much to offer Tested at £250

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A talented iPod dock that shows Bose has more in its arsenal than high-end kit


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    rhythmic delivery

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    broad yet cohesive soundstage


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    Very little at this price

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Given Bose's reputation for expensive kit, you might be surprised to find this dock sitting at the affordable end of the market.

And, seeing the price tag, it comes as no surprise to find that features and functionality are thin on the ground. Apart from a basic remote and 3.5mm auxiliary input, there's little to get excited about.

Then again, the main focus of this test is on sonic ability, not which unit has the most features.

The Bose feels reasonably sturdy and well-built. Look closely and you can see the twin drivers and other components behind the grille on the front of the unit.

Simplistic remote
This is either interesting or offputting, depending on your preference. The iPod dock protrudes from between the unit's speakers and finds itself flanked by a volume button on either side.

The remote is simplistic but the large, round, rubberised buttons are responsive and allow you to skip through playlists.

Unfortunately, the remote doesn't let you navigate through the other menus on your iPod and select tracks by artist or genre, which would be of more use.

Affordable and musical
For its size, SoundDock II produces an impressively broad and expansive soundstage, even when the source music is relatively compressed.

Rock out to 320kbps of Guns N' Roses' Paradise City and guitars, vocals and drums are tidily organised.

The Bose does a great job of keeping all the elements coherent and distinct.

The SoundDock II is also surefooted with its timing. Spin The Temper Trap's Sweet Disposition and the agile, rolling drumbeat has your toes tapping.

Bass notes sound solid and defined, although other docks in this test can delve deeper and exhibit a greater sense of scale. Having said that, the SoundDock II has no problems filling an average-sized room and just about retains its composure at high volumes.

If you're looking for an affordable, musical iPod dock then the SoundDock II is a good place to start.

MORE: Best iPad, iPhone and iPod docks to buy 2014

See all our dock system Best Buys

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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