A side by side review of the Bose SoundDock Portable and the Bose SoundDock Series II offers the consumer a useful method to evaluate two of Bose’s more popular digital speaker systems. As both contenders enter the audio arena who will emerge as the undisputed leader in the Bose digital music system line-up?

Bose SoundDock Portable

Coming in at just over 5 lbs, the Portable is a lean and solidly built unit. A gray mesh grille covers the front of the dock while the rest of it is encased in a black glossy shell. Designed with portability in mind, the unit has a convenient carrying handle and also a rotating docking station which neatly hides away with a simple touch. The Portable’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery at full charge will last anywhere between 3-8 hours depending on volume level and sound settings.

Some of the Portable’s other features are a remote control which provides basic functioning of your docked device, auxiliary input for other sound sources, and a power brick which has a built-in groove to wrap the power cord around. There is also no drop off in sound quality when the unit is running on battery power.

The Portable incorporates the proprietary Bose waveguide speaker technology and delivers a clear, balanced and robust sound output. The unit works well with a variety of music genres with tight bass notes, adequate mid-range and clear treble. Any customization of sound settings will have to come via the equalizer in your docked device; the unit has only volume control buttons on it.

Bose SoundDock Series II

The Bose SoundDock Series II shares roughly the same dimensions as the Portable but weighs slightly less at 4.5 lbs. It also has the same sleek durable build as the Portable but offers the consumer a choice of silver or black exterior casing. The docking station is fixed in place with the Series II with volume controls on either side of it.

The 8 button remote control for the Series II is identical to the Portable’s providing basic power, play, volume, track seek and playlist navigation controls. The Series II will also charge your docked device while you listen to it. An auxiliary input allows connection to other sound sources such as: MP3/CD players, TV/DVD, computer.

Acoustics from the Series II are impressive with full, balanced sound and no distortion even at higher volume levels. It produces a rich sound without being overpowering and brings out subtleties and details sometimes missing from other systems. There is no built-in equalizer with this dock, so sound settings are only controlled through your docked device.

The Verdict

After the dust settles and each combatant retreats to their corner which speaker system comes out on top?

Firstly, the Portable sells for $100 more than the Series II; this in itself might be the only determining factor for some consumers. As far as sound quality is concerned there is no appreciable difference between the two units. They both share the signature Bose room-filling, high quality sound reproduction. Ultimately, the Bose SoundDock Portable wins out because of its portability features. The ability to take your digital speaker system with you gives the Bose SoundDock Portable the competitive edge to emerge as the winner.