Hands-On Review: Bose SoundDock® Series III Digital Music System

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If you have an iPhone 5, iPod touch 5th generation or iPod nano 7th generation, you're probably already enjoying the sweet sounds of your playlists and podcasts through a pair of headphones throughout the day. But you may also be looking to rock out sans headphones, using an external speaker dock. The Bose SoundDock® Series III Digital Music System lets you do just that, since it features a front-mounted, 8-pin Lightning connector, so you can dock your chosen iOS device.

I recently performed a hands-on test of the speaker here at B&H.

I connected an iPhone 5, and there was an audible click once it was securely in place. The rear-mounted plastic support held it upright. While I listened to music, the iPhone 5 was powering up. This is a very handy feature, which prevents battery failure when you remove it from the dock. What struck me about the speaker is that it's very easy to use. After the iPhone 5 was docked, it started playing right away without any real setup required.

If you've heard the Bose SoundDock® Series II Digital Music System before, you can expect the same rich, room-filling audio from this next iteration. Midrange and vocals were especially detailed in several test tracks. The only difference here is the presence of an integrated Lightning connector, rather than Apple's legacy 30-pin connector. Of course, it features Bose digital signal processing and a proprietary acoustic design that work together to offer drastically improved sound for your iPhone or iPod. If you have music-streaming apps downloaded to your device, such as Spotify or Pandora, this increases your options and lets you listen to just about anything.

For devices that don't use Apple's Lightning connector, Bose has thoughtfully added a 3.5mm input to the back of the speaker so you can connect tablets, CD players, DVD players, computers and more (just be sure you have a 3.5mm cable, since one isn't included). I tried a Samsung Galaxy Tab and it worked seamlessly.

I was impressed by how easy the unit was to use. This was due in part to the pocket-sized remote control, which features eight buttons. From a distance, I was able to turn the speaker on and off, as well as the docked iPhone 5. You can also tweak the volume, skip/scan through tracks and skip from one playlist to the next. One more button is dedicated for playing/pausing your music, but will also toggle to another connected device if you simply press and hold it (in my case it went from the iPhone 5 to the tablet). After I toggled between devices, the phone continued to charge even after it stopped playing.

While this speaker does offer loud, clear sound, it doesn't have a rechargeable battery, and you'll need to plug it into an AC wall outlet to keep it going. Although the iPad 4th generation and iPad mini also feature the Lightning interface, the docking section isn't sized for these—the speaker is tailored to the smaller Lightning devices. The magazine-sized speaker weighs 4.6 pounds, so if you're carrying it from room to room, you'll have no problem. As Lightning-equipped speaker docks continue to hit the market, you will have options—but this one offers great sound, an auxiliary input and is very easy to use.

If you have any more questions about the Bose SoundDock Series III, we encourage you to stop by our SuperStore in New York City and speak to a B&H sales professional, give us a call at 1-800-606-6969 or join us online for a Live Chat.

Docking compatibility Apple iPhone 5, iPod touch 5th generation, iPod nano 7th generation
Connector 1 x 8-pin Lightning
Input 1 x 1/8" (3.5mm) line in
Power Requirements 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
Dimensions (LxWxH) Speaker: 12.0 x 6.75 x 6.5" (30.5 x 17.2 x 16.5 cm) / Remote: 1.5 x 4.25 x 0.25" (3.8 x 10.8 x 0.6 cm)
Weight Speaker: 4.6 lb (2.1 kg) / Remote: 1.9 oz (54 g)

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You're confused, the iPhone wasnt powering up, it was charging. There is a significant difference between those terms.
And what does loud clear sound have to do with its weight?
Docks abd speakers are easy to use, I don't understand why you remark about that repeatedly.
The Galaxy worked seamlessly? Of course it did - it's plugged into a headphone jack, what could possibly prevent it from working?

We appreciate your comments and eagle-eye observations about the Bose SoundDock. We use the terms "charging" and "powering up" interchangeably, but we understand your confusion. We also mention that these docking speakers are easy to use to encourage non-audiophiles who may be frightened away by highly technical speaker systems. As for loud, clear, sound and weight, we were only trying to make the point that for a lightweight speaker, the sound performed very well. Again, thanks for your input, and we hope you enjoy our other articles here at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/indepth/

Once you've connected your iPhone 5 to the Apple Lightning to 30-pin adapter, will it automatically stream an app through the sounddock just by clicking on the app? (Not I do not yet own the adapter, but will purchase one if it will work for this purpose.) Or are there any other steps that need to be taken? I have a radio station app from Maui that I would like to listen to on my Bose Portable SoundDock. I tried hooking it up with an auxilary cord to the back, but that didn't work. It also didn't work in my car's auxilary port, nor did it play through the Bluetooth. Maybe there's a setting on the phone I need to change?

Hi  -

  The BOSE SoundDock is really just a speaker and does not offer control or access to your iPhone Apps.  When your docking iPhone is seated firmly in the dock, all audio that you normally hear via headphones will now play through the BOSE SoundDock. It should be a  "plug and play" experience.  If you continue to have issues contact Apple support to make sure that there are no damages/defects to the dock connector of your iPhone and double check with BOSE support as well.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Please, do you have on sell a Bose SoundDock II compatible bluetooth receiver for Ipod touch? If not, do you know if such a device exists? Thank you.

actually, size and weight play a major part in sound quality. if you didn't know, speakers contain magnets. the larger the magnet, (and therefore the greater the weight), the higher the output, generally. this will create a fuller sound. also, the wider the diameter of the speaker, the frequency range and response is increased, as well as the sound stage. so, axtually, size and weight play a major part in sound quality. thanks for playing.

interesting..

Why not publish some real specs, like power output, size and number of drivers etc? This review is pretty much useless - nothing about sound quality, nothing about speaker placement and how it affects the sound...

Apologies if I missed this in the review... does *any* audio app play through the BOSE dock or only the "iPod" app?

Often other apps like Tune In Radio or MLB-at-bat don't play unless you play through bluetooth.

I'm interested in this but it's useless to me if I can only play my iPod music.

Thx
Jen

Does this soundock turn off when not in use like the soundlink mini? What if i set an alarm at night and when i wake up will the dock work?

Hi-
I am considering buying the Bose SoundDock Series III for my Ipod nano 7th generation. Do you know will I be able to listen to the radio through my ipod if i want? the ipod has the radio in it. The guy at Best Buy said I would need an app for my Ipod but i do not think i do. Any information would be helpful
Thanks

My friend gave me the older model of the Bose Sound Dock and I found out that Bose would give me a replacement, the new Sound Dock Series III. My iPhone 4s and 3rd generation iPod worked on the older model. When I received the new Sound Dock my iPhone and iPod didn't have the correct connection pins.. So I called Bose Customer service to find out what type of cable or cord I could use for the older devices and I couldn't believe they couldn't tell me what type of connector I needed to purchase. I'm so glad I found your post. I didn't know that a DVD, CD etc. could be played on the Sound Dock. I'm going to buy another iPod and Bose states that the Series III was made for the iPod nano and the iPhone 5s. I think that Bose should have a picture and  name of the cable in the set up booklet so that  consumer will know what  to purchase in order to use other devices. I have to set up alll of my equipment and I usually don't have any assistance.

Thank you so much

I have an Apple Ipod Nano 7th generation and it has a FM radio on it that can be played but only heard if the ear buds are used as they are the antenna for the FM radio.  I am interested in playing the FM radio on my Ipod through my Bose SoundDock Series II.  Is there any way to make this work?

Thanks,

Gary

Hi Garry -

Depending upon the signal strength in your location - the FM may work without the headphones. You may also connect them while the iPod is in the dock to check if there is any significant improvement.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

is this portable?

Hi Erin -

The unit  is small , compact and relatively light weight.  It doesn't have a rechargeable battery, so you'll need to plug it into an AC wall outlet to keep it going.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi,

My unit was working, then I unplugged my ipod and took it the car. Came back, plugged into the dock and it won't play. There is no indicator telling you the power is on the unit, no indication the remote is working or not. Bought it for my wife for Christmas so the battery shouldn't be dead yet in the remote. The ipod show the tunes playing and I'm getting no sound. What gives?

Hi Bernie -

Check for obstructions in dock connectors and reseat device.•

Remove your iPod or iPhone case.  Make sure system has AC power.

•Turn system volume up and ensure source is playing. Volume can be adjusted using the SoundDock Series III system remote or the volume controls on the iPod or iPhone.•Remove iPod or iPhone from dock for 5 seconds, then firmly reseat it.•Unplug power cord for 1 minute, then plug back in. This resets the system.•Ensure you point the remote directly at the middle of the system.•Replace remote battery.  If none of these suggestions fix the issues, please contact BOSE directly for remedy under their product warranty:  http://bit.ly/1ryiyCh  

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

How do I make my older IPod compatible with this SoundDock?  Future Shop said  Apple does not support older models, have no adapters to fit.  My IPod has the wide slot.

Hi RP

You can use a 1/8" (3.5mm ) mini stereo male to male patch cable to connect your iPod to the AUX input on the Soundock III.

The 3' black Stereo Mini Male to Stereo Mini Male Cable from Pearstone is a general purpose mini (3.5mm) audio cable that can be used to connect your smartphone, tablet, iPod or other media player to the 3.5mm input of many devices.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com