You either subscribe to the Bose hype or you do not. The Bose TV demos appear impressive, but they need to be as they are their main means to find buyers. It is my understanding that many use the 30-day returns policies provided by the TV sales channels as they are less than satisfied about build quality, performance or price, whatever the Bose product then on offer. You may be unknowingly buying a pre-owned product when purchasing one!
The core of most Bose products is their 'sound channel technology' which is not unique or one invented by Bose but is based upon the same principals used in church organ pipes, the speaker horns used in early gramophones (the record players of the 1920s and earlier) and by all woodwind and brass instruments - the length of the tube amplifies the sound. The Bose implementation, rather than absorbing or otherwise reducing the volume levels of the back wave (that derived from the rear of a speaker cone and which usually confuses the listener because it largely cancels out the front wave), chooses to instead amplify them via the sound channels. Why not use the front channel instead as it is that which we would expect to hear? It makes little sense and I have never yet heard or read any explanation of its supposed advantages.
The marketing ploy is that you pay a high premium for the claimed quality of the sound, not for the components used or the cost of manufacture, in their case neither is especially high. This is a concept never before used by any other electronics manufacturer. There are those who are fans of Apple's media products, Sony's or any other but if one suggested that you pay a 2-300% price premium because the sound or picture from their products was possibly better than any other, would anyone buy them? Probably not! Both are large companies, but Bose is not and it needs its own unique selling point to remain in business. The only near comparison I know of is Cowon, whose media players are slightly more expensive than others but the sound quality is way beyond the remainder and you need to spend considerably more to hear yet better.
The Bose products are not exceptionally well-made and use components comparable to those found in any mid-priced product, one that is not subject to excessive sales hype. I also know that their service needs for faulty products are higher than average and that the cost of repair can be rather high - there are one or two related comments by other reviewers. I borrowed this from an acquaintance after someone I know, who owns some extremely expensive hi-fi equipment, appeared to claim that Bose products had to be heard to be believed. I did not realise until a later conversation that his comments were not intended to be taken seriously and that he was amazed that many quite literally bought into the Bose claims.
Owning another iPod speaker dock that then sold for about £80 and which produced a very good quality of sound, I wanted to see whether the additional amount asked for this was at all justified. I think not; it was loud but I found that its sound stage image was ill-defined and no better than with the other dock, which was several inches wider. Mine is also mains powered via an adapter, but could in principle be made portable if a suitable battery pack could be rigged. The Bose is battery powered and therefore fully portable from the outset. When the speakers within are separated by a few inches centre-to-centre, the sweet point is at a distance only about 7/10 of that separation distance, probably as little as 5 or 6 inches with my own dock. It is for that reason that hi-fi speakers are usually placed near the corners of a room.
Having previously tried a pair of Bose in-ear phones and found them very disappointing and returned them for refund, I was expecting a little better as the speaker units used here would be rather larger than their tiny equivalents within the ear phones. I don't believe the Bose Dock to be that exceptional.
In terms of overall value, performance etc, I would offer 4-5 stars for portability, 1 for performance and 1 also for value, hence the overall 2-stars. Buy it if you believe Bose, otherwise look around for a more price-effective alternative - there are several to choose between.