The iQue Portable Stereo speaker was a bit of an impulse buy. After discovering the Bose iPod docking station and being reintroduced to the music on my iPod I've felt a new connection with my tunes. The Bose is the first thing on in the morning, before either the kettle or my knickers, it's the last thing I turn off as I leave for work and it greets me on my return with a bit of housework hotstuff to get me through the domestic chores. My day at work seems a little lack lustre without it, and certainly less tuneful. So, when I spotted the iQue on the bottom shelf of the Audio department in Asda it seemed the ideal way to get a music hit during the day without having to bring the Bose with me (I really was considering it!).
The iQue is a portable speaker. It requires 4 AA batteries, which are supplied, and can also be run off the mains using an AC adapter, which is not supplied. The speaker has a total output of 6W and fits all iPod models. A dock connector is supplied. This is simply a wire with a headphone type socket at either end that plugs into the iPod at one end and the speaker at the other. I do not have to use this adapter however as my iPod classic sits in the dock station at the front of the speaker (much like on my Bose docking station). I'm not sure which models require the adapter and which can be used in the dock station as there are no instructions with the speaker. I much prefer the look of the speaker with an iPod in the dock station and would be less enamoured with it aesthetically if my iPod sat separate from the speaker.
The dock itself folds into the speaker for transportation and storage, producing a sleek clutchbag sized affair. A small plastic lip extrudes from the dock section by about a millimetre. This is just enough to catch hold of to flick the dock down to use. As the dock comes down the lower half rotates to the back of the speaker to hold the whole thing upright whilst the actual iPod dock setting remains at the front centre of the speaker. It looks very smart, like a miniature version of my Bose speaker.
And that's where the similarity ends.
The iQue is not a patch on the Bose. The 6W output is much quieter than the Bose and any attempt to get the volume up to 6W results in the speaker cutting itself out and me having to switch it on again and readjust the volume upwards again.
I have compared the speakers by moving my iPod classic between the two during several songs and I gave up in the end because it was a form of iQuelty. The Bose has such clarity of sound with clear bass and no distortion even at ear bleeding levels that asking the iQue to compete is impossible and unfair. The iQue produces a tinny sound with little bass, even at the lowest volume levels. It will do for a little background noise during coffee breaks and lunchtimes at work but now that I've sampled the Bose I could not use the iQue speaker for any longer than half an hour at a time. If I wanted a portable system for anything more than occasional short term usage I would not use this speaker. Once you've sampled a better system, using a speaker that produces such poor quality sound is just painful, and somehow insulting to my tunes.
I paid £25 for this speaker but I'm sure it would not take a lot more money to get a better quality portable sound and it may even be possible to buy better for around the £25 mark.