The Belkin Thunderstorm iPad Speaker Case puts a speaker on the front of the iPad to deliver louder, better quality sound to the iPad without carrying an external speaker.
While the built-in speakers are adequate for most users, the iPad isn’t always loud enough for watching a movie, playing a game or enjoying music without headphones.
In addition to adding more power to the iPad’s audio, the Belkin Thunderstorm brings the speakers to the front of the iPad and adds stereo sound for a better overall experience. The iPad 4 features a single speaker that faces away from the user, and can be troublesome to hear in noisy environments.
For users who watch a lot of movies or play games on the iPad more than they do on a TV, the $200 iPad case could be worth the price of admission. The Belkin Thunderstorm iPad speaker sounded good during our limited time with it on the floor at CES Unveiled, but we’ll reserve full judgement on this expensive iPad accessory until the case ships later this year.
The case adds significant bulk to the iPad, and isn’t designed for portrait use as the speaker sticks off the side. The case includes a flap that covers the front of the iPad and folds into a stand when open.
Price may prove to be an issue for users who can pick up the Logitech UE Mobile Boom Box for $99 or the JamBox for $199 to use with a phone, Android devices and the iPad, though none of these solutions attach to the iPad. At $200, users could purchase a pair of very good headphones.
Belkin offers two models of the Thunderstorm, one with a 30-pin connector and the other with the new Lightning connector found on the iPad 4.
The 30-pin model Thunderstorm will be available “soon” and the Lightning connection version goes on sale in Spring 2013.