If you’ve ever tried to watch a movie on an iPad using the built in speaker with ambient noise in the room then you know that’s nearly impossible. At CES 2013, Belkin has finally come up with a solution to the volume coverage problem with the iPad in the way of the Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater iPad Case.
The Belkin Thunderstorm is a full-coverage, portable case and dock with Smart Cover-esqe flap adding multi-fold function, allowing more viewing angles. The biggest difference is the built-in speaker housing stuffed with full-range drivers and integrated air channels and the extra bulk of the speaker electronics. Belkin contracted Audifi, a mobile audio engineering group, to handle the audio internals.
At CES Unveiled I had a chance to get hands-on with the Thunderstorm and as with all Belkin products, I felt like I was handling a quality piece. The room was quite noisy, so I’ll reserve audio quality judgement for a later date. As I hinted to earlier, this case is a bit bulky and only a 30-pin dock connector is available at this time (a Lightning connector dock version is expected in the spring). The 30-pin edition will accommodate the iPad 2 and iPad (3rd gen.). iPad (4th gen.) owners will have to wait until Spring.
You can buy the 30-pin version this month at Belkin.com, Apple store and Amazon for $200. Although, the advertised retail price is $200. Amazon has the Thunderstorm listed for $249.99 at the time of this writing. Hopefully, this is a misprint.