Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Until the Thunderstorm, the best way to get killer sound when using your iPad was to plug in the very best headphones you had, or maybe send the audio to a set of real speakers, using a cable or AirPlay. But now Belkin’s made it possible to hold a powerful, room-filling set of speakers right in your hand. The Thunderstorm is a sturdy plastic case that your iPad (2 or 3) snaps right into, with a soundbar-like speaker along the bottom. It totally rocks—the speaker system is designed by Audifi, experts in mobile-audio engineering, and it delivers full, rich sound with plenty of detail and oomph. You can turn it all the way up without hearing any distortion, and it gets surprisingly loud. Movies are more immersive, from action pictures with lots of explosions to quieter fare with toned-down dialogue. Music is booming with great levels of bass. And it’s awesome for gaming, with a good sense of separation that help you lose yourself in the action. The free Belkin Thunder app for iPad lets you choose which mode (movie, music, and game) but we didn’t notice too much difference—they all sounded great.
As a case, it does add significant size and weight to your iPad, measuring about 10x9 inches, nearly an inch thick, and weighing 1.4 pounds empty. But we don’t mind; it still feels svelte considering the big sound it produces. The detachable smart cover folds into a stand at a few angles, making this great for travel. Belkin claims 10 hours of battery life, and our tests proved this accurate. That means it should last almost as long as the iPad itself, and you can charge them together. We’d prefer a USB charging scheme instead of Belkin’s AC adapter brick, but that’s a small complaint.
The bottom line. The Thunderstorm could let your iPad double as a TV or stereo on the go, easily, and the audio quality is better than laptop speakers and the portable Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested. It’s a little big and a little pricey, but you get a lot of audio power for the money.
iPad 2 or third-gen iPad (Lightning version for fourth-gen iPad coming soon)
Integrated smart cover doubles as stand. Powerful sound.
Uses AC power brick instead of USB charging. Hefty.