Described as a "home theater system" for your iPad, I admit I wasn't expecting much from Playa Vista-based Belkin's new Thunderstorm device. After hearing it at CES today, I'll also admit how wrong I was... this gadget's powerful speakers and carefully tuned acoustics just blew me away.
Watching a movie or playing a game on the iPad isn't bad at all, but the iPad's audio has never been a match for its crystal-clear screen. The visuals may draw you in, but the flat, tinny sound emanating from its tiny speakers prevents you from enjoying a truly cinematic experience. Snap the iPad into this sleek case / speaker combination and that all changes — you suddenly realize how much you've been missing. The volume blasts, the bass booms and the soundtrack comes alive with broad depth and crisp detail.
I also love the Belkin story, a true SoCal success that began in the founder's Hawthorne garage in 1983. Today its offices span the globe from Hong Kong to the Netherlands, with thousands of employees and hundreds of truly innovative products. Its special edition pink ribbon cases have even raised $350,000 in support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure fight against breast cancer.
So if you're looking for some more oomph from your iPad, the Thunderstorm is highly recommended. Retails for $199 and will be available later this month.
LA-based design and innovation expert Joel Delman is serving as LA Observed guest blogger covering CES 2013 from an LA and Southern California point of view. Joel is creative director for Product Development Technologies. He received his Master of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute, his JD from Harvard Law School and his Bachelor's in economics from New York University.