Hands-On: Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater
We take a closer peek at the company's iPad case/speaker add-on accessory.
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April 02, 2013 by Rachel Cericola

Today’s portable devices are an endless source of entertainment. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, Pandora, and Spotify don’t even scratch the surface of what you can get with a web connection. It’s a mind-boggling number of options. However, for some reason, those portable devices can’t seem to project any sort of decent sound.

Belkin is hoping to create a little rumble with its new Thunderstorm, a “handheld home theater” designed specifically for the iPad. With a name like that, I was thinking it would ring out like the sound system of the gods or something. That’s not entirely true, but it definitely is an interesting product.

Out of the box, the Thunderstorm is basically two pieces. There’s a power cord and the Thunderstorm, which has its own flip-up cover. That cover is magnetic and bendable, so you can contort it to prop up the iPad in a variety of positions. That’s an important perk here. The Thunderstorm doesn’t just rock out your iPad content, but it actually holds that iPad in whatever position you deem to be most comfortable. Those options aren’t exactly endless, but there are multiple angles to appreciate here.

Designed to work with the iPad 2 and third-gen iPad, the portable connects to the Thunderstorm via a little latch with the 30-pin connector. Pull that out (gently!), place the iPad in the groove of the Thunderstorm, push the latch in, and you’re ready to rock—literally. Once the iPad is docked, it won’t just “fall” out; even if you tilt it upside down and shake it a little. Another nice perk is that the Thunderstorm will charge the iPad when it’s docked and plugged in.

The Thunderstorm itself isn’t very complicated. On the side, there’s a little button to wake up the iPad. On top, there’s a switch to mute/un-mute the sound and a volume toggle. Most of the time, I thought it was easier to adjust the volume on-screen, but it’s nice to have a quick mute option or a little something for when access to the audio isn’t readily available on-screen. The Thunderstorm does get pretty darn loud.

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.

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