Review: iLuv iSP210 Portable Stereo Speaker Case for iPad 2 and iPad 1
November 23, 2011 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
The iLuv iSP210 roughly fits the description of a lot of other iPad cases: it’s a zippered portfolio with an internal iPad pocket and it’s about an inch thick overall. The difference here: this one has a pair of external speakers built flush into its front face, and an internal cable which connects to the iPad’s audio port. Four AA batteries (not included) power the case’s speakers. I’ve seen this concept used with the iPhone and iPod in various incarnations over the years, so it was inevitable that it would find its way to the iPad eventually.
Overall, the iSP210 is a nice product. It’s a semi-hard shell which feels almost like vinyl to the touch, and it comes in a choice of black, blue, or pink. There’s room inside for an iPad 2 or an older iPad 1, or any other tablet which fits the same dimensions; a simple mesh net inside holds your device in place without requiring it to be form-fitting. The audio quality is less than what you’d get from a “real” three-piece speaker set, but that’s to be expected. The relevant part is that the audio is significantly better (and louder) than what would come out of your iPad’s own speaker, allowing you to use this product to provide the audio at a party, for instance.
On the one hand, iLuv could have been more ambitious with the iSP210. Rather than sealing off the iPad inside, the product could have included some kind of play-through membrane which would have allowed you to navigate your iPad’s music library without having to open the zipper first. There also could have been some kind of docking port connection which would have allowed for a play/pause button on the outside of the case. But I suspect that such features would have jacked up the price point significantly higher than its current $59 mark. What you do get is a headphone port connection which means you can control the audio via the twist-knob on the outside of the case (try turning up your iPad’s volume to nearly the maximum for best audio quality). There’s also an external on/off switch which is handy for silencing the music and saving the life of the AA batteries. But it doesn’t pause the music playing on your iPad, so you’ll have to remember to open the zipper in order to take care of that.
If this were a $99 product, I’ve have been looking for more pristine audio and some kind of more sophisticated iPad integration. But at $59, I like the iSP210 for what it is: an affordable way to boost your iPad’s audio to full-room levels in a product that isn’t that much bigger than a standard iPad case.
Price: $59 • i-luv.com