capsule review

Waterfield Designs iPod Hi-Fi Speaker Case

At a Glance
  • WaterField Designs iPod Hi-Fi Speaker Case

In our review of Apple's iPod Hi-Fi speaker system, we mentioned that thanks to the Hi-Fi's easily-scratched, gloss-plastic finish and its easily-snagged, fabric front grill, the system screams out for a carrying case; we also noted that San Francisco's WaterField Designs was already working on such a case. That accessory, the iPod Hi-Fi Speaker Case, is now available, and if you plan to travel with your Hi-Fi, you want one.

When closed, the Speaker Case covers your iPod Hi-Fi in tough ballistic nylon; the bottom, rear, top and sides are padded, and the front panel -- which covers the Hi-Fi's speaker drivers and mesh grill -- is rigid for added protection. To listen, the front and top panels of the case flip open and fold behind the case, exposing the speaker drivers and providing access to the Hi-Fi's dock cradle and volume controls. (The front of the case covers the Hi-Fi's status light, however.) The back of the case provides a flap-covered opening for access to the Hi-Fi's auxiliary-input and power jacks.

Given that you'll likely have a number of additional things to carry when traveling with the Hi-Fi -- iPod, cables, remote, headphones, etc. -- the Speaker Case offers a glut of storage pockets: a zippered pouch the full length of the case's top panel, deep Velcro pouches on each end (each with neoprene pockets inside), and two Velcro pockets underneath the top flap. The latter are perfect for an iPod, as the case's padded top flap offers additional protection.

The Speaker Case includes a padded shoulder strap and a nylon carrying handle, both of which connect to sturdy metal D-rings on the ends of the case. The only drawback to these carrying options is that you need to unhook the carrying handle to open and close the case.

The Speaker Case adds just over two inches to the length of the Hi-Fi (most of that due to the pockets on the case's ends), just over an inch to its depth and height, and just over a pound and a half to its total weight -- additional bulk that is more than acceptable considering the protection it provides. And although the Speaker Case isn't inexpensive, if you plan on taking your $349 iPod Hi-Fi anywhere outside the house, I consider the Speaker Case's $150 price tag to be money well spent. In fact, if you don't mind hiding the Hi-Fi's glossy surfaces at home, you may end up keeping your Hi-Fi in the Speaker Case all the time, as it also makes the system much easier to carry and store.--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Travel case for Apple's iPod Hi-Fi speaker system.

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