When we reviewed Apple's iPod Hi-Fi speaker system, we mentioned that it needs a carrying case for truly portable use -- its finish is easily scratched and its fabric speaker cover is easily snagged. Waterfield Designs was the first vendor to released such a case, and we were quite impressed with it. Unfortunately, its price -- $149 -- is more than some people will be willing to spend for what's essentially an accessory for an accessory for their iPod.
Gecko is the latest accessory vendor to release a case for the iPod Hi-Fi, and at only $80, the company's Hi-Fi Traveller is just over half the price of Waterfield's offering. Like the Waterfield case, the Traveller is made of ballistic nylon; however, the Traveller provides a metal interior frame that further protects the sides, top, and bottom of the Hi-Fi. A sturdy handle on top makes the case easy to carry, and a thick, fabric door, secured by Velcro, covers the Hi-Fi's dock cradle when not in use. (You fold the door band and under the Traveller's handle when your iPod is in the cradle.) The Traveller also includes a padded shoulder strap for carrying -- between the handle and shoulder strap, it's much easier to carry the Hi-Fi when in the Traveller than without it.
The back of the case includes a large, zippered storage pocket, as well as another Velcro-fastened door, this one for accessing the Hi-Fi's power and auxiliary-input jacks. The left and right sides also include storage pockets, but these are padded for carrying your iPod and its accessories; the left pocket also includes an interior pocket that holds the Apple Remote.
Unlike Waterfield's case, the Traveller's front has two layers: a stiff, padded outer door that zips closed to protect the front of the Hi-Fi during transit, and a rubber-mesh screen that lets you listen to the Hi-Fi while still offering a bit of protection for its speakers. The bottom of the case hosts four thick, rubber feet.
Overall, the Traveller offers more protection and more storage space than Waterfield's Hi-Fi Speaker Case at a lower price. However, one thing to keep in mind is that whereas the Speaker Case makes it easy to get your Hi-Fi in and out, the Traveller's design makes doing so quite difficult -- it's a very tight fit. This wouldn't be cause for concern except that, when inside the Traveller, there's no way to access the Hi-Fi's battery doors.--Dan Frakes
Travel case for Apple's iPod Hi-Fi speaker system.