irock’s MusiCase, like the Sakar Sound Case we reviewed previously, combines a hardshell iPod case with a portable speaker system. At 6″ x 4.75″ x 2″, the MusiCase holds any size iPod as well as your favorite earbuds. After placing your iPod inside the case and plugging the MusiCase’s headphone plug into your iPod’s headphone jack, your music plays through two 1.78-inch drivers on the outside of the case. (Volume is controlled by your iPod itself.) The case includes both a belt loop and a shoulder strap for carrying the system. The speakers are powered by two AA batteries, which should provide up to 15 hours of playback time.
The MusiCase isn’t quite as attractive as the similar Sakar product, but offers better sound quality and a louder maximum volume. That said, the MusiCase’s sound quality is still significantly inferior to most portable iPod speakers.
The MusiCase also offers good protection for your iPod. Unfortunately, unless you’ve got Apple’s iPod remote, changing the volume or controlling playback requires that you unzip the case to access your iPod. And since your iPod is held in place by a mesh pocket on the inside of the case, you may actually have to remote the iPod from the case completely, since it’s difficult to use the iPod’s controls through the mesh.
Like Sakar’s Sound Case, it’s tough to recommend the MusiCase thanks to poor design and sound quality. But at only $25, it’s less expensive than Sakar’s inferior product and cheaper than buying a hard case and set of speakers separately. (It also takes less space in your bag than the latter.) I don’t recommend either, but if you really need an inexpensive case/speaker package, this one is preferable.–Dan Frakes