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Review: SoundCover Amps up iPad Speakers, Protection

by Paul Strauss
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Perhaps the biggest problem with tablets is that most of them don’t have very good speakers built in. With few exceptions, tablets have tiny, tinny sound. I’ve got an iPad Air, and it’s certainly not very good in the audio department. While there are plenty of Bluetooth speakers on the market, most of them are a pain to carry around. Enter Onanoff’s novel new speaker – the SoundCover.

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This flat speaker is designed to be easily carried along with your iPad Air 1 or Air 2. It’s almost exactly the same weight as my iPad Air 1 with a smart cover. Plus, the device snaps onto the front of your tablet when not in use, so it doubles as a cover. In fact, it held onto my iPad so securely that it was a little tricky to get used to separating the two. There’s a thin slot on the front edge for this purpose, but I’d rather see something that I could really get my fingers in to.

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Build quality is very good, and I especially like the sandblasted aluminum shell over the back of the speaker.

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Keep in mind that the speaker can’t be used while the iPad is secured. Instead, it’s designed to be set onto its built-in easel stand during playback. At first I thought this would be a drawback, but I actually think keeping it separated from the iPad gives you much more flexibility in placement. You can hold your tablet in your hands while enjoying big sound, then pack up and travel light when you’re done.

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Connecting to the SoundCover is as easy as any other Bluetooth device, and it’s even smart enough to automatically go into pairing mode the first time you power it on. Speaking of power, you can either control it using the face button, or the more convenient default option, which turns on and off when you open or close the stand.

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Given the fact that it’s only 14mm thick, I figured sound quality wouldn’t be very good, but I’m impressed. Despite its flatness, the SoundCover pushes out ample volume to fill a typical room in my house, and its actually quite pleasing to my ears – not harsh at all. Given the limitations of physics, it doesn’t deliver huge low end, but the sound it produces is impressively natural and well balanced. However, it does seem a little less fully rounded when you get too far off axis from the speaker’s face, a common challenge with the flat NXT speakers that it uses.

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In addition to its prowess as a speaker, the SoundCover doubles as a speakerphone if you choose to pair it with your phone. It takes 3 to 4 hours to fully charge the SoundCover via its microUSB port, and you can expect between 10 and 15 hours of battery life between charges. Your mileage may vary based on volume and usage patterns.

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In conclusion, the SoundCover is a really impressive piece of hardware. It’s an innovative spin on the Bluetooth speaker genre, offering big sound in a convenient package that can easily be carried wherever you take your tablet. I highly recommend it. It’s available now from Onandoff for $199(USD), and comes in silver, gold or black finishes.

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