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| February 26, 2012
Accessory Review: Amplify iPad 2 Sound Wirelessly With The SoundBender
AppAdvice announced the Kickstarter SoundBender iPad 2 accessory a few weeks ago. At that time it had not met funding goals yet it was a clever, compact design that looked like it would do the job well. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="270" caption="The SoundBender"][/caption] A lot has happened in the last two weeks. The SoundBender has met it's funding goals with gusto and we at AppAdvice were sent sample units to test and review. To recap, the SoundBender is a simple sound scoop that secures to the iPad 2 with magnets with the goal of directing the sound from the iPad 2 speaker forward toward the user. Construction: The SoundBender is a thick, durable piece of plastic embedded with magnets. It fits and works with all of the four iPad 2 cases I tested it on, something far too many iDevice accessory designers do not consider when creating products. [caption id="attachment_274752" align="aligncenter" width="273" caption="In comparison, the SoundJaw requires you to remove the iDevice case in order to use it"][/caption] It's also discreet, virtually unnoticeable on my favorite case, the Happy Owl Red Clutch. Compare the SoundBender to another Kickstarter project, the GramoPad. This invention is designed to perform the same function as the SoundBender, but is not exactly something we are excited to put on our sleek iPad. [caption id="attachment_274753" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="The GramoPad is another contender to do the same job as the SoundBender, but with a lot more bulk"][/caption] As for function, on testing we found that it simply works. It increased the volume so that we could enjoy clear sound even in a busy room. In fact, the SoundBender, since I added it to my iPad 2, has remained in place and has required no maintenance at all. [caption id="attachment_274749" align="aligncenter" width="2100" caption="My beloved, and horribly beat up, Happy Owl Studio clutch with the SoundBender attached"][/caption] Anyone who knows me knows that I love the color red. It is the color of my Happy Owl iPad 2 case and pretty much anything I buy. I was thrilled to receive a red testing unit from Simply Amazinc, a color which is a limited edition available only to Kickstarter backers. As you can tell it looks great on my iDevice. Other colors are available from SoundBender such as black, white, silver, purple, midnight blue, pale blue, pale pink, rose pink, or yellow. Regarding durability, I have had the SoundBender on my iPad 2 constantly and it has taken quite a few knocks. My busy life involves kids, hiking, pets, the beach and much more. My iPad is tossed into and out of vehicles, lockers and bleachers. To date the SoundBender is still strong, crack-free and fully functional. Additionally it has not marred the finish on my iPad 2 and is still easy to remove when necessary. [caption id="attachment_274760" align="aligncenter" width="732" caption="Rear view of my Happy Owl with SoundBender attached"][/caption] Some commenters on the original AppAdvice article felt that the price was too steep and that cupping your hand performed the same function for free. While this is true, I prefer not to have to hold my hand in place for the duration of a movie and enjoy the fact that the SoundBender is ready and working without any prior planning. The Kickstarter SoundBender project ends in a few hours. If you wish to get in for the backers rates visit the project page. Despite the price, this is one iPad accessory we love. It takes an Apple design flaw, the rear-facing speaker on the iPad 2, and corrects it with grace. Are you a backer of the SoundBender? What is your opinion of the iPad speaker issue?