Onanoff’s Sound Cover ($199) is a Bluetooth speaker which can attach to the front of an iPad Air or iPad Air 2. We first saw the product at this year’s International CES. Sound Cover doesn’t act as a traditional case — you can’t use Sound Cover while it’s attached to an iPad. Instead, it covers the device’s screen, and must be removed to listen to audio. Of course, because it’s Bluetooth, an iPad isn’t actually necessary to use Sound Cover. Onanoff claims the speaker’s 3300 mAh battery delivers more than 15 hours of playtime. Sound Cover comes with a micro-USB cable for charging, and a carrying pouch, too. We received the “silver gray” version of Sound Cover — the speaker also comes in gold and black.
Sound Cover is slightly larger than an iPad Air, and it’s thin — about 0.75” at its thickest point. When on the iPad, it simply works as a cover for the screen, leaving the back of the device exposed. Once taken off, it can be set up by folding out its back stand — doing so automatically turns on the speaker. There are volume/playback controls and a power button next to the speaker, and a micro-USB and audio inputs on the side, for charging and connecting a wired audio source, respectively.
You likely wouldn’t buy Sound Cover as a standalone $200 speaker — there are bigger, better, louder options in that price range — but the sound is pretty good overall. Sound Cover uses NXT flat panel stereo speakers, which deliver very clear vocals and do well in the mids. We heard some distortion in a few songs, however, and the bass leaves a lot to be desired. Another annoyance: moving the speaker can easily close the stand, which automatically turns Sound Cover off. A locking mechanism would have been nice.
Sound Cover is an interesting speaker/iPad cover combo, and while we’re always excited to see new types of products, it makes more sense to buy a protective iPad case and a portable Bluetooth speaker of your choice instead — you should be able to do so for less than the $199 price tag here. Though Sound Cover delivers solid sound, its other function is quite limited. If the speaker allowed for the iPad to stand up for viewing while it played audio, Sound Cover would be a more practical accessory. But of course, its design prevents that possibility. As is, we can’t recommend it.
Company and Price
Model: Sound Cover
Compatible: iPad Air, iPad Air 2, Bluetooth iOS devices