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Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Theater is iPad Speaker and Cover in One

It doesn't get more versatile than this. The new Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Theater not only packs major audio power, it also includes a magnetically-attached stand that serves as a cover and props up the sound system in several viewing modes. To help this $199 “handheld theater” live up to its name, Belkin’s partnered with Oregon-based firm Audifi, which uses the motto “small is the new loud” on its website.

The Thunderstorm works with an app of the same name that includes sound profiles to boost the audio for watching movies, listening to music and playing video games. Hardware sound enhancements include front-facing stereo speakers, landscape-orientation for a maximum span of sound and ported speakers for deeper bass.

The Thunderstorm will be available in two flavors; one with a connector for 30-pin iPads and another with a slot for the Lightning port. Both versions will cost $199, include the magnetic cover that doubles as a foldable multi-position stand, and support pass-through access for all the iPads’ functions, including the back camera, charging and on-device volume control.

Although the 30-pin Thunderstorm will be available at Amazon, and in January, the Lightning port system won’t hit until later this spring. Look for our ears- and-hands-on during CES 2013 later this week to determine if Belkin’s new dock brings the thunder and noise.