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    Speck CandyShell AMPED iPhone case: Review and giveaway

    Steve Sande, @stevensande
    April 25, 2014
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    Accessory manufacturer Speck has come up with something rather new and different for the iPhone 5/5s: a protective case that also promises over twice the sound output from your iPhone speaker. The US$44.95 CandyShell AMPED was released today and uses a unique case design to amplify sound from your iPhone without using any electronics or your precious power to do so. Check it out, and then enter to win one of two CandyShell AMPED cases we're giving away.

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 2.50 x 0.58 x 5.13 inch (6.35 x .9525 x 13.0175 cm)
    • Weight: 1.2 oz. (34 grams)
    • Materials: Polycarbonate shell, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) interior
    • Available colors: black/slate grey, cadet blue/Caribbean blue, bubblegum pink/flamingo pink

    Design Highlights

    From the outside, the Speck CandyShell AMPED looks like some of Speck's other glossy cases. But as with so many things, it's what is inside that makes all the difference.

    Rather than use electronic amplification that would help chew up your iPhone's battery life, the AMPED channels the output from the speaker through what is essentially the 21st century equivalent of one of those big horn speakers on late 19th century/early 20th century phonographs. A gradually expanding "horn" shape winds around the back of the case, with sound escaping through a series of holes on the left side of the case.

    Does it work? Well, you'll have to read the Functionality Highlights below, but Speck says that the AMPED sound power was tested to the ISO 3745:2021 acoustic sound quality standard, so there's certification that it does. The case also exceeds MIL-STD-810G drop test standards, so you're getting protection as well as amplification.

    Pass-through buttons help out with the volume toggle and on/off switch; the mute switch is left uncovered.

    Speck says that the AMPED case can help out in a lot of situations. They recommend using it for conference calls in small businesses that can't afford a Polycom conference phone, to assist the elderly or hard-of-hearing, to share videos and music with friends without an external speaker, and to actually hear a phone ringing at the bottom of a purse or backpack.

    Functionality Highlights

    To test the AMPED, I played a few songs and made a few speakerphone calls with and without the case installed. The volume on the iPhone 5s was left at about 50 percent for the tests. When listening without the case, I had the speakers on the bottom of the iPhone pointed towards me; with the AMPED installed, the speaker "holes" on the rear left side of the case were pointed in my direction.

    While the sound did appear to be amplified (and in fact, I could feel the back of the AMPED vibrating), it seemed to be somewhat more amplified on the lower frequencies than higher. That being said, music sounded less vibrant -- but louder -- to me when playing through the AMPED. Likewise, voices on the phone also sounded louder.

    If I have one complaint about the AMPED, it's that the glossy polycarbonate shell picks up fingerprints rather easily. It's also somewhat slick, which increases the probability of having the case drop out of your hand -- but then, that's where a protective case comes in handy.

    Conclusion

    If your iPhone 5/5s speaker just isn't loud enough for you, or if you have to do a lot of speakerphone calls with your iPhone, then you should give the Speck CandyShell AMPED consideration when you're looking for a case. It's lightweight, relatively thin, provides amplification and definitely protects your iPhone investment.

    Rating: 3-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible

    Giveaway

    We have two -- count 'em -- two Speck CandyShell AMPED iPhone 5/5s cases to give away. One is your basic black and slate grey, while the other is the sparkling bubblegum and flamingo pink combo. Here are the rules for the giveaway:

    • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
    • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
    • The entry must be made before April 29, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
    • You may enter only once.
    • Two winners will be selected in a random drawing and each will receive a Speck CandyShell AMPED iPhone 5/5s case valued at $44.95
    • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

    All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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