You read that correctly. The Nomadic Audio Speakase is a "smart" TSA-approved suitcase complete with a detachable Bluetooth audio speaker, that can be used separately, or incorporated directly into the suitcase. Combining the acoustics within the suitcase itself, the speaker gains a huge amount of volume and clarity, making it an oddly symbiotic pair of products.
That said, this suitcase is about as niche as they come, but if you're interested in premium-feeling luggage with a premium-sounding portable speaker, Nomadic Audio nailed it. Its price will most likely deter all but the most dedicated audiophile travelers, however.
$659 (on sale for $499)Bottom line: The Nomadic Audio Speakase is quite easily the most impressive Bluetooth travel speaker I've used. But damn, it is not cheap.
- Supremely durable suitcase
- Incredible detachable Bluetooth audio
- Great battery life
- TSA-approved locking mechanism
- Polycarbonate shell is very easily scuffed
- Difficult to dock the speaker into the case
- That price point is ... yikes
What you'll love about the Nomadic Audio Speakase
The Nomadic Audio Speakase is quite honestly an incredible product. The aluminum-reinforced frame, wrapped in thick shock-absorbing polycarbonate and fiberglass-enhanced nylon can withstand quite a beating. And you'd hope so, too, considering it incorporates a high-end Bluetooth speaker.
|Case materials||Fiberglass strengthened nylon, polycarbonate shell,|
aluminum frame, and ABS material parts.
|Case volume||40 L|
|Case dimensions||55 cm x 37 cm x 24.8 cm|
|Speaker dimensions||42 cm x 11.5 cm x 6 cm|
|Case weight||3.9 kg|
|Speaker weight||1 kg|
|Speaker frequency range||35 - 20,000 Hz|
|Speaker battery life||2200 mAh|
(listed 20 hours playback time)
The telescopic handle has good action, extending easily and smoothly with a gentle press of a button. The doubled-up wheels are also well-made, making the hefty case a breeze to pull around on those brisk connecting flight walks.
I've taken the Speakase with me to the U.S., UK, and Germany, and it has survived every security check and aggressive luggage handler I've thrown at it so far. If you're security-minded, the Speakase also comes with a robust combination lock that is also TSA-approved, accessible only by airport staff and those with the three-digit pin.
The interior is padded generously and comes with additional pockets for storing documents and that sort of thing, as well as a tight netted portion designed to house the speaker itself.
When docked into the suitcase, you can access the speaker's controls via a nifty sliding door on the front, giving you access to pairing, power, volume, bass, and treble controls. And perhaps most importantly, it just sounds great.
Placed on a desk, the Bluetooth audio is impressive enough for a speaker of this size, with distinct highs and lows, although it can come across a little tinny, like a high-end laptop speaker might. The speaker itself also looks great, with a pill-shaped design and fabric speakers, and metallic controls.
Audio-wise, it more than outperforms my Surface Book 2, and my TV as well, and the aux-in is a nice touch for those who might want to use it at home with a vinyl player or another device. The connectivity is rock-solid, beating out the vast majority of cheaper Bluetooth accessories I've used. Where the Speakase gets more exciting, however, is when its docked into the case.
When docked, the speaker disables digital signal processing and instead uses the acoustics within the suitcase, giving it a much richer, much clearer sound. This makes the suitcase an ideal option for providing audio at parties or gatherings, at picnics or just in your hotel room as you travel. The soundscape is infectious, and far, far exceeded my expectations.
What you'll dislike about the Nomadic Audio Speakase
First and foremost, you can't talk discuss this thing without first mentioning its price point. It's an astonishing $659, currently on sale for $499 for a "limited time only" as of writing. Considering you can get high-quality flight luggage for around $100 to $150, without a speaker, this is a mind-bogglingly big ask of Nomadic Audio.
That sort of investment is not something I'd personally want to make for a suitcase, which gets thrown around, and lost, fairly frequently on flights. Sure, you're never planning to lose a suitcase, but it can and does happen, making that $499 investment seem a little worrying. Presumably, the majority of the price goes into the Bluetooth speaker, which while great, you'd have to be the sort of person who wants to use it a lot to justify that cost. In a world where most people have headphones for traveling anyway, it again, seems like a very niche product.
There are also a couple of design issues I'm not particularly fond of after using it for a little while. The polycarbonate shell on the telescopic handle is quite brittle and has already become chipped after a journey through Frankfurt customs. The material on the front-side of the speaker housing has also become quite scuffed in transit, although it's to be expected to some degree. The docking for the speaker itself is also really difficult to work with, with a thick rubberized lip that is designed to house the speaker's edge to stop it sliding around. Once you've got it in, it works well, but I can't help but feel like something more intuitive could have worked better here.
Should you buy the Nomadic Audio Speakase?
Whether or not you should buy the Nomadic Audio Speakase ultimately rests on how much disposable cash you have. If you're the kind of person who will happily drop hundreds of dollars on getting the best of the best, look no further.
As a suitcase with incorporated audio, the Speakase is probably the best, and, maybe, only option out there, and it does exactly what it says it's going to do. It's a premium suitcase, with a premium Bluetooth speaker, with great sound, and great durability.
Along with a few small design criticisms, my biggest issue with the Speakase is the price. It just seems far too excessive for what it is, even as someone who is a frequent traveller, and a big music listener. If the cost doesn't bother you, however, this is a best-in-class product that won't disappoint.
An awesome, niche suitcase
The Speakase is an awesome product that I'm not sure anyone needs
The Speakase is an incredible suitcase with an epic speaker, if you can somehow stomach that price point.
By Tammy Rogers