HPRC 2730WINS Wheeled Hard Case for the Inspire 1
Type: Travel Mode
Weight: 20.7 lb / 9.4 kg
Ext Dimensions: 24.4 x 20.5 x 13.8″ / 620 x 520 x 350 mm
Price: $323 from B&H Photo
The HPRC2730WINS is a watertight wheeled hard case with a retractable handle that contains a custom designed two level foam interior for the Inspire and accessories. The hardshell case is reported to be impact and drop resistant, corrosion resistant, and features a neoprene seal that when properly closed is designed to keep the case watertight if submerged in shallow water.
The case feels suitably sturdy, it’s quite heavy at 9.4KG but compared to some other cases I’ve seen it’s actually fairly compact. The materials used are not the most rigid I’ve seen, the plastics feel a little softer than say a pelican case or similar but it still feels like it will offer plenty of protection.
The HPRC case is around the same size as the standard Inspire 1 case in terms of width and length although it’s quite a lot deeper.
There’s two latches on the front and one on each side of the case, these use a dual action lever design where you engage the catch on to the lid and then secure it by pressing down the bottom part of the latch. The system seems to work well and the latches are protected against knocks by ribs running the full height of the case. The case also has locking points for a padlock.
The handles and fittings feel comfortable, I like the use of rubberised sections on the handles offering a bit more grip than just the plastic alone. I’m not so keen on the way the rolling handle makes contact with the ground when the case is upright though.
The pull out handle mechanism on the base is designed in a way where it’s possible to pull out and then re-insert the handle with just one hand. I often find myself walking through airport pulling two roll along cases with me and when you’re walking in big queues of people it can be a hassle having to use two hands to perform that simple task. The handle itself feels suitably strong and man enough for the task.
The wheels are a good size and are made from a material that thankfully seems to have some give allowing for a bit cushioning on rough surfaces. Although these may not be quite as effective as rubber inline skate type wheels they certainly feel better than the solid plastic ones on some of my pelican cases. The case also features a pressure release valve, essential for pressure changes at altitude. Unlike some cases on the market the hinges do not run the full length of the case, although they do seem up to the task.
Opening the case revels a common annoyance as the foam isn’t attached to the lid, nothing a bit of spray glue wouldn’t fix though. The case features a dual layer foam design, the top part holds the Inspire, two controllers, camera case, two batteries, battery charger and props. The bottom layer has three cutouts for additional accessories.
I found my iPad mini fitted nicely in to the front cutout although it’s not the most practical design as then other items have to be stacked on top of it. The same is true of all of these cutouts really, although it’s possible to put quite a few items in there the contents are going to be rattling around and potentially getting scratched or damaged. If I were travelling with this case I’d want to pack these items in with additional foam or bubblewrap.
The upper layer of foam is much better, the batteries, controller and camera case fit in to their respective slots perfectly with just enough grip to stop them moving around. The slot for the controller is especially impressive, it really is cut to perfection.
The same is true when the Inspire itself is slid in to the case, the small carbon support rods slip in to the pre-cut slots and the main arms then rest on the top surface of the foam. The inspire feels nicely supported in this design.
The enclosed area for props doesn’t work quite so well however, the props knock against the nose of the inspire which projects in to the pocket slightly. Also, while the cutout for the charger does hold it well it does leave the cables lose move around inside the case.
This brings me to what I feel is the weakest part in the design of this case. With everything packed the top of the Inspire is protruding well in to the lid area of the case and with the foam removed it’s actually quite easy to push down on the lid and feel it hit the top of the Inspire, there’s only around 1cm of clearance. Even with the foam installed I wouldn’t feel comfortable having something heavy like another case dropped on top of this one as I’m sure it could apply pressure on to the Inspire and cause damage.
This seems a shame really, especially as it’s tall for a travel mode case and there’s more than enough vertical space in the case to allow the Inspire to sit a little further down inside it. If choosing this case I’d be tempted to remove some of the bottom layer of foam and allow the top to drop down a little further inside, just half an inch would probably be enough to put it out of harms way.
I’m really not a fan of cases that allow items to interact with each other. With the lid closed there’s an air gap around the contents and if any items become dislodged there’s a chance they could knocking against the inspire. This can be addressed with bubblewrap or soft foam on a longer journey though so it depends how much you plan to put the case in the hands of others.
Given how the Inspire is susceptible to pressure through the lid and there’s room for items to move around I wouldn’t recommend this case for air travel unless additional protection was added and the inspire was lowered inside the case.
I do however like the precision cutting of the foam and that the case is fairly compact. The price is also competitive so if you’re looking for a better case than the standard one and you don’t plan on trusting it to baggage handlers this could still be a good choice.
Find out more about the HPRC 2730 at B&H Photo.