Thursday, October 23, 2008

HPRC 2550 vs Pelican 1510



Those of you who have read this blog before will know that I'm a big fan of the carry-on sized Pelican 1510.  HPRC are an Italian competitor of Pelican who over the last few years have been making inroads into other markets.  I'd noticed that their carry-on sized case, very similar to the Pelican 1510, seemed inexplicably to be larger on the inside and smaller on the outside than the Peli, albeit by a small margin.


You can see the difference above with both cases lined up along their back edges (off photo).  It's not much, but every little counts when you're hauling something across airports, into and out of overhead storage on airliners.  But here's where it gets really interesting....


So it turns out that HPRC have done the seemingly impossible; making a case smaller on the outside and bigger inside, than the equivalent Pelican 1510.  They've done it simply by designing specifically for purpose.  The Pelican 1510 is a minor adaptation of a carry-case with a handle-and-wheel component bolted onto the back of the case.  So you lose around an inch of the depth of the case to the handle-and-wheel parts.  The HPRC case is full depth and the handle tunnel intrudes slightly into the case interior, as you can see above.  In practice, although the difference in interior dimensions is minor, it makes a big and immediately noticeable difference:


Putting the same equipment I usually carry in the Pelican 1510 into the HPRC 2550 and you can see above how much spare space there is, denoted by the grey squares.  I'm sure a more thoughtful repack would have released the spare spaces into one area had I wanted to, but I didn't have time.  Easily more than enough room for chargers and other paraphenalia that you may want to include on longer trips.

The HPRC's handle is a different design to the Pelican's too:


It normally lies flat but pressing the red button releases it into a vertical position:



where it can be extended:


And here's the cool part... it is taller by about an inch than the Pelican handle.  If you're six foot ++ like me, that's an important difference.  Another notch in the HPRC bedpost, so to speak.



The HPRC case that I had a chance to check out also had an interesting removable insert, seen here open without any dividers in place:


and seen below out of the case and closed.  Quite cool if you need the removable functionality, but not much use to me as I like to maximise my carrying space inside.  Although I haven't seen it, I'm fairly sure you can also get a standard padded divider kit for the HPRC that doesn't convert to a bag, which would give you a bit more space inside and still a good amount of protection.


So to summarise ?  If I was doing it again, I'd buy the HPRC, as they come in at a very similar price to the Pelican case. On the other hand, the HPRC's  advantages aren't enough to make me sell my Pelican 1510.  Even though it is tempting, with the flashy Italian red highlights on the HPRC....


Here's a closing photo, which thanks to the wonders of distortion of the 28mm lens I used makes the HPRC look enormous.  Side by side they look and feel very similar in size and weight, but as I've explained, the HPRC definitely has the edge thanks to its better design.

16 comments:

Scott and Suzi said...

You are EVIL! As a fellow bagaddict who is trying to keep from selling the sofa to make room for more bags, I did NOT need to see HPRC! I love my 1510... but it's always nice to see some alternatives. Happy searching...

Martin said...

Hey, a while back I bought the HPRC because of your review...and I absolutely love it. For someone who doesn't change their equipment much and doesn't have to overload the case, the foam insets might be okay. If you want packing flexibility, they are not particularly useful, though.

Just thought I'd let you know.

Mariusz said...

Hey James!
thanks for you review - I'm between those two cases and you're pushing me towards HPRC.
I've got a question about dividers in both cases - how would you compare those.Which set is more versatile?
Could you post some pics with both cases w/dividers filled in with equipment?
Thanks

the manbagaholic said...

hi mariusz,

i'm afraid i was borrowing the HPRC for the purposes of the review, so i cannot say how they compare. i'm fairly sure from memory that the divider kits are very very similar in design, apart from the way the HPRC divider set can be removed and used as a bag. i'd imagine this would mean slightly less room, but since the HPRC is slightly larger inside anyway, the difference would probably be very very small. i found the pelican divider kit needed a bit of juggling before i got it the way i wanted, but i also was able to pick spare dividers from a big bag of unused ones i've collected over the years. hope this helps !

the manbagaholic said...

you can see the HPRC divider kit in use on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6L-acIh4GNA&feature=related. it is in a larger outer case, but you can see the advantage of making the divider kits removable bags.

Mariusz said...

Thank you

I'm going with HPRC:)

Mariusz said...

Just wanted to let you know - I've got my HPRC case for couple of weeks now and I really like it.

Thanks again for your review

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest question of all has been unanswered here. That is the one of protection and strength of the cases. Pelican has a proven track record, but I wonder how well HPRC will hold up. I'd love to see a side-by-side test of the two. I would hate to get an HPRC only to have it destroyed by the airport gorillas.

Pelican Cases said...

As a soldier and a loyal Pelican customer for many years already, I have much trouble detaching myself from the love that I have for my Pelican products. Although the HPRC is bigger in a sense, I think that if Pelican is good enough for my military, then it is good enough for me. Regardless of my biased opinion, I think that the only things separating one from purchasing either one of these cases is personal preference and price.

the manbagaholic said...

In reply to the last couple of comments; good point, a comparison destruction test would be great.. but I'm not gonna do it ! Seriously though, I'm pretty confident that the HPRC is up to as much punishment as it would reasonably get.. and probably beyond. and to the military comment, very well put, I agree that there's very little between them. I love the apparently slightly better engineering of the HPRC, but all my cases are Pelican. Not sure what I'll get next time the need arises !

Alex said...

Thanks for your comparison. Just purchased a HPRC2500 instead of the Pelican 1520. The only thing I can see the Pelican has over the HPRC is stainless steal reinforcement around holes you put a padlock through.

mark dimalanta said...

I have used both cases and they both are great. a friend of mine uses his pelican 1510 to jump from boats and swim ashore with his camera gear.

although the HPRC says "water-tight", the materials seem a bit more flexible. there is a weatherstripping in the channel where the sides come together, but im not to secure in jumping from a boat and getting tossed in the surf.

my gut feeling tells me that the seams may buckle and allow water to get in.

Im sure the case would remain water tight, but i have only witnessed the pelican endure such extreme use.

Monie said...

I just wanted to add if you put hprc. into you tube they put some pretty good test on durability , dropped from a 200ft building, ran over . etc....

MFCAMERA said...

Thanks for the great review. I bought the HPRC 2550W with he internal bag. The weight and workmanship is excellent. The only complain is that the bag does not fit all the way inside the case due to the wheel well. I checked the photo of the internal divider option and looks like it also does not have cutout for the wheel well. Compare to the Pelican with divider, there is a cut out for the wheel well and that is big difference to maximize the inside space. Unless I can find a way to over come this and use the 2 inches wasted space, I will have to return the HPRC case.

David said...

Hello. Do you know where to get Pelican 1510 replacement wheels? Thanks!

the manbagaholic said...

Hi @David! Depends where you are... in the US, call OmegaBrandess and in the UK Johnsons Photopia Distribution. They are both Peli distributors who will be able to help you. Or comment and let me know if you're elswhere and I'll find out for you.