The ClamCase Pro hasn’t been released yet, but I figured that concept was really cool, so I’d give it a shot. I ended up trying this case with my iPad 2 and right away noticed a few things that made me regret my decision to get one in the first place.
Firstly, my iPad now weighed as much as a 13-inch MacBook Air and was even thicker too.
The ClamCase adds a well-designed, Bluetooth-enabled, Chiclet-style keyboard — one that includes useful special function keys and the Mac’s standard Command, Option, and Control. But it also transformed a lightweight, portable device into a 3-pound stone.
It’ll accommodate the iPad 2, 3, or 4 — all of which fit snugly into the white hard-shell plastic cover. The case’s aluminum keyboard forms the base foundation and includes four stabilizing, rubber dot feet. Between them is a unique 360-degree hinge that supports the weight of the iPad. It’s even engineered like a real clam, with a shell that’s purposefully hard to open and close.
If you push the ClamCase back too far, the natural top heaviness of the iPad sends the whole thing tipping over along with with the keyboard. This can be frustrating as the right viewing angle will vary depending on where you place the ClamCase. Like a notebook, placing it on your lap requires one angle while resting it on a desk or table calls for another.
To type on the ClamCase Pro keyboard, you’re also forced to use a landscape position. If you want to switch to a portrait view, you’ll need to apply a good tug to get the hinge to revolve the full 360 degrees. In this arrangement, the keyboard faces down under the iPad, which means you’ll want to power it off to avoid inadvertently pressing random keys.
The ClamCase isn’t for everyone though since even removing the tablet from the case is a chore. You have to basically pry it loose from the top of case, and it can take a while to get it out.
Even with its great keyboard and solid design, the ClamCase Pro simply requires too many sacrifices to give you a not-quite laptop experience.