Forgive the crappy cameraphone pictures. My camera is currently inoperable and I’m looking for a suitable replacement. This is more of a review than an unboxing.
At long last, my Clamcase is here. Does it live up to the hype?
In short: no.
After trying several iPad case solutions (my favorite was still the original black microfiber Apple case), I decided I wanted something sturdy with a keyboard. I do a lot of writing and I liked being able to do so on an iPad due to it’s superior battery life, light weight, and instant-on nature.
After receiving an email from Clamcase that these things were finally in stock, I bum-rushed the website and placed an order, fistful of money in hand. The ordering process left a lot to be desired. Spoiled by the fluid checkout workflow at Amazon, I found the Clamcase.com checkout process to be buggy, slow, and irritating.
The case took an astounding 5 weeks to reach my door after I had placed my order. I knew this up front but am currently disappointed that I had waited that long for something so underwhelming.
The normally anticipated unboxing was a joke. The packaging is cheap as you can see from the pictures - certainly not something you expect from a $150 keyboard bolted onto a plastic case.
The pictures of the Clamcase on the company site make it look just like a tiny macbook - a macbook mini if you will. A beautiful matte black macbook mini.
In reality, this is not the case (no pun intended). The plastic is very durable, but low grade - a lot like what a cellphone holster would be made of. Fairly easy to scratch. Fitment is great and the hinge is stiff and solid. From certain angles and lighting I can see how it can look like a baby macbook, but from most angles it looks like an iPad2 with a giant black plastic sheath.
Another issue is that it is _heavy_. With an iPad2 slotted in (which makes it top heavy as the screen half is heavier than the base), it weighs a bit more than a macbook air. It’s also _thick_ - about as thick as my macbook pro.
The keyboard spacing is a tad off. I’m not sure how or why, but compared to every keyboard I’ve used (in multiple form factors), I just can’t quite train myself to type without copious amounts of typos on this keyboard. Perhaps I need to give myself time to adjust. There are also several keys that are fairly useless and seem to clutter the keyboard layout. The arrow keys which I thought would be ideal for me to play vintage Sierra games with in iDos (the dos box emulator for iOS) don’t work at all. In fact, I can’t seem to find ANY app that supports the directional arrow keys. The BT pairing process is straightforward, except for two separate times when I had to repair for one reason or another.
It’s worthwhile to note that the keyboard itself is powered by it’s own battery, charged via the included mini-usb charging cable. Holding down the Fn and command keys on the keyboard will flash an LED a certain number of times to indicate the amount of charge remaining. After a solid day of use, the charge hasn’t budged.
I think the concept is solid, but the actual execution failed to live up to the hype, the pretty product shots, and most importantly the $150 price tag. I’m debating whether to keep this or to throw it on eBay and use my trusty imitation microfiber case and Apple BT keyboard combo instead.
Hate the new iPad2 smart cover? So do I. It’s pretty, it’s gimmicky, it leaves the back of your device unprotected. My first impulse was to stuff my new iPad2 into the 1st gen Apple case (the MC361ZM/B) from my original iPad. Much to my chagrin, it didn’t fit. Well, technically it fits, but the controls don’t line up.
The first generation case was svelte. Felt good in your hands. Understated. You take it into a meeting and people think you’re carrying a notepad, not a tablet. They won’t give it a second look or give you a smirk for showing off your new toy.
I for one am not a big fan of leather, plexiglass, or big flashy hipster look-at-me cases, so I loved it. So when the new iPad came out, I spent two months looking far and wide for a suitable replacement. While some new cases were somewhat similar, it just wasn’t the same. Apparently, some other people seemed to agree.
A few weeks ago, a quick search for “microfiber ipad2” on eBay turned up a whole series of cases for the iPad2 that looked remarkably like the original. It seems as if some enterprising individual in China made some modifications to the orignal design and started cranking out some new non-sanctioned Apple cases.
A click of the buy-it-now button and within a few days, i was pretty impressed with what arrived. The packaging even looks Apple, though with Chinese characters.
Included was a cleaning cloth. Once I got it out of the packaging, I confirmed that the case was, in fact, identical to the original as far as look, feel, and construction (except for the differences that make it fit the new iPad2 of course).
Here are some pictures of the actual fitment. All the ports and switches lined up just fine. Folding the front lid backward lets you tuck it into a flap in the back to prop up the tablet for viewing, as did the original. As a nice bonus, there is a magnet inside the front lid to wake the device when the lid is opened.
This case would be perfect if it wasn’t for that fact that the original was designed for an iPad with straight edges, not curved ones and as a result the material would bunch up around the seams. A bit annoying, but not a deal breaker. I think I can live with it.
For those that know me, you will find that I have a consuming obsession with Sierra Online, and all things related to that company, genre, and historical time period (i.e. the golden age of adventure gaming). Perhaps its nostalgic value, or maybe I’m old fashioned.
When I was a kid in middle school, while other kids my age dreamt of playing video games, I longed to make them. At the tender young age of 14 I was convinced of my calling in life. I would hunker down and become a C/C++ jedi, skip college, hitchhike north, and show up at the doors of the infamous Sierra Online “redwood” building and demand a job from Ken Williams. Perhaps I would start by manning the hint lines and work my way up to development lead on Quest For Glory 7.
Sadly, that never quite panned out. Sierra’s strategic vision led the company away from adventure games, contributing a death knell to the rapidly declining genre. Ken sold the company and before long, Sierra was just a name slapped onto titles from various other studios. Feeling somewhat cheated, I blundered my way through college and still ended up in software development - just not game development.
To this day I’m still intrigued by that iconic building, however. I googled and looked through my vast collection of Sierra games and memorabilia and failed to locate any historical addresses for the company other than a couple of P.O Boxes. Dare I hope I find actual pictures of ancestral home of adventure gaming? Perhaps even a google streetview image?
I got really tired of the archaic Blogger interface and templates and have made a switch to Tumblr. You can still view all my old posts here.
If you’re even remotely interested, my interests are retro gaming/computing, mobile software development, very fast cars, and cycling. Oh yeah, I’m a veritable gadget fiend as well!