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.