Hands-On With the ClamCase Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Keyboards have become an increasingly important way for iPad users to boost the productivity of their tablets, and there are dozens of keyboards and keyboard cases on the market designed for the iPad. Apple itself has begun highlighting keyboard cases in recent weeks, showcasing a range of products in its brick and mortar stores, and with Apple beginning to put an emphasis on iPad accessories, interest in keyboards will undoubtedly pick up in the coming months.

    ClamCase, a well-known iPad accessory maker, has been producing keyboard cases for several years and its most recent case, the ClamCase Pro iPad Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2, is a culmination of everything the company has learned people look for in a keyboard case.

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    Priced at $169, the ClamCase Pro is a premium entrant in a market where $50 to $100 options are common, but it offers features that power users and frequent writers will find worth the money, including a unique 360 degree hinge for multiple screen positions, full iPad protection, and most importantly, a keyboard that has generous spacing and an above average key feel.

    What's in the Box


    The ClamCase Pro ships in a high-quality iPad-style box that includes the keyboard case itself, a micro-USB cord for charging, a quick start guide, and a headphone adapter.

    As described in the quick start guide, setup is easy, and we were able to pair the ClamCase Pro with an iPad after switching the case's power on and pairing it in the iPad's Bluetooth settings menu. After pairing, it worked immediately, with no apparent lag.

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    Design


    The ClamCase Pro for iPad Air 2 is, as you might imagine, a clamshell-style case that fully encompasses the iPad. The iPad Air 2 snaps snugly into the top of the case (so snugly, in fact, that it can be difficult to remove) and the bottom of the case houses black MacBook-style keys. Both the outside of the case and the top portion are constructed from a white plastic, but inside, the keyboard portion of the case is made from brushed aluminum and heavily resembles a MacBook.

    The two halves of the case are connected by a 360 degree hinge, and overall, with the iPad snapped in, it looks and feels very much like a MacBook Air -- so much so that in MacRumors' testing, we repeatedly attempted to use a non-existent trackpad instead of touching the screen.

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    The top of the ClamCase Pro has a cutout for the iPad's Lightning port and the camera, as well as buttons that allow the iPad's power and volume controls to be used. The keyboard portion of the case has a port for headphones and a micro-USB port that's used to charge the case itself.

    While the plastic of the case feels somewhat flimsy and low-quality, the aluminum keyboard portion is solid and feels well made. When closed, the ClamCase Pro is able to completely encase the iPad, protecting it from drops and scratches. Unfortunately, this solid feel and the high level of protection come at a cost --- bulk. The ClamCase Pro is 0.74 inches thick (at its thinnest point) and the iPad Air 2 is 0.24 inches thick, which means this case triples the thickness of the iPad Air 2 and more than doubles the weight (ClamCase Pro weighs 1.2 pounds, iPad Air 2 weighs 0.96)

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    Article Link: Hands-On With the ClamCase Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
     
  2. Eweie macrumors regular

    Eweie

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  3. Blue Fox macrumors 6502a

    Blue Fox

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    #3
    Not to sound critical or negative, but I still don't understand why people try to transform their iPad into a laptop, when they can just go out and get a good laptop for roughly the same price anyway. All these "transform iPad into laptop" solutions just make it cumbersome versus just getting a laptop to begin with. For example, an 11" MacBook Air comes to mind.
     
  4. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #4
    I've been testing this keyboard for awhile and have done a ton of writing on it -- let me know if you guys have any specific questions about it. Out of all the iPad keyboards I've used (which is a lot) this one probably has the best key feel, which makes it easy to type on. Its price really makes it a niche product though.
     
  5. iJandro macrumors regular

    iJandro

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    #5
    It seems like this case is really "clamming" for attention!

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  6. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #6
    My guess is for versatility. It's nice to be able to use the iPad for serious writing in this form or snap it out of the case for a super portable tablet.
     
  7. Goftrey macrumors 68000

    Goftrey

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    #7
    Due you reckon the Mini version would be too cramped? I'm considering ditching my Air for an iPad mini with a Clamcase, but am not convinced on how comfortable it's going to be.
     
  8. Jessica Lares, Jan 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015

    Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #8
    It's expensive, but they have good customer service. I just got mine replaced with no questions asked.

    Everyone complains about the bulk with these things. Who cares? It's still thinner than the classic MacBook Pro nobody had an issue with a few years ago. You're aiming for the best typing experience anyway.

    And yes, the keys are nice and pretty spacey, even on the Mini version.
     
  9. Goftrey macrumors 68000

    Goftrey

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    #9
    Awesome, thanks! Looks like I'll pull the trigger then!
     
  10. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #10
    The keyboard itself is smaller (obviously) but there's still good spacing between the keys which a major factor in whether a keyboard is easy to type on. There may be a bit more of an adjustment going from a MacBook keyboard to the ClamCase for mini, but it should still be a comfortable typing experience.
     
  11. 2457282 Suspended

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    #11
    I purchased one from Kensington and it broke after 1 month of use (several keys dont work). Kensington refused to fix or replace and only offered a 50% coupon to purchase another. Talk about HORRIBLE customer service. I will pay extra for a product that has a company standing behind it with great customer service (and great products to begin with). This is why I buy Apple and not Windows or Android based products.

    Stay away from Kensington. If this product is good and it has a good customer service, then the extra dollars may be justified.
     
  12. KdParker macrumors 601

    KdParker

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    Maybe something like this will be more relevant when the new iPad Pro come out.
     
  13. pubwvj macrumors 68000

    pubwvj

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    #13
    It's nice. I have a keyboard. But what I really want is iOS and MacOS to merge and the computational basics to be in the screen which I can disconnect and use as an tablet or connect either with a keyboard which has more processing, storage, etc embedded to create a MacBookPro. I want access to all of my data and all of my Applications/Apps all of the time. Greedy, yes.
     
  14. Traverse macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    I'm really tempted by these Clamcases, but I like the love tic covers because they're seamless to remove. This one looks like a hassle of you connect and disconnect your iPad often.

    ----------

    So lame I smiled. Good job sir/miss!
     
  15. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #15
    You can get a good laptop at that price, yes, but I did not want to invest into hardware that I would turn around and sell six months to a year later (imagine trying to sell a Windows Surface RT now that they've announced that it's not getting Windows 10). It made more sense to use my MacBook Pro with a broken keyboard in clamshell mode and then just get the keyboard case for my iPad Mini. And I'm very happy I did that because I don't feel like I have this urgency to buy a new laptop anymore, or even a new Mac for that matter.

    The iPad isn't perfect of course, but it is more satisfying than a $199 laptop that is only good for Office and browsing the internet.
     
  16. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #16
    It's a little finicky getting it in and out, but you do get used to it after a bit so it goes a little quicker. Definitely annoying getting it in and out though.
     
  17. bushido Suspended

    bushido

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    #17
    i care ^^ one of the reasons i got an ipad air 2 was the thinnes. my ipad 3 was already too bulky and i just put my air in a sleeve when i take it out of the house. also youcant compare a macbook to a tablet
     
  18. PowerBook-G5 macrumors 65816

    PowerBook-G5

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    #18
    If Apple allows for an external pointing/tracking device with the supposed iPad Plus/Pro, and they add a trackpad to this product, it will be golden.

    This would make it a great MacBook "replacement", for those who are into that type of thing.
     
  19. RoccoFan macrumors regular

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    #19
    Belkin makes a much better case. The Qode Pro has a detachable portion so you arent tethered to the keyboard.
     
  20. jclo, Jan 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015

    jclo Editor

    jclo

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    Belkin Qode Pro is definitely nice too. I think I prefer the keys of the ClamCase Pro, but both are good options. Very different styles, though.
     
  21. SanFran95 macrumors member

    SanFran95

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    #21
    Nice case for my iPad Air 2, unfortunately Bluetooth keyboards doesn't work correctly in iOS 8.1 and thereafter - even the keyboard within the software is so buggy, keeps showing up when browsing the web or other weird issues... :eek:
     
  22. bogmonster macrumors newbie

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    #22
    I was wondering why they'd exclude a trackpad; would certainly make more sense with one.
    This thing would make working via RDP or citrix from an iPad a lot more functional.
     
  23. 7thson macrumors 6502a

    7thson

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    #23
    Props to Juli Clover. A very in depth review and well written.
     
  24. PowerBook-G5 macrumors 65816

    PowerBook-G5

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    #24
    Unfortunately the iPad does not support tracking/pointing devices.
     
  25. solamar, Jan 23, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2015

    solamar macrumors regular

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    #25
    Belkin got it right..

    While I normally am not a Belkin fan. The latest keyboard case is miles better and a little cheaper..

    I picked up the ClamCase for my mom for Christmas, got it for $129 on Cyber-monday.. I thought it was really nice, great deal on a good combo case...

    Then I tried the Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro.. omg.. wow... Check it out here..

    I think Belkin got it right and raised the bar by many levels. Having used both my moms ClamCase, and now my Belkin, I can say firmly I really like the flexibility and quality of Belkins better..
    • Directional speaker grill
    • Portrait and landscape modes
    • Detachable keyboard for pure tablet mode
    • Ability to still use Apple's SmartCover
    • Auto shutoff
    • Ability to pair with a secondary device..
    • Faux leather back on one side and aluminum on the other...

    Basically, ClamCase is not worth $169 when faced against the Belkin for $149.. Quality is actually better with the Belkin ..

    would like to see them do a review of the new Belkin..

    Their were some issues with connectivity with initial versions; but don't let that deter you.. The one I have is rock solid..
     

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51 January 23, 2015