Consumers have long been trying to make their iPads act more like notebooks; the ClamCase can at least make the tablet look the part. When you dock your iPad into this plastic keyboard case, it could easily pass for a large but attractive netbook, with the screen at the top and keyboard below. But at $149--$50 more than most iPad keyboard cases--is it worth the investment?
If you ever wanted your iPad to look like a notebook, the ClamCase is for you. This accessory is made entirely from a hard plastic (with a rubberized coating on the bottom). When an iPad is docked in its upper half, it looks, for all intensive purposes, like a notebook.
The two halves are connected by a sturdy hinge that prevents the iPad from flopping, and it lets you adjust it to an angle you think best. You can even fold it over on itself, should you want to use the iPad purely as a tablet. We especially like that your iPad will automatically wake when you open the case.
However, all this protection makes the ClamCase heavier than competing iPad keyboards. Measuring 9.8 X 8.1 X 0.9 inches and weighing 1.7 pounds, it more than doubles the weight of the iPad 2, and is a good 8 ounces heavier than the next heaviest case, the Belkin Keyboard Folio.
ClamCase makes three different versions of its iPad 2 case; one is matte black, one is matte white (which brings to mind the old MacBooks), and a third limited edition, called The Trooper, has a white chassis and black keyboard, and is meant to evoke a Stormtrooper's uniform from Star Wars.
Unlike a number of other iPad 2 keyboard cases we've reviewed recently, the ClamCase's keys abut one another, much like a keyboard you'd see on an old netbook. We like that the right Shift key is as big as on a regular laptop, but we weren't impressed with the overall experience.
On the TapTyping test app, we averaged about 41 words per minute with a 96-percent accuracy rate. That's nearly 20 wpm less than the Kensington KeyFolio and ZaggFolio, where we averaged around 58 wpm. Also, our error rate was two percent greater than on those other docks.
The Clamcase is rated for up to 90 hours of battery life; a small mini USB port on the side lets you recharge the device, and an LED changes from amber to green to let you know when it's fully charged.
We wanted to really like the Clamcase; it gets a lot of things right, including a sturdy design, instant wake, and iPad-specific keys. However, the typing experience was too far below that of its competitors, and its price too high for us to recommend it.