Provides: iPad Bluetooth keyboard, stand and case
Minimum Requirements: iPad 2+
The iPad is an amazingly versatile device. You can use it to browse the web, send emails, watch videos, play games and more. Such a multipurpose device begs for a multipurpose accessory, and the ClamCase iPad keyboard case is just that. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard with a laptop style case/stand perfectly designed for the iPad. It helps you type up emails, browse the web comfortably and watch movies without ever needing to hold your iPad at all. Of course, there’s nothing keeping your from using it in hand like normal, either. It’s just an all around iPad enhancer.
If you’ve used an iPad long enough and tried to do any real writing on it, you already know that virtual keyboards just don’t cut it for anything over a few sentences. You have a few options: stop using your iPad for writing, suffer with the virtual keyboard or buy a hardware keyboard. There are many options for the third choice, most of which are wireless thanks to Bluetooth. I took a look at the ClamCase iPad keyboard case for iPad 3. It’s an accessory that attempts to solve not just the keyboard conundrum of the iPad, but many of the common problems iPad users experience. It’s a case, a stand, and a bluetooth keyboard. But is it good at any of these functions?
Most definitely. The ClamCase is quite possibly the most useful stand for iPad I’ve looked at yet. Thanks to a laptop-style hinge, the ClamCase can orient itself in many configurations. Unlike a laptop, it can bend almost 360 degrees. So you can shut it like a laptop, or bend it all the way back like a tablet. The only problem with this is that the keyboard section will be exposed. There are four feet at the corners to prevent the keys from touching a flat surface, but it’s a good idea to hit the power button on the keyboard anyway. I found this configuration to actually be the most useful feature of the ClamCase. It’s great at holding the iPad at just about any angle, perfect for watching movies, browsing the web, reading, etc.
But I’ve sort of skipped the main feature of the ClamCase; the keyboard. That’s because it’s not the ideal keyboard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s leaps and bounds better than trying to use a virtual keyboard, but the main problem I’ve had with most mobile keyboards is their small, cramped keys. And honestly, it’s not their fault. It’s a limitation of the size constraints of the iPad itself. The ClamCase keyboard is the same width as the iPad in landscape orientation. If you put a bigger keyboard on here, you’d have an accessory that was bigger than the iPad. It’s debatable if that’s a worthwhile tradeoff (it certainly might be), but ClamCase obviously wanted to keep this multipurpose accessory as portable as possible.
If you have large hands, you probably aren’t going to have a good time with this keyboard. If you have small hands, then you can probably adjust to typing on the ClamCase, but it’s still not ideal. The keys are great, they are just too small and close together to type comfortably for an extended period of time. That said, there are some pretty cool features you get for buying a Bluetooth keyboard specifically designed for an iOS device. Instead of function keys, you get keys that are tailored to iOS. There’s are buttons for cut, copy and paste, search, a home button, even music controls. And like I mentioned earlier, there is a power button to quickly turn the keyboard on and off.
The ClamCase iPad 3 keyboard case really is a nifty accessory that fixes a number of common problems experienced by iPad users. It provides a keyboard that, while small, is much better than typing on a virtual keyboard that takes away valuable screen space. It protects the iPad inside of its plastic shell and functions as one of the best and most versatile stands available. It even has a magnet built in to support the auto sleep/wake functionality when you close or open the lid.
Combine all those features together and you get one product that takes the place of at least 3. It’s like having the netbook Apple never made. While the keyboard is cramped, it isn’t any different than a netbook or any of the similar accessories available. As such, I think the ClamCase is the best option of its kind available now, you just have to decide if you’re okay with the price tag. The extra iOS features of the keyboard are great, but it’s hard to say if it’s truly worth the price of admission.
You can order one for $149 at ClamCase.