For iPad Air owners looking to use their iPad as a laptop while still keeping the function of a tablet need to look no further than the ClamCase for iPad Air.
The first thing most people will notice about this case is how similar it looks to a MacBook Air. It actually does turn your iPad into a laptop albeit with no support to use a mouse, but that’s an Apple decision, not a case issue. Obviously using your iPad as a full replacement for your laptop isn’t ideal in all situations, but for emailing, blogging and other situations where typing is the main focus it works great. Also with more and more apps being developed the amount of work you can do on an iPad is growing more and more every day. Now back to the case… The fit is snug although top heavy (in laptop mode) since that’s where the iPad resides so using it on your lap is a little more difficult than on a hard surface like a table or tray table on a plane.
As a side note the packaging ClamCase uses is very sleek and “Apple like.” It reminded me of an iPad’s packaging.
Connecting via Bluetooth is super simple. I have noticed an occasional lag coming out of sleep. I end up having to tap the “On button” 2 or 3 times to get it to wake up from sleep. Once running the keyboard feels almost full size and doesn’t feel cramped and comes with plenty of useful keyboard shortcuts.
The battery life is really impressive. I use the keyboard approximately an hour or so a day and typically only have to charge it a couple times a month (although my mom who owns the iPad 4 version is experiencing some quick draining of her battery). Charging is done via a USB adaptor that is included. One side plugs into the case while the other side plugs into your iPad/iPhone USB side of charger.
Overall I’m really impressed with this case. It’s the closest you’ll find to how Apple would design a bluetooth keyboard case. The ability to use it in laptop mode or tablet mode is a huge selling point to me. It does take a little getting use to feeling the keys on the back of the iPad while in tablet mode, but they automatically turn off and aren’t functioning while in tablet mode. For me using it as a really close MacBook replacement is its main feature. While the ClamCase for iPad Air earns an impressive 4 out of 5 stars based on its sleek “Apple like” design, it loses a full point for some small, but needed changes I mentioned in the pros/cons section below to the design/build quality along with its customer service and social media presence although as I mentioned in the updates below they did contact me shortly after writing this review to offer a replacement unit.
I still believe it’s the best option for a stylish, bluetooth iPad keyboard/case and hopefully they can make some small changes and lower the price point in future versions. To be fair they may have addressed some of these issues in the ClamCase for iPad Air 2 keyboard/case although I have yet to use one.
– Comfortable, light/thin, high quality look and easy to use as a MacBook replacement in landscape.
– 3 Mode Use: Laptop, Touch Screen, Tablet.
– Keyboard feels almost full size and doesn’t feel cramped.
– Really long batter life. Only need to charge keyboard 1-2 times monthly.
– Tons of keyboard shortcuts for search, copy/paste, mic/Siri, show/hide on screen keyboard, play/pause/FF/rewind, volume up/down and more.
– Packaging is sleek and very “Apple like.”
– Durability is in question. Stress cracks started to appear after 4-5 months. (They did send me a replacement unit free of charge and they say the new batch also addresses the cracking issue).
– Customer support through email or social media is almost non existent. (They do have phone number, but I have not called yet. As mentioned a couple times below they have contacted me now and are shipping me a replacement unit free of charge. I did receive a brand new unit they say takes care of the cracking issue and provided me with prepaid postage to send the old one back)
– Bluetooth lags on start. Have to hit a few buttons before it connects.
– No backlit keyboard.
– Case covers Mute button on iPad so have to remove case to change. Some have reported issues with port holes for headphones or 3rd party chargers being too small.
– Top heavy when on your lap.
– $169 price tag is quite high compared to other bluetooth keyboards/cases.
* Update: I have been using the case for about 4 or 5 months now and the case has shown signs of a couple stress cracks. I’ve contacted the company via their email support about 4 days ago with no support response. I’ve also tried contacting the company in the past via social media with no luck. According to their site the manufacturers warranty is only for 120 days. I’ve had mine slightly longer than that, but wanted to ask what my options would be. I’ll update this post once I hear back from ClamCase.
* Update 2: About 2 hours after posting this review I did receive an email from their support team offering to send me a replacement unit. I’ll update again after receiving the unit.
* Update 3: I did receive a brand new unit they say takes care of the cracking issue and provided me with prepaid postage to send the old one back. Once I actually got someone to respond they were absolutely great with helping me out and sending me a new case free of charge and most importantly… hassle free.