I’ve had to sit on this review for quite a while, now. I wish I could have written it sooner, but that just wasn’t an option. I’m sorry to anyone who would have bought this product during that window.
Brett (Nolan) and I saw these ClamCase iPad cases online a while ago. We both loved the idea. It’s modeled like a laptop, with a top to hold your iPad 2/3/4 and a keyboard on the other side. The part that won me over was that the hinge swiveled all the way around and you could use the keyboard as a prop to hold up just the screen, or fold it all the way over and use the iPad just as a tablet. This design is brilliant!
Just before the Fall 2012 semester at my college began, ClamCase had a sale on the cases, knocking the price down from $149 to $129. After several unresponded to emails requesting a review unit, I broke down an ordered one called the Trooper (the black and white pattern looks like a Stormtrooper outfit from Star Wars). It was listed as in stock when I ordered, but then showed up as out of stock after I ordered with a 1-3 week wait time.
At three weeks, I sent a few emails to ClamCase about the status of my order and never got replies. Four weeks after ordering, Brett fired off an email to ClamCase about my order and mentioning that we were planning to review it. Suddenly, they wrote Brett back (never me) and said it would ship the following day. This should have raised red flags, but I didn’t catch it.
When the case arrived, it looked NICE. I clipped my iPad in, set up to Bluetooth keyboard and started playing around with it.
The hinge works great. It bends easily and stays exactly where you want it. This never wore down, even though I use my iPad constantly.
The section that holds the iPad could use some work. The three times I removed my iPad from the case I either cracked my nail (and I have short nails) or cut my finger pretty badly. The clip is secure, but it is very hard to remove it from the iPad. Another issue is that the speaker is uncovered. If you’ve ever used an iPad propped up in this position, you know that unless something covers the speaker to bounce the sound back to you, the sound goes out into the room and disappears. This made trying to watch movies horrible.
The big issue with the ClamCase is with its keyboard. I noticed right off the bat that it felt VERY cheap. Sometimes I wouldn’t hit a button exactly center and it wouldn’t register the key being pressed. Also, the mechanism for turning the keyboard off and on (so you don’t press any keys while using it as a tablet) is a keyboard key that you hold down until a light blinks three times. To turn it back on, you repeat the process. There’s no way to know if the keyboard is on or off, making this mechanism very useless. Lastly, just over a week after starting to use this case, the spacebar on the keyboard just broke. It didn’t work at all anymore. I’m not sure if the spacebar is important to you, butIliketouseminealot. 😉
I fired off an email to ClamCase about the spacebar and asking about a replacement case under the warranty. No response. I talked to Brett, and each of us sent an email. ClamCase suggested resetting the keyboard. I did as instructed and it didn’t work. You could tell when you pushed the key that it was a mechanical problem. I sent another email about an exchange. After another week with no reply, Brett and I crafted a very well thought out letter asking for a full return under their “100% satisfaction guarantee” listed on the site (not to mention that the warranty was still valid since it was brand new). They never replied, again.
Finally, I went through my bank and issued a chargeback for the full amount. I told my bank the full story. The woman I spoke to asked why I wasn’t willing to send it back, and I told her that I’d love to, but they won’t tell me where to send it or authorize the return. My bank said they’d call the company and talk to them about this. I was issued a provisional credit for the amount of the case and shipping (the whole charge), and a few days ago I got a letter that they never responded to repeated calls from the bank, so the bank made the chargeback final.
I’ve since heard stories that the keyboard’s battery loses the ability to hold a charge after a month or so, but I was unable to verify this since mine stopped working before that point.
In my opinion, ClamCase is just looking for a quick buck from Apple users and has no intention of making quality products or servicing the customers who purchase them. If they won’t make things right for someone who’s told them that they intend to review the product, I doubt they’d help the average Joe. ClamCase is currently developing a keyboard case for the iPad mini as well. My advice: Avoid this company and their products at all costs.