Review: ClamCase Pro

Turning an iPad into a laptop isn’t difficult to do, functionally speaking. But as with any gadget-repurposing effort, there are always trade-offs. After inserting my iPad 3 into the ClamCase Pro and schlepping it to the last gate at San Francisco Airport, one immediately became clear: My iPad now weighed as much as a 13-inch MacBook Air and was even a tad thicker to boot.

Sure, the ClamCase adds a well-designed, Bluetooth-enabled, Chiclet-style keyboard — one that includes useful special function keys and the Mac’s standard Command, Option, and Control. But it also transformed a lightweight, portable device into a 3-pound slab.

Whether all that added heft is a deal breaker really depends on how you like to use your iPad. Recreational users who don’t rely on a keyboard much will probably find a case like this too restrictive, while iPad owners who regularly work on their tablets may not. Regardless, the case itself has a few attribute that may sway you to one side or the other.

It’ll accommodate the iPad 2, 3, or 4 — all of which fit snugly into the white hard-shell plastic top cover. The case’s aluminum keyboard forms the base foundation and includes four stabilizing, rubber dot feet. Between them is a unique 360-degree hinge that supports the weight of the iPad. It’s even engineered like a real clam, with a shell that’s purposefully hard to open and close.

Adjusting the iPad to get a good viewing angle takes some careful maneuvering. If you push the ClamCase back even a smidge too far, the natural top heaviness of the iPad sends the whole thing tipping over along with with the keyboard. This can be frustrating as the right viewing angle will vary depending on where you place the ClamCase. Like a notebook, placing it on your lap requires one angle while resting it on a desk or table calls for another. In tight quarters, the tipping issue can be a serious problem.

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