This keyboard case has almost everything you’d want in a keyboard case. It has a wicked fancy hinge that folds 360 degrees, but it’s got a slight, tiny, small, teeny weeny problem that will probably most definitely bother a lot of you.
So, let’s check it out.
The ClamCase+ is a good mix of polycarbonate and aluminum, with the exterior and iPad enclosure being a soft matte rubbery feel, unfortunately with quite a bit of branding.
There are mini stiff rubber feet on the bottom and on the inside, the face of the keyboard aluminum plated. The keys are a stiff plastic build, but we’ll get to that later.
Installation is super simple, simply follow the instructions and go right side first then snap the opposite side in place. Removal is just as easy by squeezing the right edge off and the iPad should pop right out.
Looking around, the volume buttons have their own dedicated covers that stick out and provide clicky feedback, A cutout for the side mic, and the same situation for the power button. There’s a cutout for the audio port, although thicker jacks may be limited, and a generous size cutout for the Lighting connector on the bottom.
Around back, a camera, flash, and mic cutout around back, and thankfully the case is thick enough to prevent the camera hump from contacting surfaces.
The keyboard takes a micro USB connection to charge, which is rated at 3 hours for a full charge, and should last on average 100 hours, not as high as others, but I’ve been going a week strong without a charge yet. It also skips using the Smart Connector (like the Apple Smart Keyboard Cover or Logitech Create Keyboard case), instead opting to use Bluetooth 3.0.
The keyboard has magnets for auto on-off of your iPad for people like myself who don’t use the auto-lock feature. Although the face of the keyboard is aluminum, there are these stiff rubber stops to keep the screen separated when closed. Combined with the stiff case, I’m not worried about scratching my screen at all, but better safe than sorry, get a screen protector anyways.
Finally, like a MacBook, there’s an indentation to help when separating these two lovebirds. It’s such a simple idea we take for granted because it’s just expected and l haven’t had any rage issues opening it up.
Unfortunately, with so much that it does right, since it’s mainly a rebrand of the Air 2 model, it doesn’t include a spot for the Apple Pencil. So for the 3 of you crying out there, you may want to check out the Moxiware Apple Pencil Magnet, as it’s what I’ve been using to keep my setup together.
There is a lot going on and it does come at a cost. It almost doubles the iPad Pro with it on and most definitely doubles the thickness of your super slim iPad.
Fortunately, in the hand the curved like MacBook Air feel to it makes it really comfortable to hold and you don’t notice the weight of bulk, it just feels like you’re holding a tiny knockoff MacBook.
The keyboard is why you’re here and let me tell you, you’re in for a treat. Although the keys are smaller than standard keys, they’re spacious and provide an amazing clicky response. They’re on the stiffer end and will require a little more force than normal, but I didn’t experience any dropped clicks or delayed response.
You’ve still got a full keyboard layout, albeit with slightly smaller delete and enter keys, arrow keys in the corner, ,odifier keys beside that, a function key to access secondary features, but some keys are minituraized to an extreme, albeit less common keys.
There’s a function row with your standard home, lock, and yes, backlit keys with 3 levels of brightness. Do note however, using the backlight drops the keyboard battery life from 100 hours to 6 hours, so really dig deep down and ask yourself, is it worth it?
Then there’s the keyboard switcher, universal search, on screen keyboard, media keys and a dedicated Siri key. It’s disappointing to not see screen brightness keys as that’s a lot more common than the Siri key.
But that doesn’t change how I feel about the keyboard, I’ll say it, I love typing on it, if there’s anything that’s done right, it’s how nice it is to type on this keyboard. There is more to talk about though, mainly this, their patented 360 degrees hinge. It allows you to access a large range of viewing angles, but not all angles are usable.
There’s one standard angle it locks into at about 60 degrees, it stops itself from going any further, but leaves a lot of wiggle room for the screen which gets annoying when interacting with the screen. Anything before or after this gap is held in through friction and holds it’s position really well, but most of them being unusable to type at.
One of the major issues, especially evident when using in your lap is the weight ratio of the case to the iPad. At it’s locked 60 degree angle, the weight of the iPad tips the whole case over if you don’t hold the keyboard portion down, which they thankfully have a palm rest area to help with.
The instability can be daunting and requires constant attention to keep stable, unless you raise the screen to a higher angle, which can cause issues with viewing angles. Even on a hard surface, although the rubber feet help prevent sliding around, you deal with the similar issue of tipping, which is worse when you try and interact with the screen.
The redeeming factor however is the other 180 degrees of the hinge. Flip the iPad into the stand mode and the stiff hinge holds in place at almost any angle you like to view it at. It’s a perfect combination of work and play, being able to watch, surf, or game, then when it’s time, switch right back in a heartbeat.
Thanks to the hard shell case and the keyboard that acts as a screen cover, you’ve got 360 degrees of drop protection. There aren’t any specific protective features other than coverage, but that’s usually enough to injury from light drops, dings, and scratches.
The keyboard stays closed thanks to the stiff hinge so you’ll never have direct screen contact on impact. However, there isn’t much of a lip around the actual iPad, so if you had it in it’s tablet form by going full 360, it leaves your iPad screen fully exposed.
Like I said, invest in a damn screen protector, because I said so
As mentioned throughout the review, my main gripes were to see an actual updated design to accommodate the Apple Pencil for Pro users. Figuring out the weight management of the case, as of now, this case requires me to constantly hold it’s hand or else it’ll fall over, I fear one day I’ll lift my hands to scratch my chest, forgetting, and having it slide right off my lap.
Although it’s not the best for use on the lap, it’s cheaper than the Apple Smart Keyboard, offers an amazing typing experience, and you have the ability to go from laptop to tablet mode in a matter of seconds.
BUY INCIPIO CLAMCASE+ KEYBOARD CASE