I have often commented on how the iPad has changed the way I consume technology over the last 18 months. It has gone back and forth as my primary device, for a number of reasons. Battery life, size and functionality simply make it easy to use for extended periods of time. I have over 100 documents and technical books on my iPad, along with training/reference videos and other technical resources. I even use VMware’s View client for the iPad to access a Win7 desktop back in the office when I need to.
However, there has been one drawback. When I need to take a lot of notes in a short amount of time, the iPad keyboard is not very well suited for that. For a long time, I carried a ThinkOutside folding bluetooth keyboard that I had purchased years ago for an old Windows Mobile device. It worked, but it was a hassle to keep track of and I was constantly having to fix minor cracks and other battle damage from travels.
I was preparing to buy a case with keyboard built in, looking at one of the leather portfolio versions. Just as I was about to make that purchase, a friend of mine introduced me to the Clamcase case for iPad. It transforms the iPad into a small laptop, without limiting the overall functionality. I can use my iPad like a laptop, fold it half way back to use the case as a display stand, or fold the case all of the way back to simply use it as a tablet. The real test came last week, as I used it in all three roles while attending VMware’s VMWorld 2011 conference in Las Vegas.
As a VMware partner, I was entertaining clients at various event, speaking in sessions and attending partner briefings. As a blogger/writer, I was attending press conferences, documenting the many announcements, and judging in the Best of Show awards. I did not want to carry a big bag with my laptop and adapter cables all day, so I opted to carry only my iPad in a small messenger bag. It was great! I was able to sit and use my iPad like a laptop to take notes in sessions and press events. I could quickly review presentations prior to speaking events, and event use my iPad as a traditional tablet when walking the expo floor to review products for judging. If I need to, the iPad can easily be removed from the Clamcase for independent use, but I never found that to be necessary.
This is the second incarnation of the Clamcase, adjusted slightly for the iPad 2. My only complaint is that it does not always sleep my iPad when I close the case. I think the foam pads, meant to protect the screen, are actually keeping the magnets from making the proper contact with edges of the iPad screen. It worked, but was hit or miss on making proper contact. This was not a big deal, I simply turned my sleep timer back on and all is well.
The Clamcase has finally made it possible for me to truly use my iPad as my primary device. I now take it to all of my meetings with clients and rarely bring the laptop. If you are looking for a case/keyboard for your iPad, I strongly recommend taking a look at the Clamcase. Check out their site for more information on these great cases.