17
Aug
getbentsmall

It's very difficult to review something like the Tablet Claw. For starters, my first instinct is to make the entire thing one big Inspector Gadget joke. Then there's the fact that I have no idea why anyone would need this. The Tablet Claw is a device that you slide your tablet into, and a little plastic piece that kind of looks like the tab you open soda cans with (called a "ringlet", apparently) folds out and gives you a way to grip your tablet.

Why.

Okay, hang on, though. I'm an open-minded person. Perhaps there is a use case for this. We will set aside, for the purposes of (most of) this review, my personal belief that a tablet is already pretty portable. We will ignore that this is one of the primary reasons tablets exist. We will forget, temporarily, that spending $39.99 on an accessory to prevent you from dropping your tablet probably says more about your coordination skills than you'd like. How does it hold up as a device? Not well at all, actually.

A Word On The Hardware

Before we get into how well it works, I want to go over the hardware itself. The Tablet Claw's main component, the grip, is a large piece of black plastic with a wide "hook" on each end. Because this whole thing is one piece, it doesn't expand or contract to fit any device at all. For an accessory that touts itself as "universal," it's a pretty risky approach. In general, if you're going to go with "one size fits all,"  you should probably check to ensure that's true.

2012-08-14_16h24_08

Actual instructions for a tablet accessory: use pliers.

There is one small saving grace, however. Well, kind of. The inside of each hook has a rubber insert. The package comes with a secondary set of inserts that are just a bit thinner. So, technically, it can support two very slightly different sizes. However, removing the rubber inserts is a pain. According to the Tablet Claw's official instructions, the proper way to remove them is to pull them out with pliers. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if you have to use pliers on your gadget accessory, it is probably not the most well-designed thing in the world. If this were the Tablet Claw's biggest sin, though, it might not be a big deal. Unfortunately, this is just the start of the problems.

Using This Thing Is Rage-Inducing

Before I can even talk about how hard it is to apply this thing, I have to talk about which tablets it's supposed to fit on. Which is not easy, since the company describes it as a "universal" accessory, but has a wide variety of ways to define just what "universal" means. Here are just a few of the possible definitions I found on the company's site:

  • "The Tablet Claw is the only universal stand and grip for all 10.1" and 7" screen tablets" according to this video.
  • "Universal Grip Design fits the iPad 2 & 3, ASUS, Samsung and Kindle Fire" according to the site's home page. Just which ASUS and Samsung tablets it's supposed to support are anyone's guess.
  • "The Tablet Claw securely fits the iPad 2 & 3, The ASUS EE Transformer, Samsung Galaxy and the 7 in. Kindle Fire" according to the FAQ. Okay, this is not looking good, you guys. I'm pretty sure the "EE Transformer" doesn't exist.

This makes it incredibly difficult to be sure just which tablets this thing is supposed to support. I initially tried it on my Xoom. This is a 10.1" display. That qualifies under the first definition of "universal," and I'm not going to beat around the bush here. I was literally screaming with rage in the first few minutes of trying to slide my plus-sized slate into this thing. It did not slide in easily at all. It requires intense pressure to fit. The included (brief) instructions say to "pull outwards on grips slightly away from the tablet". However, the surface area that you're given between the tips of the grip ends and the surface of the tablet is very minimal. Barely enough to fit even my own small fingertips on. Not to mention, the plastic around the grips is extremely inflexible. "Pulling outward slightly" doesn't make the application process any easier. To say nothing of getting the tablet out again.

I tried again on my Nexus 7 for the sake of science. The Tablet Claw does, after all, promise that it works on 7" devices. However, it was equally painful to slide the grip on to this tablet as well. I was concerned that maybe the Xoom was too thick to easily slide in, but the Nexus 7 is considerably thinner. Still, no go.

After having failed twice to insert tablets without exerting what felt like pressure that could damage my tablets, I thought maybe it would work better on a device that was explicitly supported according to the site. The closest thing I had available was an original ASUS Transformer. I can only assume that's what "ASUS EE Transformer" means from the FAQ page, so I went with it. Here are the results of trying to insert the officially-supported-I-think-Transformer into the Tablet Claw:

getbentsmall

The outer kickstand here is as closed as it can be. It will not properly fold away while attached to the TF101.

It actually bent the Tablet Claw. Even if you are bizarrely okay with your accessory being bent so that it can fit on your tablet, this has the unfortunate side effect of making it impossible to close the tabletop kickstand. Even worse is that with the claw in this position, it's difficult to open the ringlet so you can, you know, use this thing for its intended purpose. It's just awful.

Also, while sliding the Transformer into the claw, I noticed that the rubber inserts were bending and warping. It was very difficult to slide this thing on in a way that wouldn't result in these things folding all over the place.

rubber1small rubber2small

Oh, and as an added bonus, the ringlet may be too small for some of the beefier fingers in the audience. Here is a comparison of my own hand inside the ring vs. a friend of mine's. For reference, I am a skinny white boy who writes words on the internet for a living and he's a car guy who's built up the proper amount of man-callouses from working on car engines and tough stuff all day:

carguy1small carguy2small scrawny1small

Left, Center: His fingers barely fit inside the ringlet. Right: Mine fit perfectly, but I also have relatively small fingers.

Obviously, this is a subjective problem. I had no difficulty slipping my fingers in the ring, but it does seem like it's not quite spacious enough to accommodate fingers of any size (which seems to be a metaphor for the claw's relationship to tablets). In short, if you bought a large-screen smartphone because you have trouble typing on a sub-4" display, you may want to reconsider purchasing this. Speaking of...

Okay, We Have To Talk About The "Why?" Now

I tried to put off asking this question. I wanted to give the Tablet Claw a fair shot. After attaching this thing to the closest I have to an officially supported device, only to watch it bend into an unusable shape, I'm driven back to the insurmountable problem: why?

Tablets are inherently easy to hold. They are designed to be lightweight and portable. Seven inch tablets, which this thing does specifically advertise to support in some places, make even less sense. If your device can fit in a reasonably large pocket or purse, then just how difficult can it be to hold in one hand? In a world where this accessory works as advertised, I'd leave it to the reader to decide if it's worth the asking price. However, I fear physical damage to my tablets could occur if I slide them in and out of this thing too much. When a $40 piece of plastic introduces that kind of worry, one has to consider just being more careful.

This demo video doesn't really do much to answer the question of why I need this.

"But what about the built-in kickstand?" I hear you cry. "You love kickstands, Eric!" Indeed I do. In fact, it's my personal belief that all tablets should have kickstands. However, failing that, there are cases you can get that have makeshift stands built in, like the rotating stand case we saw leak for the Nexus 7 a while back. These would be so much better for propping up a tablet and have the added benefit of providing extra protection for your investment.

Maybe, maybe the need to use a Tablet Claw while giving a presentation is legitimate. I wouldn't know. It's been a while since I had to give a speech in front of a crowd. However, I can't imagine a high-powered executive giving an intense PowerPoint presentation would look all that confident with a plastic safety grip on his tablet. Unless he also drinks his coffee from a no-spill sippy cup and drives his BMW to work while in a booster seat.

Conclusion

I have no idea why this accessory exists. I was honestly excited about trying it out when it arrived. I love playing with new accessories and this one was certainly unique enough to have my attention. Within minutes of opening the Tablet Claw, however, I was seriously questioning whether it was a good idea to continue. It was physically painful to slide it on to tablets that weren't explicitly supported, and the one that was name-checked on the site deformed the claw when I used it.

It's possible that this would be a great accessory for an iPad. It seems pretty obvious from the company's marketing that this was designed with Apple's tablet in mind first, and Android tablets second. Maybe this thing fits them better, but we're not the iPolice. We're the Android Police. And we were promised a device that would work on some vaguely specific Android tablets, maybe. It worked on exactly zero of the three we tried, one of which was specifically called out by name on the site as being supported. Reports of the Tablet Claw's universality have been greatly exaggerated.

More than anything, though, this grip seems designed to stay on your tablet. It grips so tightly and is so difficult to attach that one would assume it would never leave your slate's side. This makes protecting your tablet while on the go very difficult. A portfolio case with a built-in stand of some kind would be much better and offer much more protection. As for the "problem" of small, lightweight devices being difficult to hold in your hand, may we suggest some hand coordination exercises?

Who would need this: Steve Urkel, Mr. Bean, or any other character known for being too klutzy for their own good.

Who would want this: Collectors of esoteric Android accessories. Perhaps a museum would be interested in this someday.

Who wouldn't need or want this: Anyone who has finished developing their fine motor skills.

Buy: Tablet Claw | Amazon

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JosephSoultatos Joseph Soultatos

    I will try to shine some light on why this would be a useful accessory, because for most people, it would be absolutely, 100% useless.

    This is a common thing I see in the hospital. Doctor / pharmacist is running around, has to pay attention to 4 or 5 different things, and if you're running, you need something to have a solid grip on your tablet. For a home user? Useless. If you're walking down a hallway, reading, talking, or doing anything else, and doing 5 things at once, this would be useful. It would allow you to walk with the tablet in the palm of your hand more comfortably, because sometimes when looking at imaging, you need more precise control, especially when walking.

    TL;DR: This is something I see them marketing to hospitals, not home use.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      I'd almost believe that if their marketing wasn't very specifically targeting home use. Take a look at the last video in the article. At one point they show a woman using the claw while sitting on the couch with her dog. Reading. Couch. Dog. I really can't imagine a situation that needs something like the Tablet Claw less than that.

      I can maybe see a situation where someone like a doctor would need something like this, and I suppose that's fair to say. However, they're failing to market to that audience, if that is the case.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        What are you talking about? I constantly use my tablet as a blunt instrument for beating my opponents into submission around the house. This accessory is just what I need.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I beat your girlfriend into submission too. You know that's what you meant.

        • Nashoba Darkwolf

          iPad 1 = frisbee of death. Totally can see that :3

      • http://www.facebook.com/JosephSoultatos Joseph Soultatos

        I agree. If I saw someone using this at home ... I'd be rather confused to say the least

      • Nashoba Darkwolf

        the thing is there is already cases for tablets that already do this that have much better hand straps and dont crush your poor baby.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/52RMHX6AKKSZ75OKTJYQQWLRVU DCMAKER

    seriously...this is probably your worst review yet.....yea it is a bit of a stupid design but i can actually see some use for this. It is by far not the worse design yet but seriously....your trolling is quite unnecessary.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      It might be somewhat useful... if it actually worked. At all.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Maybe you missed the part where this accessory bent when placed on an explicitly supported tablet. If that's not bad design, nothing is.

  • fixxmyhead

    this thing is a joke but have u seen how people get with accessories to there phones and tablets, they are so caught up in buying stupid lame cases,screen protectors,etc. u know some people will buy it but wont admit it. personally i find every case lame and stupid and hardly proctect if any and they always make the phones fatter and uglier/stupid

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Personally, I agree. I never put a case on my phone and only sometimes put a case on my tablet if I'm going out. However, I recognize that some people have different preferences. That's what's great about people! So many perspectives!

      This thing, however, feels like it could scratch your tablet. Or worse, if you slip while trying to shoe it in, you could end up breaking your tablet's screen. To say nothing of the fact that it promises to support a tablet that it absolutely does not. That, to me, crosses the line from personal preference to just bad buying decision.

    • Nashoba Darkwolf

      Agreed. A friend of mine just got an otterbox kit for his Galaxy SIII it turned the once beautiful phone, into a half inch thick monstrosity. For me I use my tablet more than anything. A simple $14.00 case logic case works wonders for it. Hell even the AmazonBasic black and orange Neoprene case is good enough, yet time and time again I see people buy insanely expensive hard cases for their tablets that do very little in protection, add a ton of weight, and make a once beautiful device look as fugly as a 1980 black etch a sketch.

    • http://pandu.poluan.info pepoluan

      It depends on the situation...

      Me, I bought a Capdase 'gel plastic rubber' case for my phone, because my toddler likes launching things out of his hands at scary velocity. My all-metal Nokia E72 can bear the punishment, but I'm not sure if my Samsung Galaxy W can. Hence, the case (which has proven its protection ability time and again).

      The case always goes off the moment I left my house, though. Too thick for normal use away from my boy.

  • alpha
    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Tablet on a stick. That is all.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Lolwut, how does that exist?

    • Nashoba Darkwolf

      LMFAO! Are you freaking kidding me? Its "white pine" one of the weakest woods next to balsa. One tiny drop or bang and the thing is cracked and gone. It doesnt even have felt or rubber to protect the tablet meaning the wood can scratch an iPad. Worse... its not even finished. "Can be painted or left as is," meaning: this half assed POS comes unfinished so you can pay us the money and finish it yourself because we were too lazy to do so ourselves.

  • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

    The first thing I thought of when I saw this was for salespeople, or anyone else that has to walk around constantly, and use a tablet to either take notes, orders, or give demos from the device. I can't speak to the quality of this particular accessory though.

  • Aku

    Its a little ugly but it looks pretty useful - I liked the utility of it being used as a stand but strapping it on to my hand probably not!!

  • moelsen8

    wow that family doesn't even talk to each other, they just play on their tablets all day and night.

  • Sorian

    Okay, I can see one use for it. I work on security cameras and more of them are being switched to IP connections. I could see using this type of... clamp? case?... whatever, while having to be up on a ladder setting focus and zoom on a camera.... Or bringing the laptop and setting the screen at the right angle to be viewable from a 6-8ft ladder.

  • KingoftheRing

    Interestingly enough, on the Amazon link, 8 people have reviewed it, all of whom gave it perfect scores. Even more interesting, none of the reviewers have posted any other reviews on Amazon. Curious indeed.

  • http://twitter.com/dominiquelemieu Dominique Lemieux
    • Nashoba Darkwolf

      HA! i have seen that used at base quite a bit. That thing is nice, really holds iPads in peoples hands nicely. I tried it out and it was very comfortable. I can easily see doctors and nurses use this thing.

  • Max Barlow

    I don't know if anyone watches BBC1 for the Formula 1, but jake humphrey uses an iPad with a strap for his hand on the back, which is universal (in terms of hand size, as far as i'm aware) and seems relatively lightweight (compared to the brick of an iPad that is).
    By no means am i condoning this product, personally I think it's a horrific attempt at a case/holder of this type, but I do think that, when done well, this product could be useful, like in the case of Jake's.

  • http://twitter.com/homncruse Aaron Burke

    I want you all to do something for me.

    Pretend phrases such as "tablet claw", "slate", and other synonyms are phallic euphemisms, and re-read the article. It gets especially hilarious starting with "I was literally screaming with rage in the first few minutes of trying to slide my plus-sized slate into this thing."

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      I....I think I love you.

      • http://pandu.poluan.info pepoluan

        >.<

  • frailer

    When I acquired my Nexus 7 a couple of weeks ago, no case specifically made for it had been announced yet, so the store sold me a Targus case which was designed for a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy tablet. On special even, for about $15. Genuine leather on the outside, well-padded interior, with slots that will hold the tablet horizontally at varying angles (not a kickstand, but serves the same purchase). The fit was a bit snug but not endangering to the tablet.