CES 2024: Clicks keyboard iPhone case hands-on review
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CES 2024: Clicks keyboard iPhone case hands-on review


Clicks may very well be one of the most divisive iPhone cases ever created. 

Mashable published a quick first-look at the smartphone case with the built-in physical keyboard earlier in the week after first seeing the accessory at CES 2024. Other tech outlets did too. The online conversation about the case was all over the place. 

A physical keyboard for your iPhone?! Photos of the Clicks furthered the discourse as Clicks certainly has an interesting look, elongating the already quite large iPhone 15.

But, personally, I actually liked the idea. I’m not a fan of typing on a touchscreen. For short emails, text messages, and tweets – fine, it’s no big deal. But, anything longer? Sorry, I need to wait until I’m at my laptop or desktop keyboard. If Clicks replicates those experiences, I don’t care how big the case is.

Clicks keyboard case

Yes, Clicks makes your iPhone much bigger to carry around. But, that’s not the problem.
Credit: Mashable

So, I was excited to meet with the Clicks team and actually get some hands-on time with Clicks.

Reader, let me tell you, I wanted to like Clicks so much. The idea is there. The team behind it gets all the needs for a physical keyboard for your iPhone. But, the execution…it’s just way off.

The Good

But, first, what I liked about Clicks, the iPhone case with a built-in physical keyboard. My favorite thing about the case is that it frees up space on your iPhone screen. When you put Clicks on your iPhone, the touchscreen keyboard disappears. Your device registers there’s a physical keyboard plugged in, so the touchscreen keyboard doesn’t show up. If you’re livestreaming and need extra room to interact with your viewers in the livechat, that extra screen real estate is huge. Same goes for if you’re trying to write a long document, note, or journal entry on your iPhone. This is easily Clicks’ best feature.

The case also brings keyboard shortcuts to your iPhone. For example, just tap the space bar over and over to scroll down a page. Talk-to-text is just one always-visible physical keyboard click away. Clicks is also easy to slide on and off your iPhone, so if a user didn’t want the case on all the time, it doesn’t have to be.

The Bad

But, here’s the negatives – and it’s a big one – the keyboard itself is just bad.

If the point of a physical keyboard for the iPhone is to avoid the perils of a touchscreen, like accidentally tapping the wrong key, Clicks doesn’t seem to solve that. I was constantly tapping the wrong keys during my hands-on experience. In fact, I was doing even worse than when using the iPhone touchscreen keyboard. The physical keys are just so close together, I was pressing on multiple keys at once at times.

Furthermore, the physical keyboard just doesn’t feel like the keyboard I was expecting. The keys are soft and don’t really physically push down all that much. There’s no satisfying sounding “click” when tapping a key on a keyboard called Clicks!

The Clicks team explained to me that the physical keyboard does take some people time to get used to. My time with the keyboard wasn’t that long and there are people who excel at typing on the iPhone touchscreen, so I can certainly believe that there are some users who would get the hang of the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro version of the Clicks case after a little while.

Clicks keyboard case

It was difficult to type with Clicks.
Credit: Mashable

The team recommended I try out the larger Clicks case for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The keys are slightly more spread apart on that version of the case, so maybe I’d find it easier to use. Unfortunately, the iPhone 15 Pro Max case was even worse. In fact, I found it downright unusable.

When testing out the Clicks case for iPhone 15 Pro Max, I could barely even use the keyboard. Why? The physical keyboard is located all the way at the bottom of the case. So, when you have both hands holding the keyboard so you can type, the entire device feels like it’s about to flip over and fall out of your hand due to the weight of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Clicks does not seem to have considered the weight distribution of the case for the largest iPhone model.

Just give me a portable mechanical keyboard

Overall, I was disappointed in the Clicks keyboard case. And that may be an understatement because I wanted to love it. The best things about the device, like the extra screen space, are all secondary benefits. The main selling point – the physical keyboard – is a let down.

Most of the criticisms about the case from those who have yet to try it all focus on the size: It’s too big! I disagree. If a physical keyboard for the iPhone replicates the experience of typing at my desktop, I don’t care how big it is. Give me a full blown mechanical keyboard for the iPhone! 

Instead, it feels like Clicks took the naysayers’ critiques to heart and tried to give us a physical keyboard for the iPhone in the most compact size possible. By doing so, it solved none of the biggest problems that people have with the touchscreen keyboard. It’s either that or my hands are just too big.

Clicks for iPhone 14 Pro starts shipping next month, with the iPhone 15 Pro model coming out in March, and the Phone 15 Pro Max version launching in the Spring.

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