There are many people that roll their eyes when iPad and other tablet owners pair a physical Bluetooth keyboard with their device instead of using the onscreen keyboard. They say why don’t you just buy a laptop if you want a real keyboard… I say there’s nothing wrong with having the option to trick out your iPad the way you want and the Crux Case Crux360 iPad 2 Keyboard Case will definitely turn your device into a laptop. At least in looks. Let’s check it out.
Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.
Unlike other iPad keyboard cases on the market, the Crux360 really turns your iPad into a clamshell style device that would have most people convinced that you’re using a laptop computer instead of the popular iOS tablet.
The Crux360 is constructed of hard plastic with a rubberized coating. It has a sturdy hinge with the keyboard on one side and the iPad 2 (Crux offers a Crux360 for the original iPad too) holder on the opposite side. The iPad slides into this hard plastic holder in landscape orientation. To complete the look, there’s a plastic ‘cap’ that covers the rest of the iPad.
Once the iPad is snuggly situated in the holder, you can see that there are openings for the various features.
On the Right side there is an opening for the docking / charge connector and one of the speaker grills. I’m not sure why the 2nd speaker remains covered, but I haven’t really noticed a problem with hearing audio while the iPad is housed in this case.
As you can see from the image above, you can still access the Volume controls, orientation lock, camera, wake / idle / power button and earphone jack.
The hinge on the Crux360 is very sturdy. I’ve been using this keyboard for a few weeks now and haven’t noticed any problems with it loosening up.
The special hinge will allow you to orient the screen in various positions. From completely flat (not sure why anyone would want to use it this way)…
To 270 degrees so that you can use the Crux as a stand for more convenient movie watching.
It an even opens a full 360 degrees so that you can use your iPad in tablet mode. Bulky tablet mode though… The case and iPad weigh in at 3 lbs on my digital scale.
This case works like smartcover in that the iPad 2 will power on or off when the case is opened or closed.
Before you can begin using the Crux360, you’ll need to charge it using the include micro USB connector. When charging is completed, you can then pair the keyboard with your iPad in the same way you would pair any Bluetooth accessory. This is just a one time deal, once paired, you’ll not have to do it again as the iPad and keyboard will remember your settings.
The Crux360 keys are pretty flat, but comfortable to type on. I’m a touch typist, so some of my complaints come from that mindset. Those of you that are hunt and peck style typers probably won’t care about my complaints, so keep that in mind. I really only have one major complaint and a couple little ones.
Let’s get my main complaint out of the way first. It’s the spacebar. It seems that it only registers my presses 50% of the time. It’s a pain to have to back up to fix the problem.
The other thing I don’t like about the keyboard is that I sometimes end up accidentally pressing the up arrow key instead of one of the 2 shift keys on the Right side. Which makes me ask the question.. Why do we need 2 Right shift keys? And why do we need a small Enter key next to a large Return key? Strange huh?
I do like the top row of function keys that do things like go to the Home screen, toggle the onscreen keyboard, start slideshow mode, turn off the display, Copy/Paste/Cut, Music and speaker controls and Screen lock. There’s also a globe button that I thought would bring up the Safari browser, but it doesn’t appear to do anything at all.
I should also mention (complain about) that the arrow keys don’t do anything when you’re in the browser. They scroll up and down in the notes app, but in the browser, these keys appear to be dead.
Of the various keyboards that I’ve tried so far with the iPad, I’d have to say that I do like the Crux Case Crux360 best due to the fact that it creates a self-contained laptop like unit. That said, I think it needs a bit of work to fix the space bar issue and potentially address the keyboard layout problem with the shift and arrow keys.
I like this product, but I do feel if you buy it to use all the time, it would seem that a regular laptop or netbook might be the better choice. For occasional use, it seems fine though. What do you think? Do you use a keyboard case like the Crux360 all the time, or just on occasion?