If you long for a proper keyboard to type on instead of the iPad 2’s virtual QWERTY when you’re on the move, Crux manufactures this accessory to offer a laptop experience with your tablet (and more besides).
The device itself is fashioned from plastic, and although the base of the unit feels very solid, the lid is a tad flimsier. The top section of the lid can be removed, allowing you to slide your iPad 2 inside, before sealing it in situ. It’s a snug fit for the iPad 2, and once ensconced in the unit, all you need to do is pair the tablet up to the 360’s bluetooth keyboard.
That’s simply a matter of making sure your iPad 2’s bluetooth is turned on under settings, and holding down a button on the 360. A few seconds later, you can tap away on the keyboard and enjoy a proper typing experience on Apple’s tablet.
The biggest drawback of Crux’s invention is that the keys are rather small. Not unusably tiny, fortunately, but small and closely packed enough that typing feels a touch claustrophobic. We could still type at a reasonable speed, but made a few more mistakes than we would on a normal sized laptop keyboard.
Of course, the device’s form factor had to fit the iPad, so there’s a limit to the space Crux could work with to fit the keyboard in. On a more positive note, Crux has made sure the shift and return keys are big enough, and also added a bank of shortcut keys for common iPad functions such as search, copy and paste.
Crux’s 360 is more than a laptop emulator, too. The hinge can be folded over backwards through 270 degrees, so the device can be used as a stand for your tablet when watching movies. Or you can fold it a full 360 degrees around – hence the “360” name – so the tablet is flat to the back of the keyboard, to use it normally but with the case providing extra protection. Naturally you can also close the clamshell case and keep the iPad’s screen safe when you’re out and about.
In the box with the 360, Crux also provides a cloth carrying bag, and a USB charger for juicing up the bluetooth keyboard’s battery.
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- An effective laptop conversion; can also be used as a stand for film watching.
- A bit pricey; small keys leave little margin for typing error.
The Crux 360 is quite a useful little gadget. It doesn’t just transform your iPad 2 into a notebook, it can also be used as a stand for viewing movies, and a carry case. The keyboard is a little cramped, though, and the 360 is a touch pricey at close to a hundred quid.