Crux Case Crux360 iPad 2 Keyboard Case Review

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?

 

Product Information

Price:$149.00
Manufacturer:Crux Case
Pros:
  • Turns your iPad into a laptop
  • Ability to orient the display in various ways
  • Comfortable keyboard
Cons:
  • Bulky
  • Key layout can cause some mistyped keys for experienced touch typists
  • spacebar press doesn't always register
  • Arrow keys don't scroll in Safari
Posted in: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Reviews

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Thegadgetman January 18, 2012, 1:33 am

    I have a case from the ces2012 booth. Unfortunately the unit fails to get in Bluetooth mode and thus cannot pair. The charging light lights up when charging. No support nor additional manual files can be found on the Cruxcase website

    1
  • Julie January 18, 2012, 7:18 am

    @Thegadgetman what do the people at Crux have to say?

    2
  • Adam Howard January 20, 2012, 2:15 pm

    I am a brand new Crux360 for iPad 2 owner. I have to say I am a little let down by the lack of ease in getting the pad in and out! I know the instruction guide says it fits in very snug and takes “extra hands” but I use my iPad for many different purposes with various holders and cases. I am not interested in getting up on my desk with my hands and knees every time I need to switch accessories! :) And forget about having a screen protector on. I trashed my ZAGG protector in the first 20 seconds of trying to insert the iPad. Am I alone in this?

    3
  • Julie January 20, 2012, 2:24 pm

    @Adam unfortunately, that’s just the nature of this particular product…

    4
  • maria March 13, 2012, 9:27 am

    Julie, the globe key is for switching between input languages. Very unfortunate position for those of us who are multilingual. Not convenient at all.

    5
  • Kevin May 1, 2012, 6:05 pm

    Crux360 is known for their over engineered and heavy duty construction. They are also known for great quality and a leader in the iPad Bluetooth keyboard case combo options.

    CONS: Tight fit, price,

    PROS: Durability, function, design.

    I personally like my laptop better for programs that require a lot of typing.

    Most expensive I’ve seen the Crux360 is $179. Cheapest is $94. at Versiomobile.com

    6
  • Doug Brown May 31, 2012, 7:33 pm

    Has anyone had problems connecting a camera to the iPad 2 with the Crux Keyboard? The Apple iPad camera connector will not fit into the port once the keyboard cover is installed.

    7
  • Trisha Fink June 23, 2012, 6:43 pm

    Crux 360 Ipad 2
    I love this keyboard and use it quite frequently. Unfortunately 1 month into it it just stopped working, no reset no dramage. I contact crux and immediately sent mine back and received a new one. Again worked for 1 1.5mos and now same thing. Has never been dropped/damaged/wet. Appears to charge but the on/off red light does not come on and the blue tooth light does not work, reset does not work. Anyone have any thoughts? thanks
    Trisha

    8
  • Christine Gofron June 28, 2012, 10:58 am

    I just purchased the iPad2 case and haven’t received it yet (bought directly from Crux for $99). As a graphic designer, I’ve been issued a laptop at work that is considered a “desktop laptop” – the thing is powerful and awesome, but really heavy. I got this to bring into meetings instead of lugging that laptop around.

    Interesting feedback on the case – looking forward to seeing how this works. Myrna at CruxCase has been a wonderful person to talk to, answered a lot of questions and was very kind and professional. I’d first considered the case with the touch pad – $150 more than the one I got and she gave an honest opinion about it. She said it’s not beneficial to most users and most people will still touch the screen to navigate as it’s quicker and more habitual for the user. I appreciated an honest sales person who just wasn’t looking to sell a higher priced product.

    So far customer service has been wonderful. Now I’ll see about the product.

    Thank you to Julie at Gadgeteer and all those who provided comments/feedback. It’s helpful to know what to watch for. It’s unfortunate that the globe key won’t launch a browser (as it does on ALL keyboards that have one), but we’ll see how this goes!!

    Question – has anyone purchased one with a touch pad? As stated, I didn’t get that one, I’m just curious if it’s actually something that’s used effectively or if it’s not worth the extra cost.

    Christine

    9
  • Vox August 24, 2012, 10:05 am

    Trisha; same problem here.

    10
  • RevDan April 15, 2013, 1:39 am

    I purchased my Crux iPad2 keyboard because it looked to be a very durable case; however, after the very short time I’ve owned it the “G” and “H” keys no longer work, closing the case no longer shuts off the iPad, and I just noticed the area that covers both hinges (on the outside of the cover) have cracked and fallen away revealing both hinges.
    I can’t return the unit because the merchant where I purchased it no longer exists. I am a Christian Minister and do not use my iPad & Cruz case in a rough or abusive manner; therefore I have not placed the item under extreme conditions warranting the unexpected wear and tear.

    I am hoping the aforementioned issues are the result of a defective unit. I recently heard that the manufacturer does honor the warranty (does not respond to request for replacement or refunds).

    11
  • Doug Brown April 15, 2013, 9:49 am

    RevDan: just thought id let you and others know I also have cracks around the hinges. After noticing chips of the casing were falling into my briefcase, I covered the hinges with duct tape. It’s at least holding the case together (so far)…..

    12
  • Invatech June 12, 2013, 7:54 pm

    We were one of the original funders of crux case. We finally received our alumunum case after many months. We were totally disatisified with the product. It is much too heavey, the case doesn’t close all the way and it is UGLY when the ipad is inserted.

    We contacted Crux case and requested return authorization. We were advised basically that we were out of luck since as funders, we were not able to return the product. Nice customer satisfaction support ! Good luck bilking other funders – you will not get us twice!

    13

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