Model: Crux360 Delta
Compatible: iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)
CruxCase Crux360 Delta for iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)
CruxCase's Crux360 keyboard case had definite potential -- a somewhat cramped but good keyboard, paired with an iPad case that had some serious issues, resulting in a C- rating. Not only did the iPad 2 holder leave much of the aluminum back and the Apple logo exposed, but we also found that the all but imperceptible addition of protective screen film caused an iPad to get seriously stuck inside. Beyond that, Crux360's price was also well above that of competitors. Thankfully, CruxCase has released an updated version for the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad called Crux360 Delta ($99), which addresses many of the prior model's issues, and fixes some of them.
The basic structure of Delta is essentially the same as the previous version (see our detailed review here): it’s a black plastic clamshell-style case that is made to mimic a laptop. CruxCase made no obvious changes to the bottom half of the case other than the addition of a sticker with regulatory information. The actual keyboard is the same, so the keys are still on the small side, but usable. Powering and pairing has supposedly been made easier and quicker in the new version, although we didn’t see any significant difference. As before, the case offers a range of different positions including laptop, movie, tablet, and carry modes; there’s also a rechargeable battery built in with an included USB cable for refueling, though no promises are made as to battery life.
CruxCase did make big changes to the iPad holder, and we see them as definite improvements. Now instead of a slider-style holder, it has a snap-in design, so you simply slide the right edge of the tablet under the frame and press down on the left edge until it snaps in place. Delta holds the iPad firmly, yet removal is pretty easy, a nice improvement over the original version. The gaping hole in the back is still there, but covered by default with a matching piece of plastic that’s held in place inside the case with black tape. Users can choose whether they’d rather keep the aluminum protected or not, although the decision may be a challenge to reverse—if you pull the tape off, the adhesive may not stand up to repeated swaps.
Crux360 Delta still has some issues that prevent it from earning a high recommendation, mainly due to the size; it’s heavier and thicker than other keyboard cases for the iPad, and though it’s possible to type on the keyboard without huge issues, it’s not the best we’ve tested, with netbook-style cramped keys. That said, the company made some real improvements, and the $99 price level is far more attractive than the prior version’s $149. Customers who want a laptop-like design will be satisfied with Crux360 Delta; it’s good enough to be worthy of our general recommendation. We’re anxious to see what CruxCase does with future iterations.