Hybrid models abound in the world of Windows tablets, but Apple is content to produce single-purpose laptops and iPads that remain, quite firmly, iPads. Enter the CruxENCORE case to fill this niche for the iPad Air. A combination of Crux’s two previous cases for the iPad 2/3/4 models, the CruxENCORE combines a laptop-style keyboard case and a 360º flip case for tablet use.
Recently launched for funding on Kickstarter, there’s still time to back the project if you’re looking to use your Air more seriously than the onscreen keyboard allows.
Case It and Flip It
The CruxENCORE provides a wraparound polycarbonate and aluminum rear shell for your iPad Air, with cutouts for the speakers/Lighting connector, volume/lock buttons, and camera. The case itself is made of an anodized aluminum with polycarbonate, contrasting color trim along the edges; the end result is something like a svelte Panasonic Toughbook.
The ENCORE’s hinge has a self-locking closure mechanism designed to keep it securely stowed when not in use, so the bottom half of the case protects the screen. The extremely rigid hinge and weighting of the case provide enough heft to keep the keyboard firmly placed on the ground—the ENCORE won’t tip over if you tilt the screen back too far.
On the inside there’s a Bluetooth keyboard with a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth 4.0 for very low power draw. Power comes from a built in rechargeable battery, and the posted specs state it’ll last for a month; given the use of the Bluetooth LE standard, that seems plausible. When you’re done typing and just need your iPad, you can continue to swivel the screen all the way around and stow the keyboard conveniently out back, where it remains until you swivel the case back around to shut it.
Most of the early Pledge Levels have already closed, but there are still some very attractive options that get you one of the CruxENCORE cases for significantly less than its eventual retail price of $199. Most of the pledge levels are limited to a specific number of backers, but at the time of writing you could still back the project at $89 and receive your choice of a CruxEncore in any one of the available colors. Once that level is full, you can pledge $99, $109, or $119 and still get an ENCORE, just for less of a discount. Moral of the story: pledge early.
If you’re interested in the ENCORE but want something a little different, Crux is also offering a special magnesium edition the case. If you’re a fan of the matte black metal aesthetic in use on Microsoft’s Surface tablets, this case is the one for you.
Head over to Crux’s Kickstarter page for all the details and to make a pledge.