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Crux360 keyboard case for the new iPad ships May 12th, preorder now for $150

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Looking to grab a keyboard case for those heavy typing duties on your new iPad? CruxCase has revealed the latest version of its Crux360 built for the most recent Apple slate with some new features to boot. First, the clamshell now features a snap in front design that allows for quick access when the case isn’t needed. There is also a “window cover” that now fully protects the rear panel of the iPad; however, if you really want to show off that Apple logo, the cover can easily be removed to do so. Connecting should be quick and easy too, as this model’s power and Bluetooth buttons are one touch instead of the usual press-and-hold type deal. Magnets keep the folding kit shut — preventing the case from opening up and exposing that precious Retina display to potential hazards. Keep in mind: the Crux360 features a hinge that allows you to rotate your slate all the way back on the keyboard for regular ol’ tablet mode and everything in between. Need a bit more info before dropping your $150 on one? Hit the source link below, where you can preorder a unit for before the May 12th ship date.

Gallery: Crux360 for the new iPad

[Thanks, Brian]

Crux360 keyboard case for the new iPad ships May 12th, preorder now for $150 originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 21 Mar 2012 19:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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RIM reveals new $120 PlayBook keyboard case [video]

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Following the much delayed BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 update, the tablet finally has a native email client, other PIM apps and a larger selection of apps thanks to its Android player. Research in Motion is now looking to further boost interest in its debut slate, and it has announced the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard for those users looking for a physical keypad option on top of the virtual one. The accessory retails for a lofty $119.99 and is available for pre-order starting today, with shipments going out on March 23rd. The concept of the keyboard is similar to the competition. It includes a multitouch trackpad for browsing, a keyboard for easy input and a battery that last up to 30 days. Unlike the ASUS Transformer Prime, RIM’s accessory does not have a docking feature and is just a carrying case with an integrated Bluetooth keyboard. RIM’s video demonstation follows below.

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Crux360 iPad 2 keyboard case review

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Yeah… we know. At this point you’re probably clutching your funds tightly, eagerly anticipating the release of the iPad 3. But for those of you who recently purchased version 2.0, or perhaps just discovered your need for a Bluetooth keyboard, allow us to shed some light on the Crux360. Sure this isn’t the first one of these we’ve seen, but the full range of motion in the hinge makes this a nice accessory for your Apple slate. We spent a couple weeks putting it through the ringer, so read on past the break to see what we discovered.

Continue reading Crux360 iPad 2 keyboard case review

Crux360 iPad 2 keyboard case review originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 02 Sep 2011 13:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and Keyboard Folio case hands-on (video)

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Two Lenovo tablets in the same evening? Nah, it’s not the midsummer sun melting your cerebrum, but the same result just might happen after you ingest this one. True to rumors, the ThinkPad Tablet (yeah, that’s seriously the whole name) will indeed be shipping with a full-size USB port and an optional dedicated folio / case, and oddly enough, it’s that very peripheral that could set this unit apart from the masses. While it’s obviously no big chore to find a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard folio for the iPad, you probably won’t find a perfectly matching case with a tried-and-true Lenovo keyboard and a newfangled optical trackpad unless you’re ponying up for this guy. Internally, we’re looking at the same 1GHz Tegra 2 silicon as found in the more consumery IdeaPad K1, a 10.1-inch (1280 x 800) IPS display, a battery good for up to 8.7 hours of use, 1GB of RAM, 16/32/64GB of storage, 3-in-1 card reader, A-GPS, an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, front (2MP) / rear (5MP) cameras, a mini HDMI port (1080p capable!) and Lenovo’s own app launcher / app market.

In our discussions with Lenovo, it was made fairly clear that this guy was being aimed more at companies and less at consumers, but there’s absolutely nothing stopping the latter from enjoying a solid Honeycomb experience here. In fact, the ability to plug in a common mouse or trackpad (or combo device, for that matter) makes it far more useful than many of the ultraslim slates it’ll inevitably go up against. Also unique to the Tablet is a built-in active stylus, which is tailor-made to jot down highly important information cartoons in the company’s homegrown note-taking program.

The full-size USB port also puts it squarely in Eee Transformer territory, with the Keyboard Folio shown above making perfect use of it. In practice, the accessory worked beautifully, and while the $99 price tag may seem a bit steep, it’s not exactly cheap to go out and get a third-party case, keyboard and mouse. The company’s demanding $499 (and up) for it’s Android 3.1-based biz slate, with initial shipments starting today. Peek the hands-on video just after the break!

Continue reading Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and Keyboard Folio case hands-on (video)

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and Keyboard Folio case hands-on (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 20 Jul 2011 00:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ClamCase for iPad 2 is a little lighter, suited for picture taking and $149

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Just in case you bought an iPad 2 but really needed a netbook, ClamCase is back with a redesigned version of its case / battery powered Bluetooth QWERTY keyboard combo. This one is a hair thinner and a little lighter than the previous version (reviewed here), with cutouts for the back camera and speaker grille plus integrated magnets to awake and sleep your tablet when the case is opened or closed. The keyboard has also reportedly been refreshed for an improved feel, but even though the black version is on sale now for $149 (white ships next month) there’s still a 4-5 week wait for shipping to get a hands-on and find out for yourself. Logitech’s Keyboard Case for iPad 2 is another option for $100, but it will only protect your precious slab on one side — something to consider while you’re checking out specs.

Continue reading ClamCase for iPad 2 is a little lighter, suited for picture taking and $149

ClamCase for iPad 2 is a little lighter, suited for picture taking and $149 originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 21 Jun 2011 06:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Keyboard Buddy case transforms your iPhone 4 into an iPhone Pro

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Here at BGR, we constantly get emails from readers looking for help with their gadget buying decisions. While I wish we had time to address each of our readers individually, this unfortunately isn’t the case. One of the more common lines of questioning comes from readers wanting to switch from BlackBerry smartphones to the iPhone, and today I’m going to pose a solution they may find useful. To this group of readers, the idea of moving from RIM’s amazing physical keypad to a device that only offers a virtual keyboard is often the biggest hurdle. We like to think we know a thing or two about cell phones here at BGR, but of course we can’t presume to know how each of our readers might fare when moving from a physical to virtual keyboard. What we do know, however, is that there are options out there that might help make the transition as smooth as possible — and one such option is the Keyboard Buddy case from Boxwave.

Let’s get physical, physical

The “iPhone Pro” has become something of a white whale in the gadget world. While millions of people are perfectly happy with Apple’s on-screen virtual keyboard, many still yearn for the tactile response only a physical keypad can afford. Apple has stated in the past that it sees no point in slapping a hardware QWERTY onto the iPhone, but the company flip-flops more than a fish out of water when it comes to iOS products, so its prior claim that physical keyboards are unnecessary on mobile phones is inconsequential. In fact, Apple is even said to be testing an iPhone model with a hardware keypad at the moment, though well placed sources insist that we won’t see any such phone from Apple in 2011.

I’m on the fence, myself. I’ve grown quite fond of Apple’s virtual board and can likely tap out an email just as fast on an iPhone as I can on any physical QWERTY-equipped phone on the market today. But speed is only half of the equation. I still love the feel of RIM’s BlackBerry keypads, and years of typing on a computer keyboard results in an inherent desire to feel keys depress as I poke at them. As such, you can imagine my reaction when Boxwave reached out and asked me if I wanted a Keyboard Buddy iPhone case to review. A slide-out QWERTY for my iPhone? Count me in.

Design on a dime

Boxwave’s Bluetooth Keyboard Buddy case for the iPhone 4 sports an interesting design. Rather than taking the expected route and making a case that might create a seamless look, Boxwave designed the case to look like two completely separate pieces. The keyboard-equipped piece on the bottom tapers gradually and includes a plastic bezel painted silver. The top portion that encases the iPhone is slightly tapered as well, however, so instead of creating two joined pieces that form a continuous line, the Keyboard Buddy makes it look like the iPhone 4 is sitting on a platter. Odd indeed, but after a while it didn’t really bother me.

The construction of Boxwave’s QWERTY case is quite solid. The case maker opted to go with a rubber coating as opposed to a hard plastic, and the decision was a wise one. The case feels good in the hand and the rubberized exterior provides much needed grip — but I’ll get to that later. The top portion of the case holds the iPhone very securely. In fact, there is no play whatsoever and it even takes a fair amount of effort to remove the iPhone from the Keyboard Buddy. Overall, the case is also fairly slim considering it packs a QWERTY, though it is significantly thicker than most modern sliders, as can be seen above.

One issue I have with regard to the design of the case is Boxwave’s decision to use a mini-USB port for charging instead of a micro-USB port, which is essentially an industry standard at this point. It’s not a huge deal on the surface, but it means users now have to carry yet another charger instead of having an existing charger pull double duty. Of course nothing is more ridiculous than the proprietary dock connector Apple still insists on using, so I suppose it’s only fitting that Boxwave would opt for a less conventional route.

My other main issue is weight. Boxwave’s Keyboard Buddy case is nice and light on its own, but when paired with the glass and metal iPhone 4, the combo is a bit on the hefty side. It’s not so heavy that it is uncomfortable to carry around in a pants pocket — the real problem arises when it comes time to tap out messages on the keyboard.

Slip sliding away

As I mentioned, the case itself is very light. The iPhone on the other hand, is quite hefty. This means that when the Keyboard Buddy is slid open, it’s very top-heavy. We’re talking Dolly Parton, here.

This was done out of necessity, of course. The iPhone itself is so heavy that if Boxwave had tried to balance its keyboard well, the result would have been entirely too heavy to be usable. Instead, it had to go light, which means the user has to employ an extra firm grip lest the iPhone topple over and fall out of the user’s hands. The rubber finish helps a great deal in this area, but it’s still not the same as using a true QWERTY slider. This also creates a bit of a challenge when one hand has to let go of the device, say, to tap a character while the other hand is holding down the shift key or function key. The remaining hand has to hold the keyboard extra tight, and I almost dropped my phone on two occasions in this scenario.

Tap Tap Revenge

The keyboard itself is good but not great. This is somewhat disheartening news considering we’re now talking about the accessory’s main attraction. Luckily, my concerns boil down to personal preference for the most part, so all may not be lost.

The feel of the keyboard is not the problem for me. Boxwave’s keys have a decent enough feel to them and they provide good tactile response. They also emit a nice click sound with each tap, providing the auditory feedback one would expect in addition to tactile feedback. My problem with the keypad, however, is the layout. The Keyboard Buddy case sports a Nokia-like layout that positions keys in aligned columns rather than staggering them as a keyboard should. It also positions the space key off to the right instead of in the center of the board, which is something that should never, ever be done. There are plenty of people who won’t mind the peculiar placement of the space key, however, so this is hardly a deal breaker in many cases.

Beyond that, this is a Bluetooth keyboard and the iPhone treats it as such. By that, I mean typing with the Keyboard Buddy is like typing with a full-sized keyboard rather than a typical QWERTY keypad on a mobile phone. So, for example, a double-tap on the space key will not create a period and a space. The first letter of each new sentence will not automatically be capitalized. The shift key must be held down while a letter is pressed in order to capitalize it — tapping each key successively won’t work. And so on.

There are a few things I really like about the keyboard, though — most notably, the fact that it includes a few specialized buttons for iOS. The top left button imitates the iPhone’s home button, allowing users to close apps with a single tap or open the task manager with a double-tap. Then, the top right button is a dedicated Spotlight key, which will open Spotlight search from any screen. This is a great feature for those who use Spotlight often, though it is a bit odd to type in Spotlight using a landscape QWERTY when the display remains in portrait. Finally, tapping the function key and the space button will open and close the iPhone’s virtual keypad, which is hidden by default when a Bluetooth keyboard is connected to the device.

The bottom line

Boxwave’s Keyboard Buddy case definitely isn’t perfect, but what is? There are clear pros and cons, and then there are a few quirks that some will loathe and others won’t mind in the least. Luckily for everyone, Boxwave is a stand-up company with a 100% customer satisfaction policy that includes a 30-day window for returns. If an iPhone 4 with a slide-out QWERTY keypad sounds like something that might float your boat, the most you have to lose is shipping if it turns out you don’t like Boxwave’s offering. And if my aforementioned complaints haven’t scared you off yet, I think there’s a good chance you’ll like the product. Battery life is outstanding (Boxwave’s site claims 45 days; mine has been going for a week so far on a single charge), the case has a good feel to it… and, of course, it adds a physical QWERTY keypad to your iPhone 4.

The Keyboard Buddy case is available immediately directly from Boxwave’s website for $69.95 with free shipping within the U.S.

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Clamcase iPad keyboard case / stand now on sale, ships January 2011

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Surely you haven’t forgotten about Clamcase! Merely 14 hours after Apple introduced the iPad, someone on Clamcase’s staff filed a patent application for the device you’re peering at above. Between then and now, a smattering of iPad keyboard cases have come to light, but quite a few folks have apparently been waiting for the original to materialize. This week, the company opened up the pre-order hotline for the device, hawking it for the not-exactly-bargain-bin price of $119. It’s available in any color you want, so long as it’s black, and if all goes well it’ll hit the shipping docks next month. It’s definitely the nicest of the bunch based on pictures alone, and it’s not like it’ll have to try awfully hard to beat the rivals that have already let us down. So, what’s it going to be? You in for one?

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Continue reading Clamcase iPad keyboard case / stand now on sale, ships January 2011

Clamcase iPad keyboard case / stand now on sale, ships January 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 21 Dec 2010 11:38:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple’s iPad keyboard dock, case and other accessories get the hands-on treatment

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Apple didn’t give us a great amount of time with its newly unveiled iPad today, and as you’ve likely seen, we spent the bulk of our allotment touching the unit itself. Lost in the proverbial shuffle were a number of the unit’s launch accessories, including the admittedly intriguing keyboard dock ($69), case ($39), iPad Dock Connector to VGA adapter ($29) and camera connection kit ($29). Each of these doodads seem to look and feel exactly as you’d expect ‘em to, though we’re still baffled by Apple’s decision to make you pay extra for access to the world’s most widely accepted connector. We’re also somewhat appalled (but not surprised) by the $39 price tag purportedly attached to the stripped-down case, and while the $69 MSRP on the keyboard dock is apt to cause some grumbling, at least there are a few iPad-specific keys on there to make it (marginally) worth your while. Dig in below for more on each.

Read – iPad keyboard dock hands-on
Read – iPad case hands-on
Read – iPad Dock Connector to VGA adapter hands-on
Read – iPad camera connection kit hands-on

Apple’s iPad keyboard dock, case and other accessories get the hands-on treatment originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 28 Jan 2010 00:22:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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