For iPad 2 owners looking on at the Asus Eee Pad Transformer‘s clever laptop dock in envy, Crux is bringing its Crux Loaded case to the second-generation iOS tablet to enable the same functionality. Like the keyboard accessory for the Android Honeycomb Transformer, the Crux Loaded case adds a keyboard, touchpad, and battery to give your iPad an additional 7.5 hours to the already long 10-hour computing time on the tablet itself.
The upside is that the case differentiates itself from other keyboard accessories for the iPad/iPad 2 by integrating the touchpad, which makes it easier to navigate the tablet UI when using the keyboard as you won’t need to extend your arm every time you need to select something or tap on something. Now, like a traditional netbook, notebook, or smartbook, you can reach your thumb down from the keyboard position and maneuver the touchpad.
The downside is that the case is expensive, and comes at a $100 premium over the Asus-made Eee Pad Transformer dock. While the Eee Pad Transformer’s keyboard dock, which offers similar functionality, costs $150, the Crux case is priced at $250 when it launches this Fall.
Another difference between the Crux case and the Eee Pad transformer keyboard is that the Crux case provides protection for the iPad 2’s rear side as it slides into a compartment which houses the tablet to convert the iPad 2 into the netbook screen when docked. The iPad 2 connects to the 30-pin dock connector inside that housing. On the Eee Pad Transformer, the way the tablet docks is through a hinge, so the tablet screen is the lid to the laptop. When you carry the docked Eee Pad Transformer around, the backside will be exposed and there is no protection there.
Connectivity may be another different, in addition to pricing, for those eying tablets with hybrid form factor utility as the iPad comes with 3G connectivity as an option while the Asus-made tablet is a WiFi-only model. That said, the Asus dock can be used to add a memory card and comes with USB ports. Moreover, Android supports Flash whereas iOS doesn’t.