Cri­cut Ex­plore Air

Sim­ply a cut above the rest in the world of home craft gad­gets

Mac Format - - RATED - Man­u­fac­turer Cri­cut, uk.cri­ OS X 10.9 or higher Max­i­mum size 12x12 inches pa­per, card, vinyl, fab­ric, poster board Bril­liant re­sults, and fast!

Pa­per­craft and textile arts at home are a mas­sive mar­ket. But if you thought the joy came from painstak­ingly draw­ing and cut­ting things man­u­ally, this gad­get will change your mind. We gave top marks to the orig­i­nal model (see MF275), a draw­ing and cut­ting ma­chine mas­querad­ing as a printer.

Be­tween the dif­fer­ent pa­per stocks, vinyl, poster board, iron-on ma­te­ri­als and even fab­rics, Cri­cut reck­ons the Ex­plore Air can deal with around 60 ma­te­ri­als. That’s sim­ply stag­ger­ing for a home table­top de­vice that looks like it could just about man­age a few slices here and there to make a ba­sic birth­day card. The in­tri­cacy that the Cri­cut can han­dle is clear when you down­load a com­plex de­sign from the hun­dreds avail­able in Cri­cut De­sign Space. That app, and the ad­di­tion of Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity in this model, make the Ex­plore a win­ner once again.

Ex­plore Air per­forms its magic with a two-part com­part­ment that holds a pen on one side and houses the cut­ting blade on the other. There’s an op­tional ‘deep cut’ blade for deal­ing with tougher ma­te­ri­als too. For pa­per and card you use the supplied cut­ting mat, which has a sticky sur­face to hold your ma­te­rial in place. When us­ing the iOS app to de­sign, pat­terns that use mul­ti­ple colours are sim­ply di­vided into steps, and you’re prompted when you need to swap in dif­fer­ent ma­te­rial. The Ex­plore Air is sim­ple to use and makes lovely look­ing things. Chris­tian Hall

Hobby crafters will love it, but it could easily get any­one ad­dicted to, well, pretty much any home craft!

The Ex­plore Air looks like a reg­u­lar printer, but it en­ables very dif­fer­ent and wild cre­ativ­ity.

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