Flic Smart Button
About a week ago, Newzik sent out a mailing that mentioned the Flic, a Bluetooth button that could be used to turn pages. They offered a discount, and it was relatively inexpensive, so I ordered one (this was not a demo or discounted unit, other than the “normal” Newzik discount code). It arrived today and I have been using it with forScore and Newzik.
The idea of a small button for page turning is a great idea. Some people can’t reach a screen easily from a sitting position, but could mount a small button on their instrument which would allow them to change pages. In some cases, a foot pedal isn’t ideal. The Flic is a small button with the option of a sticky back or a plastic clip–not much smaller than my college ring (which appears to need some repair!).
The Flic came in a small, Apple-like box, packaged in a box that could easily hold five of the devices. There are several versions of the Flic, including dedicated buttons that have a non-replaceable battery, as well as models that have replaceable batteries with limitless functions (programmable via the app). The button can be programmed for all kinds of uses (provided that the app has a relationship with the app). You can also program different functions for a press, couple press, or press and hold.
This all sounds great, but as I use the device, I’m disappointed. First, the Flic app allows you to set up your button (and you have to register an account), but then the app must remain running in the background while you use other features to keep working. In other words, the Flic is a “dumb button” that triggers the app, that then triggers your music reading app. When you are used to instantaneous page turns by hand, AirTurn, PageFlip, or iRig device–the delay caused by the Flic seems too long. I didn’t officially time it, but it seems to be a full second or longer for a page turn…which is two quarter notes at 120 bpm.
Additionally, I have forScore customized for my quad pedal PageFlip Dragonfly. The Flic app only allows a couple of forScore mappings, which do not match with the mappings on my Dragonfly…and in fact, all that is available is forward page turn (right arrow) and backwards page turn (left arrow), leaving no option for the third feature of the Flic (press and hold).
I think if the Flic itself could send out the command, instead of relying on the app, the experience would be better. In my ideal world, the Flic app would store data (it can’t require much memory) on the Flic button, which would then send out the commands on its own. So, the flexibility of the Flic app is powerful–but in function it causes a significant delay–enough to make you worry about each page turn.
As the Flic button also requires features in the app, it cannot trigger events like Keynote slides, which could also be useful.
Ultimately, it is a product to watch, to see if latency can be reduced or a future version created which would contain the programming on-device. It might be ideal for many of its other potential uses. But as it is, I wouldn’t recommend it as a solution for music reading. If you need wireless page turning today, you will still be happier with AirTurn, PageFlip, or iRig devices.