This week’s NAMM 2017 trade show is in full swing, and many of the companies that make accessories of interest to forScore users are announcing some changes and new products. Today, we wanted to take a moment to highlight the new product lineup from PageFlip, makers of the popular Cicada and Firefly page turners that so many of our customers love. (A quick note: we do not have any sort of sales or affiliate arrangement with PageFlip. We recommend these products because we use and enjoy them, not for any other reason.)
PageFlip has been in business for many years, but most of our customers are probably familiar with them because of their original forScore-compatible page turner, the PageFlip Cicada. This page turner was released in 2011 and featured a compact, all-in-one design with comfortably arranged pedals. The Cicada was joined by the more refined and powerful Firefly in 2014 (you can read our original review of it here), and late last year the venerable Cicada was replaced entirely by the all-new Butterfly. Finally, this week PageFlip announced a new 4-pedal page turner, the Dragonfly.
PageFlip’s entry-level option is an interesting shift from the Cicada it replaces. It loses some things you won’t miss (like the code entry required for pairing), and a few you might (the two auxiliary pedal jacks on the back and the USB port for AC power or wired connectivity). But these options aren’t useful for everyone, and if you don’t need them you’ll get a lot for a fairly low price tag.
The design of the device is clearly an evolution of the refinements that first debuted with the Firefly. In fact, at first blush the Butterfly looks a lot more like a toned down Firefly than an amped-up Cicada. Like the Firefly, the Butterfly’s pedals are longer and feature a lower profile—they lack the distinctive click and snap of the old Cicada, and while some may miss the assurance of mechanical feedback the silent operation is a definite improvement. The Butterfly is also larger and heftier than the Cicada, making it more stable and easier to use.
One final change from the Cicada, though not generally important to forScore users, is a reduction in the number of available modes. While the Cicada and Firefly both included five modes, the Butterfly loses the mouse click and space/return options. The remaining three options (page up/down, left/right, and up/down) continue to work perfectly with forScore and the vast majority of other compatible apps right out of the box.
The Firefly is expertly designed and continues to offer a fantastic balance of power, portability, and flexibility at a reasonable price. Its low-profile pedals are durable and comfortable, and the added lights embedded into each make them easy to find even in dark environments. It features a USB port and can be used wirelessly or tethered to a compatible device (iPads require a separate USB adapter), and the ability to power the device via replaceable AA batteries or an AC power adapter means you’re covered in almost any situation.
It also features two auxiliary ports on the back that can be used to control additional features in forScore with extra pedals. For instance, you can use the two main pedals to turn pages and use the additional pedals to navigate between pieces in a setlist. This can be great if you only need these extras some of the time, otherwise consider the Dragonfly below.
Finally, the Firefly includes all five of the modes discussed above (page up/down, left/right, up/down, left and right mouse click, and space/return), and also features programmable modes. While these features won’t be helpful to forScore users, consider these differences if you plan to use your page turner with other apps.
The newest PageFlip was just announced and we haven’t had a chance to use one in person yet, but it already seems like a natural fit at the top of the lineup. Feature for feature, it’s essentially the same as the Firefly, but it includes two additional, smaller pedals near the top that can be used to control more features in apps like forScore. Importantly, these extra pedals are neatly nested allowing the device to retain the same general size and profile as its siblings, rather than forcing the much wider layout of most other solutions.
From playing or pausing background audio to activating links without reaching up to touch the screen, over thirty customizable actions would make any 4-pedal page turner a compelling option. But from what we can see so far—from price tag to design—the Dragonfly nails it on all counts and is worthy of very serious consideration.
The only tradeoff here, in addition to the modestly higher price tag, is the lack of auxiliary ports. This makes sense, since having four built-in pedals virtually eliminates the need for anything else.
PageFlip continues to impress us with this updated line of page turners. These devices offer thoughtful combinations of features at reasonable prices, and we’re happy to strongly recommend them. All three of these devices offer the same easy and reliable Bluetooth pairing, and PageFlip’s clear designs and simple switches are a breath of fresh air for anyone who’s fiddled with color-coded lights and tiny multi-purpose buttons. The differences in features between each of these products are specific and reasonable, and deciding whether or not you need them should be relatively straightforward.
All of PageFlip’s pedals are available at PageFlip.com.