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FrogPad Bluetooth iFrog

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Your Mac’s keyboard may sport futuristic features like volume controls and backlit keys, but typing remains a two-handed proposition. FrogPad claims that its Bluetooth iFrog, a pint-size device that measures about six by four inches, improves on the QWERTY keyboard by letting you work with only one hand. Although it’s not the ideal keyboard replacement, the iFrog is a good solution if you can’t use both hands to type.

You use the index, middle, and ring fingers of your right hand to operate the iFrog’s three rows of keys. (FrogPad also sells a mirror-image model for lefties.) Because there are only 15 main keys, each has multiple functions, which are denoted by color-coded labels. A black letter shows the key’s primary character, which requires only one key press.

Five large modifier keys at the bottom of the keyboard let you enter secondary characters such as Q and X, but this keyboard uses the keys inconsistently. To type a lowercase L, for example, you must hit the L key with your index finger while pressing the space key with your thumb. But to type a hyphen, you have to press and release the Symbol key to enter Symbol mode and then hit the H key—and if you want to go back to typing letters, you have to press the Symbol key again. According to FrogPad, the iFrog’s layout ensures that English- language typists have to press only one key at a time 86 percent of the time.

FrogPad claims that you’ll be able to type 40 words a minute after using the iFrog for less than ten hours. I never reached anywhere near that speed on the iFrog after more than eight hours of use, although I can type almost 60 words per minute on my QWERTY keyboard. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t do better, but the Symbol key was certainly part of the problem—FrogPad should change it to apply only to the next key press.

The $176 iFrog works wirelessly with any Bluetooth-enabled Mac. A full battery charge should last at least a week for typical business users who use the keyboard daily. FrogPad also offers a USB model for $170.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

For most people, there’s probably no good reason to switch to the Bluetooth iFrog—if you’re using a laptop, you won’t save any space, and you’ll still have to use your standard keyboard for some tasks. But if you can’t use both hands to type, the iFrog is certainly worth considering.

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