Some people use the trackpads on their laptops for navigation. Others find it cumbersome, preferring to hook up a mouse instead. Whether you’re one or the other, if you use a MacBook, chances are you’re going to find the Nums keypad an interesting accessory.
A glass keypad that lays on top of the trackpad, it turns the erstwhile navigational tool into a number pad. That’s right, your MacBook gets itself a dedicated number pad that you can use to enter numbers quickly (perfect for the exciting task of encoding data on Excel), along with a few other unique capabilities.
Because it’s created specifically for MacBooks, Nums is designed to fit flush on your laptop’s trackpad, covering it completely with its classic numeric keypad layout. To set up, simply clean the trackpad (dust and particles can affect function), place the keypad on the trackpad, and install the companion app, which is the component that actually does the heavy lifting (the glass pad just makes it easy to see which numbers go where). Once that’s done, you’re all set with a new set of keys that can function like a dedicated number pad.
What if you actually prefer the trackpad for navigation instead of a mouse? That’s not a problem, as the device allows you to quickly switch between navigation and numbers. Just turn on the trackpad mode (you can do that via the top right control on the keypad) and it’s back to serving as a navigation tool, even with the new glass keypad still overlaid on top. When you need to enter numbers again, just switch back to “classic number pad” mode and get your fill of all those digits.
Nums doesn’t stop there, either, as it also comes with a calculator mode that automatically launches the calculator app, all while automatically switching the keypad back to numbers mode. The keypad can even double as an app launcher that lets you open individual applications using simple swipes. Yes, it’s customizable, with the ability to map one app to each key, allowing you to quickly launch any of 16 different programs with just simple gestures.
Since the keypad puts the number pad closer to the user, its creators claim it increases number typing speed by 2.3 times compared to using the MacBook’s default keyboard. Launching using the keypad also supposedly increases the speed of app launches by 31 percent compared to using traditional methods.
The glass panel, by the way, is a mere 0.26mm thick, which allows it to sit flush in the trackpads shallow depression. It’s also smoother than the metal panel used for trackpads, so there’s less friction when it’s being used as a navigation tool, ensuring you can move the cursor faster and with better precision. All the labels on the glass is printed in metallic ink on the backside, by the way, so you can use this every day without having the symbols fade from overuse.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for Nums. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $32.