Today, we are taking a look at a very interesting product by TourBox. The company has only been around since 2019, and their first iteration of the TourBox controller got plenty of attention not only from users but was nominated for design awards.
The TourBox Elite is a new and improved controller that works with a variety of software to create presets and customize shortcuts for a streamlined workflow for digital creatives.
The TourBox Elite comes in 3 color options, including white, black, and a smokey translucent cover.
The design of the controller incorporates buttons, knobs, and scroll wheels that can be used in combination to activate up to 50 commands within a given software. It’s a one-handed controller that uses a simple layout with tactile and haptic feedback that allows for intuitive operation without looking away from the screen.
Updated editing controller
From the very first impression, the TourBox Elite feels premium and heavy. It features a hard plastic enclosure and rubber feet to secure its position on the desk. The buttons feel nice and clicky and the knobs and scroll wheels are pleasant to the touch and have just the right amount of tension.
This new iteration includes improved actuators and more precise button control. This new upgrade has kept the USB-c port on the top of the controller, although it now boasts a dual-channel Bluetooth connection (allowing you to pair with up to two computers), so no cable is actually required.
The back of the unit features a 2-AA battery compartment, a pairing button, and an On/Off switch. Using removable batteries is often a topic of debate. In the case of this controller, we don’t see it as a problem, since battery life is pretty long and the USB-c cable can power the unit.
The only thing we feel that’s missing here is a clear indication of battery placement and power switch position. We hope that this is only on our pre-production unit, and TourBox will add that when they start shipping the controller.
The TourBox Elite is a highly customizable controller that you can program to be used with a variety of creative software, from photo and video editing to music mixing and a lot more.
By programming shortcut commands to specific buttons or button combinations, the controller allows for a faster workflow. The TourBox console is an intuitive interface to customize the button commands and create presets for each software.
Intuitive and user programable
Within the console, navigating through the list of buttons is quick and easy just by clicking that button (or turning the scroll wheel). The whole experience with this interactive interface is very pleasant — everything is clearly marked and all the available options for each control are visible.
The controls are divided into 3 sections. The rotating section features a vertical scroll wheel, a center knob, and a dial. All three have a click function. The movement of these rotating controls is customizable to add haptic feedback and adjust speed.
Extensive control at your fingertips
The second section are the prime buttons. These have a single click, a double click, and a combination function. The other buttons are used in combination with the prime buttons or can have simple-click commands.
Another useful feature on this controller is a quick-look summary of the assigned commands and the on-screen tool-tip viewer. Conveniently, the TourBox can automatically switch between different presets as you go from one software to another.
The work concept
We tried using this controller mainly with Davinci Resolve and Photoshop. With the presets defined, there were over 30 commands that we had to learn. The process does involve a bit of a learning curve, but the design of the TourBox makes it pretty simple. All of the controls are shaped differently, so memorizing the commands is coupled with muscle memory for a pretty smooth transition from regular keyboard shortcuts.
After working with the controller for only a couple of days, it already became a bit of a necessity. The user experience is surprisingly pleasant and it can significantly improve the workflow.
Here are some clever ways that this controller can hack your editing in Davinci Resolve. The center knob shrinks and expands the timeline, which is a back-and-forth process that happens throughout the edit. The dial controls speed preview. The scroll wheel is set up to scrub up and down the timeline.
Since the buttons can be programmed to carry out commands and also to act like keyboard keys, this controller works well in conjunction with the mouse. The Alt/Option key, for example, is a widely-used modifier for a number of shortcuts. So we programmed the Tall Prime button as an option, so this helps with copying and modifying clips.
In Photoshop, we really enjoy how the TourBox center D-pad can host all of the most-used tools for quick switching. These buttons can be used in combination with the side button and the top button to assign up to 12 different tools. The rotating controls are great for zooming in and out and changing the size of the brush. We set the dial to quickly change between brushes.
TourBox Elite – extremely versatile unit
The TourBox is very versatile and quick to adjust and customize. There are plenty of button combinations, so you can think of new shortcuts and easily add them to the preset.
The unit is well-designed, with quality materials and an enjoyable user experience. It has a pretty small footprint, so it can easily accompany the laptop.
As for pricing, the Kickstarter campaign offers a 34% discount until December 24, 2021, after which, the TourBox Elite will retail for around $300, depending on the color.
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