[ Read my product disclosure for product reviews here.]
TourBox is a control surface for a wide variety of media software. It’s designed to replace the mouse for navigation as well as provide an intuitive and comfortable range of buttons for common keyboard shortcuts.
Recently, TourBox Tech sent me a unit for a couple of weeks to review.
TourBox was founded in California in 2016 to create hardware tools to make working with creative software less complicated and more efficient. Their first product is TourBox Neo.
TourBox Neo connects via USB-A or BlueTooth and can be used stand-alone, with a mouse or with a graphics tablet. It contains three rotary wheels and 11 buttons, ergonomically designed to fit either hand – though it is somewhat biased toward right-handers.
Used in conjunction with the TourBox Console software, which runs on both Windows and Mac, it supports all major audio, video and graphics software tools. It ships with four default presets, while a free download adds presets for other tools.
The unit is well-built from what feels like heavy aluminum with a matte black finish. It sits on four rubber feet that keep it positioned on the desk with minimum slipping. It’s about the size of two decks of cards stacked on top of each other. It’s small enough to travel easily anywhere.
The Console allows us to modify existing keyboard shortcuts, create new templates, create macros, and create new folders. I found the Console to be especially well-thought-out.
The only negative about the unit is its size. If you have thick fingers, the closeness of the buttons may make using this awkward.
I found the TourBox to be well-built, the Console easy to use and well-designed and the operation of the unit – once you get comfortable with learning a new arrangement of buttons – to be fast and intuitive. If you are looking for something that goes beyond a mouse to add speed and control to your editing system, the TourBox is well worth your consideration.
Took just a couple of minutes. Very clear installation instructions on their website. You’ll need to grant appropriate security settings for the device to control your system.
The unit ships with initial presets for:
While TourBox can be configured to support virtually all software on Mac or Windows that provides keyboard shortcuts, the graphic above shows all the currently available presets. (Remember, you can create presets on your own using the TourBox Console.)
Supported languages include:
Each preset supports one application in one language. There is no limit to the number of presets you can download. Installation of presets is as easy as importing a text file.
Presets are selected, renamed, imported, exported or removed using the Preset List in the Console.
I want to especially applaud the quality of the online help screens and tutorials. These are easy to access, clearly written and extremely helpful.
Help is generous, well-integrated into the software and also includes extended video tutorials on installation and operation.
While the desk unit is what you use, the heart of TourBox is the Console. This software utility connects the hardware to your software and provides a way to program all the different buttons, wheels and presses with keyboard shortcuts.
NOTE: Available keyboard shortcuts are determined by the application itself.
Press a button on the unit and the corresponding button lights up in the map in the Console.
At the same time, the appropriate setting lights up on the right side. Wheels have two settings:
You can set different shortcuts for both.
NOTE: Buttons have three states:
Each can be assigned a different shortcut.
To change a keyboard shortcut, double-click the object – for example the Top button. This opens the “Create Shortcut” panel. Here, you can search through existing shortcuts, then apply the one you want to the selected button.
NOTE: If the host application doesn’t provide a shortcut, you can’t create a new one in TourBox.
The Console is controlled from this menubar menu.
In addition to assigning shortcuts to TourBox buttons, you can create Macros and TourMenus.
By default there are no macros or TourMenus configured for the unit. These advanced functions can be added by you when you find yourself doing the same series of tasks over and over.
While I’m impressed with the TourBox, there are three inherent disadvantages to the unit.
I’ve learned that every editor prefers to edit in their own way. If you have trouble remembering all the keyboard shortcuts you need, and are frustrated dragging a mouse around, it’s time to look at a different way to work.
The TourBox is a well-built, well-thought-out combination of hardware and software. It is highly flexible, easily customizable, and small enough to fit anywhere.
If you are looking for ways to improve your productivity – and your fingers are not the size of sausages – the TourBox is worth a place on your desktop.
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