Using hardware controllers to streamline your work with image editing applications isn’t new. Knobs, wheels, and similar tactile controls can make the frustratingly repetitive task of making constant adjustments to your various tools significantly more tolerable. If you’ve shopped around for such a device, you’ve probably heard of TourBox, whose combination of compact size, simple layout, and intuitive controls have made them a staple among many creative professionals. The TourBox Elite takes that popular controller and makes it even better.
A Bluetooth version of the original TourBox, the new controller eliminates the USB cord, making it even easier to integrate into any workspace. No longer do you have to find a strategic spot where the cable will reach without getting in the way – just pair it with the PC and you’ve got all the tactile controls you need for your favorite imaging software.
The TourBox Elite doesn’t actually veer far from its predecessor, inheriting the same shape, size, and control layout. It gets a large dial at the center with a single button at its 7 o’clock position, a D-pad right below it, a scroll wheel at the upper left side, a round dial at the lower left side, two wide buttons (one each on the left side and the top center), two tall buttons on the lower right, and two small round buttons at the upper right. That’s 14 controls in total. While that doesn’t sound much, those 14 controls are actually preprogrammed to perform nearly 100 straightforward actions on popular software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and Premiere, while being easily customizable to everything else that uses a different control scheme. Just use the included to remap the controls for each software and you’re good.
With the device, you can keep one hand on your mouse or drawing pad, then keep the other on the controller, with the controller taking the place of multiple mouse clicks and keyboard shortcuts you would otherwise perform to do various things onscreen. No longer do you need to deal with moving a virtual slider or painstakingly searching through a parameter bar – you can use the tactile controls to perform the same tasks a whole lot faster.
The TourBox Elite is a dual-channel Bluetooth controller that’s equipped with an LE 5.1 radio, so it should perform seamless and instantaneous connections with your computers, while providing lag-free pinpoint control. It also comes with a haptic bump on the left side that can provide a vibration response every time you turn the knob, dial, or wheel to make using each control even more tactile. It has two levels of haptic feedback, by the way, complete with the option to completely to turn it off if you prefer working without the motorized vibration.
According to the outfit, any keyboard or mouse shortcut can be remapped onto the device’s controls, so any onscreen action you perform can be offloaded to the tool instead. Even better, it supports creating macros, so you can simplify and streamline various repetitive actions that you regularly perform.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Tourbox Elite. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $178.