Review of Tourbox Neo: perfect controller for multimedia editing software
There have always been additional controllers/keyboards/remotes for multimedia editors on the computer. It would seem that all these devices have the same task and a similar implementation: to give the user tactile access to scrolling on the timeline using a soft "twirl", turn on the joystick to move around the screen, and display additional hotkeys on a separate panel that can be placed where it is convenient for you - for example, near the mouse. I will not be mistaken if I say that all innovations in this area were made back in the 90s, and having tried wireless technologies, touch panels, 3D position sensors in space, gyroscopes and other fashionable bells and whistles, multimedia panels have found their form factor and their user. Periodically, interesting products appear here, such as the TourBox Neo controller, which we will talk about today.
First of all, it is a mobile controller that you can carry around with you for use with your laptop. To date, the controller supports Windows and macOS operating systems, so you can't connect it to a tablet or smartphone. The interface of the TourBox Neo is USB Type-C, but the usual Type-C - Type-A cable is included, and in modern laptops this type of ports is already being abandoned. OK, let's look at the design.
Design Tourbox Neo
The controller is very heavy, right when you hold it in your hands, it feels like it's made of cast iron or steel. Of course, this is achieved not at the expense of the body, traditionally made of plastic, but at the expense of the weights inside. A lot of weight, plus rubber feet - and you won't move the TourBox Neo from its place even on purpose. It stands like a cast, and this is a huge plus, especially on a glass table.
On a small case with Soft-touch coating, 14 programmable controls are compactly placed, of which:
- Rotating clicking knob
- Rotating clicking disk
- Clicking wheel
- 11 buttons
I want to say right away what is missing here: there is no slider and no "swing", that is, all the buttons have one simple pressing function. The main handle is pressed down, without tilting left/right/up/down, as is done with joysticks. The disk itself is pressed in the same way.
The design of the device is universal, for the right and left hand. I am right-handed, and tried to use the Tour box Neo in my left hand while simultaneously editing photos with the mouse with my right hand. This position is convenient for graphic editors, and for video processing it is possible to make do with this controller at all by installing it in the middle of the table or near the mouse. I also gave the ambidextrous controller a try, and the subject also had no problems with the device, from which I concluded that the Tourbox Neo does not have a pronounced anatomicity, because it's not a gaming mouse...
Of the indicators here, there is only a barely noticeable LED on the right side of the case. Very often, such controllers are equipped with glowing buttons of different colors, which of course is convenient and beautiful, but should be turned off programmatically. Nothing glows here, and each button differs from the others in size and shape, so you can control it in pitch darkness, and it will be clear where you are pressing.
Each button is built on the basis of a microswitch, as in computer mice, and these micro-switches are different here, and they also feel different. The moves of the buttons are very short, so if you are sitting at the computer with headphones on and you don't hear a click, then you don't feel the buttons at all: you don't hear a sound, you don't feel a click. At the same time, the handle, disc and wheels are pressed with such a clear click that it can be heard through the music, and it feels very clearly.
I don't know why the manufacturer didn't make a longer stroke of the buttons, well, at least those that are large...
But the most chic thing, of course, is that during the whole day of work, the TourBox Neo did not move a millimeter on the table.
Let's talk about twirlers, especially since many people buy a controller just for them. So, the biggest plus of the TourBox Neo, from my point of view, is that there are two twirlers here, and both can be controlled with one finger, index or middle. Still, the handle is more suitable for precise positioning with two fingers, which may be necessary when choosing brightness or setting some other parameters, and the disk is more suitable for fast rewinding. Both of these twirlers rotate without steps and clicks, and do not differ from each other in accuracy.
Another rotating control is a wheel, as on ordinary mice. Here, the scrolling is stepped, slightly muted, and the wheel itself is pressed down with an average stroke length and a click.
For some reason, the manufacturer decided that not all buttons should be large, and it turns out that in one part of the case we have keys as huge as pedals, and in the other part there are miniature buttons that get lost under the fingers. Moreover, if we talk about the crosspiece, then putting my finger in its center, I could not always feel that it shifted to the button, so low above the body they rise. Yes, undoubtedly it is beautiful and modern, but the aesthetics here could be sacrificed in favor of the convenience of working blindly.
At the time of preparing the review, the software was available only for Windows and macOS, and there is not even information about development for Android/iOS. The software has built-in presets for the most common multimedia packages: Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere and Davinci Resolve. Switching between operating modes can be done both manually and automatically, so if you have Photoshop and Premiere running at the same time, when switching between them, the controller will change its layout.
You can download additional profiles for different programs from the manufacturer's website.
If you want to customize the actions of the buttons yourself, then you can assign not only keys, but also functions, for example, increase or decrease the volume, click the mouse on the specified coordinates on the screen or open a file. And this is not to mention the possibility of recording macros.
I would take a controller like the Tour Box Neo for the sake of transferring the zoom from the mouse wheel to some twister in Photoshop, and for a smoother change of selectors, such as layer transparency. My choice of tools in Photoshop is usually limited, so all of them can be linked to existing buttons on the controller instead of existing hotkeys. In principle, using TourBox Neo reduces the mouse operation by about half, and this is felt the more strongly the worse your mouse operation is. Let me explain: on the road, in cramped conditions, it may not be possible to collapse in a chair, pointing your hands to the side and roll a high-precision mouse on a gaming mat. Most likely, you will have to use either a built-in touchpad or a Bluetooth mouse on a laptop, and here the work of an additional controller will smooth out most of the inconveniences.
But Adobe Premiere is not such a familiar tool for me as Photoshop, and it happens that for a long time I search for the right tool, and even Google in search of how to make this or that effect. In such conditions, the main load falls on my rotating disk, which is used to scroll the timeline, allowing me to accurately catch the desired time interval. Here, yes, it is convenient to make cutouts on the tape, and scroll between the tracks.
In general, the use of Tour Box Neo is not limited to photo, music and video editors. With the help of manual programming, the controller can be configured for use with non-multimedia programs, for example for trading. Let's try to do this using the example of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange.
After registering on the exchange and installing the program, go to the settings of the Finance client's hotkeys. Everything is described in enough detail here: functions such as a one-click transaction, order price change, as well as left/right scrolling, navigation between tabs and, of course, zoom on the chart, it makes sense to bring it to management via Tourbox Neo, which will greatly facilitate both scalping and simple intraday work of a trader. In the Tour box Neo program, we need to create a separate profile, and assign the values we used in the Binance client to the keys we need.
From my own experience, to switch between the tabs of trading pairs, it is best to use a pair of buttons C1 and C2, placed directly under the logo, which are better configured for the "next tab"/"previous tab" functions. The rotating disk fits perfectly on the left/right movement function of the graph, and the handle fits on the zoom. It makes sense to link buying and selling to large buttons: above the handle and to the right of the handle, or to a pair of large and small buttons to the right of the handle. It is better not to touch the wheel because of its rather large step. Other functions are optional.
- Size: 116х101х44 mm
- Wight: 370 г.
- ABS plastic + PC
- Interface USB 2.0
- Voltage: 5V
- Compatibility: MacOS 10.10 or higher, Windows 7 or higher
Such controllers do not shine with variety: there are several models in the budget sector on the market, and all of them are positioned as a stationary solution for amateur installation. TourBox Neo is a compact solution that you can take with you to shoot, or on vacation, to do film editing or photo processing on a laptop. I am surprised why this device was not made in a wireless format, because both the size and weight allow you to install a huge battery with Bluetooth connection. The sensitivity and softness of the TourBox Neo is at the level of an ordinary computer mouse, so the operator would not have lost exactly, but there would be no dilemma about what to give a single USB port to a laptop.
Summing up the above, I want to say that as the first controller to work with software, as an attempt to understand "do I need it at all or not", as a gift or purchase in case "to be", the TourBox Neo model fits perfectly. Yes, you will increase the ease of operations that require horizontal scrolling and zoom, yes, you will be able to take a fresh look at keyboard shortcuts and reduce the fuss with the mouse. At the same time, if you already have experience working with a director's console or professional controllers of a higher class, then you will stumble over the insufficient softness of the buttons, their computer-like nature, smooth scrolling and the lack of illumination in the TourBox Neo.
But, by the way, a white version of the controller is now being prepared for sale, the TourBox Elite model with Bluetooth support and tactile response, which I personally am looking forward to.
Michael Degtjarev (aka LIKE OFF)