If you are someone who spends a lot of time editing photos or videos, you probably know that sometimes you can't get the precision you want with a mouse. When making micro-adjustments that require a more precise tactile control, such as a knob or a dial, a mouse is not ideal. The Tourbox is a small control surface that is here to solve some of these issues and speed up your workflow.
To start with, let's go over the basics. The controller is used with the opposite hand, as the other works the mouse to help navigate and control the many adjustments of Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Final Cut, and more. We are using it with Lightroom Classic (It does not yet function with the CC version), so this will be the primary reference point.
Setting it up - The Tourbox requires a driver, and it's console software (which just launched an improved version with 2.1). Head to the download section of the website and download the driver and Mac or PC software and off you go, driver installs, and then the software can run and locate your Tourbox once it's plugged into the USB port.
Before running a program, you can choose from a variety of presets that have already assigned the controls; we chose the Tourbox Lightroom Classic preset for our uses. Still, there are a variety of LR presets from other power users, or you can go completely custom with assigning your controller, but probably not a good idea at the start. Once your Tourbox is up and running with a preset, you will be able to see the console running, and it will provide you with a heads up display as you use the controller to let you know what you are adjusting. Then sooner or later, you will start to commit the controls to memory or make some customizations if you do not dig the presets. In the factory preset, you also have some leftover control surfaces to program depending on how detailed you need to get with the functionality. The bottom line here is that this surface is infinitely customizable and can go as deep as you want to take it, for now, we are working with just the presets to keep things simple and learn the basics.
Control Surface Features
- Three dial-type controls in different configurations, knob, dial, and scrolling wheel that is clickable.
- Eleven buttons in various sizes that can be used on their own or in conjunction with dials
The Tourbox is currently listed at $169, which is a great deal considering other competitors like Loupedeck CT are coming in at $550. You can use the Tourbox with the following software, and they are slowly making some presets to music software, but this is not the strong suit as of yet.
Tourbox works with such programs as Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator and Capture One, drawing software, like Clip Studio Paint, Comic Studio and SAI, or video and audio editing software, like Final Cut Pro, Premiere, After Effects, DaVinci, Audition and C4D.
The product was smaller than we had anticipated, and that's a good thing, as it's supposed to be used with one hand. The actual unit comes in 4.6 x 4 x 2 inches and weighs 13.06 ounces, making it feel like a little paperweight. The design is very ergonomic, and the extra weight helps keep in situated on your desk, although it does slide a little if placed on a wood or plastic surface. The surface of the Tourbox is soft, smooth, almost rubberish plastic that helps repel fingerprints and is comfortable to rest your hand on for extended periods. Even the USB C to A cable is high quality with a nice braided covering and an ample 5' of length.
As far as functionality goes, everything is pretty easy to get to and maneuver, although it does take some practice to get used to some of the smaller buttons. Ultimately, to be efficient with this controller, you need to practice with it and consider how it can speed up your workflow - which you probably change up a bit when using this device.
Should you buy this?
I'm guessing with the recent price drop that we will be seeing a new model coming soon, with more features, upgrades like an LED display, and a slightly larger surface for pro users. However, if you are like us and just using this to work on basic stuff like video and photo editing, it will do the job and is enjoyable to work with. If you are a power user or pro and looking for something a bit more robust, it might be worth looking at some other options or waiting to see if Tourbox is dropping something new.
- Nice and compact with a good weight to keep it steady
- The heads up display to help you learn
- Build quality
- Works with a lot of software and provides presets
- The set-up was a bit clunky, but not terrible. Thie software could be improved as could the overall interface of the console
- The size might just be too small for pros or people with larger hands.