Genovation may not be a name you’re familiar with but that’s about to change. The company has been making point of sale terminals and macro pads for some time, but recently made big waves at CES with their incredible 66 macro key mechanical keyboard at CES 2018. We reached out to the company to see if we could take a look at one of their most popular items, perfect for gamers, streamers, and content creators. This is our review of the Genovation ControlPad CP24.
- MSRP: $85.95
- 24 fully programmable keys with relegendable keycaps
- 3 double keys, 3 extra single keys, and a keycap puller included
- 6' USB cable with Type A plug
- 2-level programmable, equivalent to 48 keys
- Programmable LED
- Supports USB MultiMedia keys
- Supports F1 through F24
- Optional protective latex covers available
- Low power consumption
- Uses the highest quality key switches rated at 50 million operations
- 1-year warranty
The Genovation ControlPad CP24 is a powerful macro pad that can be used in games, programs, and throughout Windows to speed up your more frequent tasks. It features 24 customizable keys but is fairly small, feeling more like an oversized number pad. Below, you can see it next to my current keyboard illustrating its size, but I find it most useful to the left of my keyboard for easy access.
With the rise of streaming and YouTube, macro pads are more popular than ever in the PC gaming space. Competitors like the Elgato Stream Deck standout since they’re marketed directly to gamers and users are discovering that you can use it for far more than just streaming. But the CP24 can do all that and more for half the price and has some major benefits of its own.
The most obvious is price. The CP24 can be programmed to do just about anything but comes in at half the price of the Stream Deck or the X-Keys 24 macro pad. On top of that, the CP-24 uses genuine Cherry MX Black key switches. These are linear and heavy, so you won’t need to worry about clicks or accidentally pressing the wrong key mid-stream.
Apart from that, you’ll find that if you take the time learn how to program it, you can automate just about anything. With one button, I can launch my most common programs, including a web browser with tabs for each of my favorite websites. With another, the pad will check for my running programs and run a conditional script only if Chrome is open and do nothing if it isn’t. When it comes time to run numbers in Excel, I have a macro to fly through my most repetitive entries. Editing in Adobe Premiere is much faster thanks to a handful of shortcuts I’ve bound to individual keys. In OBS, you can have full stream control right at your fingertips.
The CP24 is a perfect fit for MMORPGs, too. With 24 keys, you can every skill to its own button. If you wanted, you could even bind your movement keys and get rid of the keyboard entirely (though you would lose chat). Genovation even built in layer support, so just like SHIFT opens up a second set of commands on a normal keyboard, you can make enable a modifier button to swap into a second set of keys.
All of this for such a low cost does come with some drawbacks. By now, you’ve probably noticed the plastic tops on the keycaps. These are made to hold printed pieces of paper created in Genovation’s label making software. It works fine and allows you to change them at any time, but it’s no dynamic screen like the Elgato Stream Deck. There’s also no backlighting, if you’re into that, so reading labels in low light is a bit trickier.
The bigger challenge, though, it's not user friendly for more advanced tasks. Setting up a simple macro is very easy using Genovation’s MacroMaster software. There's no auto-detection of programs, though. Controlling something like OBS means manually setting up the hot keys. For more advanced tasks, like I described above, you’ll need to turn to AutoHotKey and either record yourself or learn a little bit of AHK’s code. Scary, I know. The good news is that AHK has been out forever and a little googling will get you to pre-written scripts for most things you might want to do. So, it’s not so bad, and may not even be necessary if you’re just using it for gaming, but unlocking the real potential of the CP24 only comes after taking the time to overcome the learning curve.
I am extremely impressed at the how powerful the CP24 is. It takes a while to master but when you do, it’s like you have a miniature control station for your PC. That it’s half the price of the nearest competition while also offering true mechanical switches makes the value proposition hard to ignore. Recommended.
- 24 programmable keys (double with layering) in a small footprint
- Very powerful and can pair with AutoHotKey
- Basic macros are easy to program
- Half the price of the nearest competitor
- Superior build with genuine Cherry MX Black key switches
- Advanced macros have an advanced learning curve
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.