Editing Controllers are an interesting peripheral. While there have been many, and I do mean many, attempts over the years to create controllers that can work within your favorite editing suites very few have gained solid traction. This, at least in part, is due to poor software support or limitations in what the controller is designed to do. At best, most controllers become a niche product that becomes a highly situational tool to use.
However, TourBox, a company dedicated to developing the ultimate editing controller, has been hard at work since 2016 to create just that. Their latest product, the TourBox Elite, aims to close the gap between software and users. This highly customizable controller features adjustable haptic feedback, bluetooth support for up to two devices simultaneously and full mouse and keyboard button mapping. While it all sounds promising on paper, I wondered if it was all too good to be true. After two weeks of testing, it's time to see if the Elite really does hold true to its namesake. So grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the Elite Controller from TourBox.
- Current Price: $268.99 (Amazon)
- Dimensions: 116 x 101 x 44mm
- Weight: 376g (without battery)
- Outer Material: ABS
- Button Dial: PC
- Dial and Wheel Material: PC and TPU double injection molding
- Coating: Translucent, anti-fingerprint coating
- Connection: Dual-Channel BLE5.0 and USB-C Cable
- Motor: Linear Motor
- Compatibility: PC and Mac via USB and Bluetooth
- Battery Life: Up to 2 months
The TourBox Elite is a solid-feeling controller. Built from the ground up with the purpose of having a longer service life than traditional editing controllers, the Elite is built to last. Primarily constructed of polycarbonate which is the primary plastic used in eyewear, medical devices and protective gear, the outer casing is tough and durable. The dials and wheels themselves are comprised of thermoplastic polyurethane, which at its core is designed to resist oils, scuff marks and in my case Cheeto dust.
All the switches and dials have exceptional tactile feedback when pressed as well making every click, twist or spin of a button feel impactful. While the model given to us for review is the Modern Smoke-Black Translucent, you’ll also find a classic black and classic white model to choose from. While I typically find translucent products to be prone to smudge marks and scratches, after two weeks of travelling in my laptop bag with no additional protection, the Elite looks as good as when it came out of the box. An impressive feat if you knew how gear in my bag usually manages without extra protection.
With 14 physical buttons to work with the Elite is already an impressive controller to behold. However, TourBox didn’t stop there. The Elite can actually support up to 47 different uses of its included buttons and knobs with the ability to save over 300 functions to the controller in one preset alone. It also comes with full macro support as well as haptic feedback which is also customizable. The idea here is to remove the need to touch a keyboard while editing and the Elite works hard and intelligently to accomplish that goal.
For example, the buttons are all designed to be unique in size and feel. This is to reduce the need to look down at the controller as you work freeing you up to focus on your work at hand and not be distracted by the controller you’re working with. With four different switch encoders and various tactile feels and responses, you quickly begin to learn where each button is naturally and without any effort.
With full Bluetooth support for up to two devices simultaneously, you can easily jump between Mac and PC with ease. Connecting the Elite is as easy as installing the TourBox software, dropping the included AA batteries (2 in total) in the back of the controller and turning it on. Within a few seconds, you have full control of the Elite and are ready to start editing.
At first, I was a bit surprised to see no rechargeable battery. However, when you consider the aforementioned longevity design philosophy it makes sense. The AA batteries are rated for up to two months of use which is impressive in its own right but you’ll also never have to worry about an internal battery eventually losing its ability to hold a charge. Additionally, there is the option to connect the controller using any USB Type-C cable you have lying around the house or to purchase one of the upgrades from TourBox that includes a case and cable.
As for programmable functions, the Elite can handle almost every function of the keyboard as well as a mouse. This of course works in both Mac and PC meaning you’ll have no problem leveraging the full use of the Elite no matter which platform you choose to edit on. It has no problem taking on more complex tasks like a touchpad pinch zoom or scrolling function either. You’ll find yourself spending less time reaching for your mouse and keyboard and more time with your hands on the Elite.
Additionally, the Elite allows for full feedback intensity configuration on dials and knobs. The motors included in the Elite are a new wide-band vibration motor that can handle quick start and stop commands. This translates into a more precise haptic touch experience that allows for real customization of the user experience. You can easily adjust scroll speed as well allowing for even more customization of the controls.
The build quality of the Elite controller is excellent. Everything about it feels premium and solid. With a hefty weight of 376g(without batteries) as well as rubberized feet on the bottom of the controller you never have to worry about it sliding around while working. As the first truly Bluetooth editing controller, you’ll also be able to reduce clutter and cables in your workspace leaving you with a clean, focused area to work. It's a smart design that is exceptionally well executed.
The Power To Control
While the build quality of the Elite is exceptional that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what it has to offer. Things really ramp up when it comes to software support. TourBox has thought long and hard about what should and shouldn’t be in the controller software. In a sentence summary, it is hands down the best programming software I’ve ever worked with.
Let me unpack that statement a bit. Most software I’ve used with editing controllers has been clunky to use, hard to navigate and limited in scope. Typically a button can do one or two things and other than possibly remapping basic functions that its. What you see is what you get.
By contrast, the TourBox software is exceptionally powerful and gives you the freedom to make the controller do almost anything you need it to do. It's smartly laid out, easy to navigate and understand and updates in real time reducing the time you need to be away from the work you want to do.
Additionally, the Elite software comes with a useful HUD to help remind you of what your buttons do in the context of the software you’re using. While in the TourBox Controller software clicking any button on the Elite immediately takes you to its programmable location in the software so you can easily look to see what it does and edit its function in seconds.
As mentioned, keyboard, mouse and even macro functions are all possible on the Elite thanks to the TourBox software. Unlike most programming software, TourBox is also exceptionally easy to learn. Without tutorials or videos, I was easily able to make a preset for Pixelmator Pro that worked exactly as I needed it to.
As I spent more time editing product photos for this review, I naturally began to move more and more commands over to the Elite. Without slowing down my workflow, I essentially built the preset in real-time while editing. After a while of use, I was able to easily remap controls with a single click as my layout and usage of the Elite became more robust. At this point other than moving the mouse around the screen to focus on the area I want to work, all of my editing controls from color grading to repair are handled on the Elite.
This is the beauty of the Elite, it is built to adapt to whatever editing software you’re using. Even if it isn’t one of the ‘big ones’, you can still easily build presets that will cater to your preferences. It is so simple to set up, adjust and save that you’ll find that even as you’re getting used to using the Elite, it feels natural and you’ll be quick to adapt to it.
Speaking of the ‘big ones’, the Elite comes packed with presets for Davinci, PhotoShop and a host of other software out there. Additionally, there is an incredible community of users who are uploading their presets for clothes to use. The Tourbox software also comes with an auto-switching feature that actively switches profiles based on what software you are in. In testing, it had no problem jumping between Reaper and Davinci on the fly. For those that want to push the limits of the Elite, it is even possible to create presets for office software like Microsoft office giving you a whole new level of control over productivity.
As stated, the TourBox software when paired with the Elite creates the best editing controller I’ve used to date. The software gives unprecedented levels of control over what can be mapped and controlled and with up to 30 presets able to be saved to the software you’ll have lots of options for how you want to leverage the Elite.
Real World Testing
In real-world testing, it is safe to say that the Elite truly changed the way editing is handled. Having now tested it on Davinici Resolve, Reaper, PhotoShop, Lightroom and Pixelmator Pro, I can safely say that it's my main tool for editing. Even Davinci’s speed editor doesn’t hold a candle to what the Elite has to offer.
The Elite’s strength is in its design and adaptability. While some might be concerned that it's a simple jack-of-all-trades master of none, nothing could be further from the truth. The Elite is a master of every piece of software thrown at it because you have the ultimate control over what the Elite can bring to the table. The only real limitations will be your own imagination on usage. The Elite is ready for whatever you want to throw at it.
As for physically using the Elite, it is intelligently laid out making it easy to navigate without having to take your attention off what you are doing. The adjustable haptic function and scroll speeds really allowed me to dial in (see what I did there) on how I wanted the controller to respond. Also, the ease of getting connected and preset switching meant I never had to slow down when it was time to work. It simply worked, and for an editor that is all we could ask for.
The TourBox Elite Editing Controller is hands down the best controller I’ve ever worked with. From functionality to build quality, the Elite has everything needed to speed up and refine your editing workflow. With support for every piece of editing software imaginable as well as incredibly powerful programming software, you should have no issues catering it to your needs. There isn’t any other controller on the market that offers this level of flexibility and customization while still offering a premium user experience. If you are considering upgrading your workflow with an editing controller, I would encourage you to consider the Elite from TourBox. Priced at USD $268.99, it is worth every penny.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. This article contains affiliate links. Purchasing through our links results in a small commission which supports the site. Authors are not compensated based upon clicks or commissions.