Pair your computer with this geeky controller for the ultimate productivity boost

5 minutes, 14 seconds Read

Tourbox Elite is super ergonomic

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

I try to work as much as possible on my laptop. The MacBook Pro It’s powerful enough to handle almost every photo or video editing task I can throw at it, and it’s self-contained, which means I just need the laptop and I’m good to go.

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As such, I was wary of adding other “gadgets” to the equation. I don’t use a mouse because I find the trackpad adequate, but I do use a graphics tablet — either one Wacom Intuos Pro or a Wacom One — For more complex work, most photos are touch-up.

But lately I’ve been using a tool — a controller, to give it its proper name — that has quickly become worth its weight in gold. And that Tourbox Elite Controller.

Touchbox Elite

Recommended by ZDNET

Tourbox Elite

Forget keyboard shortcuts, TourBox Elite is the most intuitive way to control your photo and video editing apps. Whether it’s brush control, video and audio editing, image manipulation, parameter calibration, or switching tools, it’s got you covered.

Tourbox Elite Technology Specs

  • outer material: ABS
  • button element: PC (Polycarbonate)
  • Dial and wheel components: PC and TPU double injection molding
  • Haptic motor: Linear motor
  • connection: Dual-channel BLE5.0 and USB-C cable
  • compatibility: macOS10.11 and above, Windows 10 and above (Windows 7 and 8 supported with additional drivers)
  • dimension: 116 x 101 x 44 mm
  • weight: 376g without battery, 426g with 2x AA batteries
Touchbox Elite buttons and dials

Tourbox Elite buttons and dials


What software you can use with your TourBox Elite, well, the sky’s the limit! Think of any photo or video editing app, drawing package, browser or audio app and the TourBox Elite will support it. I’ve tested it with big-name software packages like Adobe, DaVinci, and Apple and had no problems

It just works.

Installation was a snap. You download and install the software, fire up the software, and choose whether to connect to the TourBox Elite controller using a cable or Bluetooth.

I chose to use the controller in a wireless configuration and the entire setup process was very smooth on my Mac; It took less than five minutes to open the box and get it working.

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On the desk, the Tourbox Elite controller has enough weight — and decent rubberized feet — to keep it in place during use, and the shape fits the hand like a glove and is really comfortable to use, even for extended periods of time. Firmness on the desk is a must, and it’s good to see that this isn’t an issue. If this controller was skidding around on a desk, it would be a deal breaker.

Tourbox Elite is super ergonomic

Tourbox Elite is super ergonomic

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Now, the next thing you’ll notice is that it has a lot of buttons and dials. Many of them.

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This may seem daunting at first, so I recommend that you dive into the software and check out the presets. I’ve had a lot of experience with gaming mice and controllers that are simply surrounded by buttons, so it didn’t take me long to get used to it, but even I felt the weight of trying to remember where each button and dial was, let alone configure each one with a specific task.

The software gives you a glimpse of how much power this controller puts at your fingertips!

Tourbox Elite puts a lot of power at your fingertips

Tourbox Elite puts a lot of power at your fingertips

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

The TourBox Elite’s buttons and dials feel great, offer good feedback, and the controller also has a haptic vibration feedback engine built into it, giving it an extra dimension to use. The switches also have a solid, positive snap action and not only do you know you’ve pressed a button, but accidental presses are very rare.

Again, this is what. If you’re used to Macs, high-end PCs, and professional-grade peripherals, the last thing you want is a peripheral that just looks bad… again, that would be a deal breaker.

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I expected this controller to feel plastic, but it’s very solid and weighty and very well built, even better than the best controller you’ll find for a games console.

You can make the TourBox Elite as easy to as complex to use as you like, but if it’s your first time using something like this, I recommend setting a few buttons to do specific things and then getting used to those few buttons before adding more. That way, your productivity doesn’t suffer a bit initially and you quickly reach a point where you start to feel the benefits of TourBox Elite.

ZDNET’s buying advice

If you spend a lot of time in front of applications like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Premier Pro, DaVinci Studio, AutoDesk AutoCad, Capture One, or even one of the Microsoft Office apps, and you find yourself performing a lot of repetitive tasks, then you’ll find Tourbox Elite Invaluable Yes, you will have to put in the effort to learn how to use it, but stick with it, because the rewards are definitely worth it.

If there’s one thing I don’t like about the TourBox Elite, it’s how it operates when using Bluetooth. I expected a built-in battery, but, instead, it uses two AA batteries. It’s very old-school, but it’s not a deal-breaker — the batteries last a few months, and I’ve replaced discarded alkaline batteries and used them instead. Rechargeable AA batteries.

More affordable if you can do without some “elite” features Tourbox NEO may be more suitable for you. It has the same buttons and dials but lacks more advanced features like wireless Bluetooth connectivity, haptic feedback and the ability to control two devices.

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