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Contour Design ShuttlePro V.2

Shuttle/jog and multimedia control surface By Dave Nagel
I've previously reviewed two multimedia controllers from Contour Design. The first, the original ShuttlePro controller, was outstanding in that it was the only thing of its kind at the time of its introduction--that is, the only pro-oriented shuttle/jog available at a consumer price point. The second, the ShuttleXpress, was a similar device, but trimmed down in functionality and priced even more reasonably than the original (just $49.95 for a full-function shuttle/jog with programmable buttons). I gave both of these previous products a positive recommendation. It wasn't so much a question with these of which one was better, but which one suited your needs better. But now we arrive at Contour's third-generation multimedia controller, an updated version of the ShuttlePro called ShuttlePro V.2, and the question shifts to one of superlatives: The ShuttlePro V.2 is definitely the best of the three.

The hardware
The ShuttlePro V.2 is a USB-based multimedia controller that supports both Macintosh and Windows systems. It includes an inner jog wheel and an outer shuttle ring, just as with the previous two Contour controllers. The 360-degree wheel allows you to jog at a desired number of frames per increment, and the spring-loaded shuttle ring allows you to fast forward and reverse video at varying speeds. The outer ring is rubberized for a comfortable grip, exactly the same as the ShuttlePro and ShuttleXpress. But the inner wheel is different from both. The alloy knob feels more solid than the wheels on the previous models, and it also includes three, rather than one, fingertip indentations. It also allows for slight pivoting on its axis for more freedom of movement.

In terms of overall design, it also feels more solid all around than both the ShuttlePro and ShuttleXpress. Its low-profile figure--exactly the same toeless foot shape as the original ShuttlePro--allows for comfortable operation, and its weight and improved underside grips help to hold it in place better than the ShuttleXpress. Its 6-foot integrated USB cable also allows for more freedom of placement than the 2.75-foot cable than came with the original ShuttlePro. It's also received a cosmetic overhaul that makes it more pleasant to look at than its predecessor.

The ShuttlePro V.2 includes 15 programmable buttons--two more than the original ShuttlePro and 10 more than the ShuttleXpress. The two additional buttons in the revised model are placed conveniently to the right and left of the shuttle/jog for easy thumb and pinky access. Nine of these buttons include clear caps that can be removed so that you can place labels underneath them. (The ShuttlePro V.2 comes equipped with several blank and pre-printed labels for your use.) In addition, the shuttle and jog ring and wheel are also programmable, if you wish to use them for something other than scrubbing through video. They can be used as scroll wheels or whatever you might want to use them for, depending on the application. And each application can have its own settings, as discussed below, so you don't have to sacrifice functionality in any way. (Note that there is a new version of the Shuttle software coming out soon, which I'll show you on the next page. It adds complete macro functionality to the programmable buttons, as well as other enhancements.)

In my review of the ShuttleXpress, I noted that I had no need for more than five programmable buttons. But I've since revised my theory about that. Life is just easier with more buttons these days. But, of course, this is subjective, and the ShuttleXpress, with its five buttons, may very well suffice for your needs.

In terms of performance, the ShuttlePro V.2 interacts with applications the same way the previous models did. That is, it behaves as expected with no noticeable latency whether connected directly to the computer or via a USB hub. It's just a solid, reliable piece of equipment. (I've had the original ShuttlePro for almost three years now, and it still functions perfectly, which is more than I can say for some of the mice and keyboards I've I've burned through in that time.)

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