Specialist input devices like graphics tablets, 3D mice and scrollwheels all have their fans, but each tends to suit one type of application over any other. In contrast to this is the NuLOOQ navigator: it may be sold as the perfect hardware partner to Adobe's Creative Suite, but it isn't just a one-trick pony.
The NuLOOQ Professional Series includes both a hardware control unit and tooldial software. The controller itself is a multifaceted device, which fits neatly into your hand. It comprises three layers, with a touch-sensitive, iPod-style scrollwheel on the top, a rubberised middle section which twists for scrolling and zooming, and segmented trigger buttons within the scroll input, which can be manually configured to provide shortcuts to any action you can think of.
The trigger points are infinitely programmable within the bundled tooldial software, and can be configured to store up to 72 of your favourite shortcuts to folders, documents or applications when used in straightforward desktop mode.
However, NuLOOQ's real power comes into being when it's used in conjunction with an application. Setting one of the trigger points as the O key means you never need to touch the keyboard bar naming your files, and within Safari zooming and scrolling are a breeze.
While it comes pre-configured to support the most commonly used menus, scripts, effects and processes within Adobe's Creative Suite, it can easily be configured to scroll through your iTunes Library or launch your favourite playlists from the trigger points.
Tool values can even be adjusted while you're working. So, for instance, if you're having to convert a stack of photos within iPhoto or Photoshop, you can set the NuLOOQ to carry out cropping or contrast changes at the flick of a button. And while, at first, you may find yourself reaching for the keyboard, you'll soon become dependant on it. James Ellerbeck