Korg nanoKEY, nanoKONTROL, nanoPAD: Tiny, cute and crazy cheap

Just back from the London International Music Show - two huge rooms of the same stuff you've seen everywhere before. The only new synth I noticed was the snoresome Juno Stage (big ugly muzak keyboard) and... well, that was it from the big companies, apart from the Korg Nano range of tiny little USB MIDI controllers. They were at the show but not plugged into anything. They are incredibly small, light and flimsy. Fortunately, they're also absurdly cheap. Even at just £49, the NanoKey is certainly the lamest - obviously built using clicky, rattly laptop keyboard technology. From the way it feels, it seems unlikely to have much velocity sensivity. You might be better off with something like this £50 Miditech Control 25, unless you're really stuck for space. At £59, the NanoPad is worth considering. The pads are a reasonable size, and the touchpad (from the PadKontrol) will be fun. The £59 NanoKontrol looks great, with a good number of knobs, buttons and sliders, useful (if rubbery) transport controls.
It's hard to overstate how cheap and plasticky these things are. The faders are tiny and toy-like, the cases would need to be taped down to stop them moving across the table. The Kaosscilators on the next stand felt sturdy and chunky by comparison, and they will certainly not survive the Mackie Mixbusters. BUT at £60, the price seems right. The NanoKontrol undercuts anything in the market - as Peter says, the closest comparison is the Novation Nocturn, a weird DJ-oriented thing. It's probably more sturdy, but does much less. To sum up: try to see them in the flesh rather than just ordering them online, but if you're prepared for something tiny, cheap and plastic, they could be perfect...
UPDATE: More pictures from the London Show over at Guitar Blog.

I've never heard the term "muzak keyboard" before, but that's perfect. People who play instruments like that have no souls.
HEY NOW, some of my best friends have been cheap, tiny and plastic, and NO I'm not talking human beings!
Hmm, Novation Nocturne does Automap. For that matter, you could pick up a Novation Remote SL with a real keyboard and all the features of these three units combined (plus aftertouch) for about the same total price. (Okay, I admit to being a Novation fan.)

Still the small factor of these "nano" units could be great for some people.
I was at the show yesterday too - I had a quick go with these and Tom is right about the cheap plasticcy feel, especialy with the NanoKey, but I tell you now, any electronic mobile musician with an Apple Macbook (which these Nano-things were clearly designed to go with) will want at least one of these.
Feh!! Not everything has to be so tiny. These seriously look like Casio toys circa 1985.

And define cheap. Kinda relative really. Here in the US with the weak dollar a set of these would be nearly $400 after tax. Not worth it to me.

You could get a single controller for that with keys, faders and pads.

A bit gimmicky, Korg.
"two huge rooms of the same stuff you've seen everywhere before"

That was more or less my impression. There was nothing majorly new there. Most exciting thing as far as I was concerned were the re-issue Eko guitars.

Loads of pics from the show (mainly guitars) over at my blog, by the way.

so i was at the show too and these things were so flimsy that the one on display already had a key missing which i thought was kinda funny really.

..and where do they get those keyboard demo guys from? they all sound like their dream job would be session keys for a Hall + Oates side project.
How has another year gone by with none of these mfrs releasing a USB floorboard??? No one sees any value in controlling VSTs etc with their feet. I mean, let's just start with laptop guitarists.... Not enough of them? OK then, anyone else whose hands are busy playing an instrument (or a different MIDI controller) or who'd rather keep their hands free during performance.
To the guy above me: why not just get a midi foot controller you like and use a $30 midi-to-usb cable? I use my Behringer FCB1010 to control VSTs. Works perfectly.
These look awesome. I can't wait to try the pads thing.
I see these intended as more junk for the "producer" crowd.

Sick ! I get a set of these with some mehringer gear, a copy of FL fruitly loops, steal some loops of real musicians and I'm all set :P
Ime looking at a nano kontrol to go with my podcasting kit nice and small for OB podcasting.

And maybe a pad to trigger inserts/bumpers etc
sI am a huge fan of Korg's Nanokeys, and can't quite understand the complaints above. As a composer who often travels, this is a wonderful and portable way to enter notes. It is tiny and light, and has a slick lights mechanism to let you know which octave you're in. I have been waiting for years for someone to make one of these. Thank you, Korg.
Actually you'll find the nanoKEY is fully velocity sensitive with fully programmable velocity profiles. Just bought one... love it. Hey, guess what, it doesn't feel like a full-size MIDI controller e-piano... but for the price, who cares. This solves my MIDI input woes nicely and is easily within my budget (I hate fiddling with knobs and sliders to get what I want, I wanna keyboard).
As for the comments about "no souls" and "stealing loops from real musicians"... yeah I also play traditional instruments (brass, keys, strings and woodwinds). However, they cost me a lot of money, and they don't do MIDI input, which is my main concern.
Kudos to Korg for this one, it's about time someone made an affordable controller that helps out the traditionally-trained musician. *And* it fits in my laptop case.
i got the nanokontrol for about £50 a couple weeks ago, and it's great... i expected it to be a bit plastic and i expected it to be marketed to Apple-Musician-Fascist-Noobs so in the end i wasn't let down. Fits beautifully on my desk underneath my M-Audio O2, and it works in perfect harmony with Reaper. what more can someone ask for for £50???
Hi, I am buying a NanoPad because I need to control the songs in my set and this would be perfect. I have a small corner of my keyboard setup where, as usual, size is everything. It was 90 percent of my why I want this thing. I am looking forward to playing with the x-y pad for some of my sounds.
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