High End's Hog line has always been one of the top lighting boards on the market. At one point Hog II was on every tour and nearly every show. If you had moving lights you had a Hog II. It has two built-in touch screens and a bank of playback faders. There was an optional wing as well as an optional wired remote. There was also the Hog 500/1000 which had a different face panel but still ran the Hog II software.
About 8 years ago High End released their Hog 3 line. It included a whole new user interface with larger colored touch screens that were tilt-able, new face panel that included many new buttons and a trackball. The face panel still had the same signature bank of play back faders as the Hog 2. Other consoles in the Hog 3 line were a wing, Hog iPC (could ran Hog 2 or Hog 3 software), and later down the road they introduced the Road Hogs. It was a noticeable step forward in software and hardware.
Recently, High End released their Hog 4 line and I had a chance to check out their top of the line Hog 4 model. (The Hog 4 line includes the Hog 4, RoadHog Full Boar, RoadHog, and NanoHog). This is a beautiful looking and extremely comfortable console. It has two large color multi-touch screens on a very smooth axis to allow the programmer to tilt the screens to any position desired from flat to pack in the case to 90° for a straight on view. On the face panel is the typical bank of play back faders, now motorized faders, and all of the Hog 3 buttons are seen again here on the Hog 4. In the middle of the face panel is a small touch screen which acts the same as the main 2 screens. You can put any window or information on it you wish. Things I found it useful for: color picker, cuelist, list sheet, and groups. Since this is a new feature for programmers it will take a little time to get used to it and use it to its full potential.
They added another encoder wheel increasing the count to 5. Each encoder wheel has a button to the bottom left which allows you to change the mode of the wheel. For example, if the encoder wheel is changing the strobe function, the button will change between the different strobe modes, like pulse, strobe, random strobe, etc... These buttons are not user assignable and personally, i'd like the option to set the button to change the speed of the encoder, i.e. coarse, fine, extra fine.
Another new feature is a bank of 12 buttons (4 rows of 3) with a small LCD display above each button. This is on the right side of the console and I call it the user assignable attribute bank. There are hard buttons for Intensity, Focus, Color, and Beam, but these new buttons allow the user to assign what attributes go to what wheel. This is also known as recording wheel sets. High End had wheel sets available on the Hog 3 for the DL2, DL3, and Axons media servers, but it was not user assignable and was not convenient. You can make these buttons global or make them specific for a fixture type. The LCD displays a name you assign to the button and will light up when it contains attributes that are available to your fixture type selected.
On the trackball is a new z-axis wheel. This wheel so naturally feeling and comfortable. I wish I had it a long time ago! It makes navigating around much speedier. In the default state, it is a scroll wheel. It trackball mode, it can be assigned to any fixture attribute you like, for example, zoom, intensity, saturation, etc... It's sensitivity was way too fast as the default setting. I put it on the lowest setting and it was acceptable, but would prefer it to be even lower. Another quirk was when my mouse was in a window, like my palletes/sheets, the z-axis wheel would scroll them. It's very useful if you want to scroll, but became annoying when I didn't want to scroll and only did it by accident. I clicked the guard button to lock the window, but it would still scroll.
Hog 4, just like it's predecessors, does not have any play back (executor) buttons. A potential workaround was to put the cuelist sheet in the middle screen and execute playbacks from there. It is doable but not as convenient as hard buttons. I did not see any settings or mention of CITP in the manual. On the back panel, there are 8 DMX outputs as well as many USB slots and even an eSATA port for an external harddrive. I didn't find any mention of uses for this other than file sharing like saving and loading shows. I must mention that the boot time was extremely and impressively fast! There is a wireless remote available on a pc tablet running Hog4 PC. The Hog 4 supports up to 3 external monitors via DVI. Very nice desk and it's an easy transition from programming on Hog 3 software to Hog 4 software and you definitely won't need a thesaurus!