"The hardware looks great, with that characteristic understated NI styling, and the buttons have a solid, positive feel to them. Oh, and it's USB powered, so you can use it with your laptop without either being connected to a power supply.
While the regular Maschine centres on a 4x4 bank of velocity-sensitive pads for a real-time note input, Maschine Jam instead features an 8x8 grid of backlit RGB buttons that output fixed values when pressed. This makes them far more conducive to step sequencing, where you generally want 'click' steps in on the grid at a predictable velocity level. Below the pads are eight touchstrips, which are used for manipulating mixer parameters, instruments and effects, as well as - interestingly - triggering notes and 'strumming chords'.
It's awesome, intuitive and fun, and live Maschine performers will love it - although unfortunately, there's no way to capture your jam as a linear project for later editing and refinement. We're told it's in the pipeline, though, in the shape of a whole new Song mode.
If Maschine has always struck you as too 'real-time' and performance-orientated, Maschine Jam may well be the hardware that convinces you otherwise. And if you already have a Maschine in your arsenal, we urge you to check out this truly excellent companion for it as soon as you can - it's a natural fit beside any of them."