So now that I have my gaming rig set up and running, you may not realise that I am actually playing on a 42 inch full HD LCD TV. I have a couch in the room, in addition to the TV. I used the TV to play games on the PS4. Consoles and TVs go together, but what about PC gaming rigs and TVs? Its a common set up. More common that you think. However, there has never been an elegant solution with regards to using a keyboard and mouse on a couch for living room gaming (in my case, its in my room).
Introducing the Roccat Sova Gaming Lapboard. I preordered the Roccat Sova about a month ago and it started shipping sometime in the third week of August. It arrived just in time, a couple of days after I finished building my rig. I still had to wait a couple of days though and while waiting, I had to use a spare keyboard and mouse to install Windows 10 and update all relevant drivers. When the lapboard arrived, the first thing I noticed was how huge the package was. The Roccat Sova is essentially a ten-keyless keyboard built into a plastic frame with a wrist rest and a built-in mousepad. Essentially, this lapboard is built such that the whole thing rests on your lap, so that you can play video games on the couch. Anyone who preordered the Roccat Sova were given a Rovvat Kova mouse for free, which is a sweet deal, considering that the whole lapboard setup is not cheap to begin with. This sweet combo immediately sets you up for couch gaming without additional purchases to complete the set up.
So far I am loving it. I never thought that gaming lapboards would work. The Roccat Sova doesnt feel heavy at all, yet not too light as to skimp on plastic. Despite weighing more that 3 kilograms, its size spreads the weight around so it doesnt feel too heavy on your lap. It has 4 cushions underneath the gaming lapboard for your lap to rest on, making it comfortable for long gaming sessions. You can even remove the cushions and underneath those slots, you can remove the the wrist rest and mousepad with a simple push, since it is stuck to the gaming lapboard with magnets. You can even replace it with other designs, which I assume Roccat would release in the near future for customisations options. The ability to remove the wrist rest and mouse pad allows you to clean your lapboard easily.
There are other gaming lapboards out there. Razer released its own gaming lapboard called the Razer Turret. It has a smaller profile than the Roccat Sova. However initial reviews indicated that the mouse pad area is a little too small for gaming and that the keyboard uses chiclet style keys on their keyboard. Furthermore, it doesnt come with a wrist rest and makes long gaming sessions a little uncomfortable.
Corsair also released their own gaming lapboard, aptly named the Corsair Lapdog. It is similar to Roccat Sova in terms of layout, but it doesnt feature a wrist rest. While corsair allows you to switch keyboards within the gaming lapboard frame, it can only accommodate Corsairs keyboards and only certain models within their gaming keyboard line-up. Switching the keyboard is great for those who wishes to upgrade to a better keyboard like mechanical keyboards, something Roccat Sova cannot do. You are stuck with the keyboard given on your gaming lapboard. Roccat Sova does come with two flavours, one featuring the normal membrane keys, and the other with a more premium mechanical keys. So potential buyers must decide carefully on which they wish to purchase, with the mechanical keys commanding a higher price.
Another drawback from Corsair Lapdog is that it requires a power cable connected to a power outlet to power the usb hub and keyboard. This additional cable required to power the keyboard can be cumbersome. Roccat Sova does not need additional power cables, but it does require two USB slots to power the keyboard and any additional peripherals connected to the USB hub (it has two USB ports), like a wired mouse or USB headphones. The two USB connectors are split at the end of the cable and they both must be plugged to your CPU.
Roccat Sova comes with a four meter USB cable that is of ample length for a typical living room set up, allowing you to easily connect it to your CPU half a room away. The cable is also unique in that it features easy break-away cables, featuring a 5-pin female connector on one end and USB connector on the other end. Should someone accidentally trip on the cables, rest assured that neither your keyboard nor your CPU will come flying across the room, since the break-away cables will easily and obviously break away.
One thing I hope Roccat Sova would provide in the future is the ability to purchase replacements for the cushions that comes underneath the lapboard. While it is comfortable, I doubt its longevity, especially, when coming from someone who lives in warm tropical Singapore, you can get sweaty on your lap after intense periods of gaming and I am not sure if the cushion could handle stresses such as heat, humidity and human sweat. But for now, it seems to be holding up. Unless you are playing games with your air-conditioner switched on all the time, then you might want to be mindful about this potential cushion degradation after using the lapboard for a couple of years.
I had never had any ergonomic problems with using the Roccat Sova and gaming on my couch. The wrist rest is essential and thankfully it is built that wrist rest in mind. The mouse pad area is huge, more than enough surface area to game on. In fact, as I am typing this entry, I am using my Roccat Sova to type, and the keyboard is as comfortable as most keyboards should be.
This is perhaps the first lapboard ever released to truly usher in the era of couch gaming. Aspiring PC gamers who wish to game on their glorious full HD or even 4K TVs in their living room is now made possible with the Roccat Sova.