There has always been one major enemy of PC gaming: the damned couch.
PC gaming doesn’t really lend itself well to sitting on the couch, because you ultimately need to figure out where you’ll put your keyboard and mouse. Wireless keyboards aren’t ideal for gaming, but wired keyboards usually don’t have a long enough cable to reach the TV cabinet.
This is where lapboards come in.
Lapboards are still relatively rare, and while there are numerous options available elsewhere in the world, very few are available in SA. The ROCCAT Sova MK is one of those options – and while it’s got loads of potential, it’s not devoid of flaws. The Sova MK measures 64cm in length, 27cm of which is dedicated to the mouse pad. This leaves only 30cm for the keyboard, which means it’s a slightly cramped layout that doesn’t leave space for a numpad. I reckon if the keyboard were just 10% bigger, I’d make far less typing errors – but reviewing peripherals is a very subjective exercise, so that could be complete BS. Bear in mind that I don’t have the smallest hands, and it always takes me a while to get used to any new keyboard.
The Sova MK’s keyboard is a mechanical deck that uses TTC switches. ROCCAT provides little information on these switches, but according to the specs I could find these TTC switches are almost identical to Cherry MX switches, and my fingers agree with that assessment. They’re pleasantly tactile switches that don’t make too much noise. Overall, the typing experience is solid, even with my complaint that the keyboard feels a little cramped. The backlighting behind every key is limited to ROCCAT blue, which I don’t feel is a deal-breaker – unless your lounge gaming rig is your main rig and you’d prefer more customisation options.
The mouse pad is a hard plastic surface which offers very little drag on the mouse. It’s removable so you can drop in a cloth replacement, but I can’t seem to find the optional cloth mouse pad on ROCCAT’s store. The same issue applies to the area below the keyboard, which I assume is intended for an optional wrist rest. Another optional extra that I can’t find on the ROCCAT store is the clip-on phone holder, and had this accessory been included in the box I would’ve been very impressed. The convenience of having your phone clipped onto the lapboard while you’re gaming would be awesome. That said, the fact that a mouse bungee is included in the box is great for those who prefer a wired gaming mouse.
If you’re planning to use a headset or wired mouse with the Sova MK, there are two built-in USB 2.0 ports. Sadly, there are no 3.5mm audio ports, which would’ve been a useful touch – especially if the Sova MK could jack into your PC’s sound card. This is a compromise that audiophiles might find too much to bear. For those who prefer to keep their cables orderly, there’s a cable channel in the front of the board, allowing the cables to be neatly tucked away.
The most important aspect of any lapboard is comfort, and the Sova MK doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Sitting with it on your lap is a pleasure, even for hours on end, thanks to the four cushions on the underside (two for each leg). The only way ROCCAT could improve on this design is to cushion the entire bottom of the lapboard – but then you’d probably have issues with lots of sweat.