E3 2016: ROCCAT Sova ready to launch

ROCCAT may be a little late to the game, but based on my hands-on play with the Roccat Sova lapboard at E3 2016, I think the Sova could be the best designed gaming lapboard yet. While the battle for your lap is already underway courtesy of the Corsair Lapdog and Razer Turret, the ROCCAT Sova is officially available for preorder, and will be available in late August/early September.

Having reviewed the Razer Turret and Corsair Lapdog, one thing is becoming clear: There’s no ‘perfect’ one-size-fits-all lapboard solution—at least not yet. But of the 3—the Corsair Lapdog, the Razer Turret, and the ROCCAT Sova—I think the Sova may be the best overall design yet.

 Briefly:
  • The Corsair Lapdog is an enormous, wired solution that holds a full size keyboard and generous mouse surface. It’s also a fully functional, powered USB 3.0 hub, and it gives you the freedom to use whatever keyboard and mouse you want.
  • The Razer Turret is small, sleek, and streamlined. It’s also wireless, and space efficient. But it isn’t a mechanical keyboard, offers no wrist support, and it may be better as a portable solution and/or a solution for more casual gamers and couch surfers.

Enter the Sova

The ROCCAT Sova sits a bit in between the Turret and the Lapdog. Like the Corsair Lapdog, it’s a wired solution, but the keyboard is built into the board—but the keyboard is at the front of the Sova, and leaves ample space to rest your wrists. It also gives you the freedom to use any gaming mouse, and it provides a large mouse surface area. It’s spacious, but smaller than the Lapdog and larger than the Turret.

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The ROCCAT Sova is a large lapboard with an integrated, backlit keyboard as large, integrated mouse surface. It connects to your PC via a single USB cable, and it will be offered in two varieties: one with a membrane-based keyboard for $149, and one with a mechanical keyboard based on TTC switches (similar to Cherry MX Brown). Both offer customizable blue LED backlighting.

As in earlier designs, the Sova retains a rail along its back edge that can (potentially) be used to mount after-market accessories—possibly purchased or perhaps even 3D printed.

Want to attach a drink holder? Maybe you’ll be able to buy one (notice that one of ROCCAT’s pictures in the picture slideshow shows a phone holder attached to the Sova). Or maybe you’ll be able to print your own accessories. ROCCAT has been generous in releasing 3D printed specs for such things, such as replacement buttons for the ROCCAT Nyth mouse—although nothing was formally announced or revealed at E3 2016. Link:

The Sova now includes a small mouse bungee, and there is cable routing along the back side of the board to keep the cables tidy.

The Sova’s USB cable is similar to the Corsair Lapdog’s cable, but the Sova’s is lighter and thinner. (The Lapdog’s cable is much larger because it includes a power cable and the Lapdog itself is essentially a powered USB 3.0 hub.)

sova4

Another welcome feature that sets the Sova apart is that the 2 support surfaces—the wrist rest and the mouse surface itself—can both be popped out and replaced. I like the textured plastic surfaces included with the Sova, but sometime after the Sova launches expect ROCCAT to release some additional after-market options.

In addition, the lap cushions on the underside of the Sova are also detachable and replaceable, potentially providing more options, such as wrist support with gel wrist pads, or a fabric or smooth mouse surface.

The Sova is available for pre-order now, but still won’t be in your hands for a couple months (Newegg’s site lists August 31st as the release)—and it will probably take some time for ROCCAT to produce potential after-market accessories and add-ons.

But if you pre-order now, you get a free ROCCAT Kova gaming mouse to go with your Sova.

  • Pricing: $149 (membrane keyboard) / $199 (mechanical keyboard)
  • Availability August 31st 2016

ROCCAT Sova features and specifications

  • ROCCAT Swarm software suite and companion app optimized
  • Mouse bungee + Cable Channel for distraction-free gameplay
  • Docking rail supports mouse bungee + custom clip-on parts
  • Configurable blue key back-lighting on per-key basis
  • TTC mechanical switches with near infinite key stroke durability

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