ROCCAT Sova MK Lapboard Review

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Product: ROCCAT Sova Gaming Lapboard
Provided By: ROCCAT
Price: $199 USD MSRP at time of publication

 

Introduction:

It is review time here at BCCHardware again, and this time it is the ROCCAT Sova Gaming Lapboard that is on the test-bench. I am excited to take this journey through the deepest parts of this product! For those of you who may not know: ROCCAT is a large electronics company that makes everything from mice and keyboards to headsets, mousepads and more!

 

First Look:

The first noticeable thing about the Sova was the packaging. It is in the iconic fashion with the emphasis on blues and stylish graphics of the product itself as well as the information on the product.

Sova Box

Once we open the box we find the Sova in a plastic slip and held firmly in cardboard. Under it we find disposal information and the quick installation guide.

Sova - Open Box

After we take off the smothering plastic we are greeted with our first full look of the board and what a first impression it gives! It has every key you need in a keyboard, even though it is lacking a number pad. On the removable wrist rest we see ROCCAT and their emblem imprinted on it. Also, the removable mousepad has a big graphic of the company’s logo. 

Sova - Out of Box

 

The back edge of the Sova where the four meter, rubber coated, detachable USB cable comes out also has two USB ports for a mouse and one other device for convenience. Above that there is a track where you can hide some of the cables the are on the mouse and other peripherals. In the recessed cable, track you can even mount the included cable keeper and a 3D printable cell-phone holder.

Sova Top Profile Sova - Bottom Profile Sova Ports

 

Flipping it over to the back will show you four removable comfort cushions and the ROCCAT logo and name. If you take note, both sides of the board have ROCCAT's name emblazoned on them.

 

On the next page, we'll cover the features and some of the specifications of this keyboard as we continue on through the review.


Features:

  • SUPERIOR ERGONOMICS - comfortable even after long periods of use
  • INDESTRUCTIBLE BUILD - ideal for the wear and tear of comfortable gaming
  • HIGH-ACCURACY MOUSEPAD - long-lasting composite material built for max precision
  • REPLACEABLE COMPONENTS - replaceable mousepad, wrist rest & cushions
  • TOTALLY LAG-FREE - for couch gaming without technical limitations
  • ROCCAT® SWARM + APP - Swarm software suite & companion app optimized
  • MOUSE BUNGEE + CABLE CHANNEL - easy cable management for distraction-free gameplay
  • DOCKING RAIL - securely supports mouse bungee + custom clip-on parts
  • KEY BACK-LIGHTING (SOVA) - ROCCAT® blue, adjustable in 6 brightness levels
  • SILENT & PRECISE TYPING (SOVA) - with improved membrane technology
  • CONFIGURABLE KEY BACK-LIGHTING (SOVA MK) - ROCCAT® blue, configurable on per-key basis
  • TTC MECHANICAL SWITCHES (SOVA MK) - newly developed, with near infinite key stroke durability

 

Sova Cable

Cable to Plug into Sova

 

Installation:

Installation was quite simple on the software end, you just have to go to the Sova’s page and scroll down to the software and download their Swarm Software. You can also install the talk software if you have other ROCCAT devices you can and want to link them. After the software is installed, you then plug in the two USB ends of your keyboard cable to your PC and then you plug in your mouse to the Sova and run the cable through the groove on the back and use the cable management to keep it in place where you want it and so it doesn’t slip off and crash into the ground.

 

Software:

The software is easy to use. Once you download and install it, open it to find the main screen and it will show the compatible devices that you currently have plugged in. For this review, we will only be focusing on the Sova. The main screen has three tabs you can choose from: general features, key assignment and key illumination. Under general features we find options for multiple sound feedback, LED feedback, Character repeat and a reset to factory option. Clicking over to the key assignment section will give you the options of changing the function of each key, including the shift+ function. This section will also give you the ability to manage and create your own macros and profiles.

To set a macro in Swarm is a simple matter; all you have to do is select the key you want to change and then you can either make the change to the easy-shift[+] function or the primary function (you can only use the drag and drop method on the shift[+] function) and then drag and drop your new selection for the key from the pre-made menus or go and create one yourself. To do that you need to go to the macro manager and then either add a new macro or change an existing one. To record you must hit the “record” button and then hit the keys you want and then stop recording and set your delays and loops to what you desire and lastly name it. You can also change a key’s primary function fast by hitting “remap” and hitting the key you want it changed to and then press “ok”. There is also preset collections of macros for individual games, to give an example of the effect; if you use the get in and out key it will set the length of the “E” key stroke to 50 seconds so it will open and exit things in game but you cannot use it for your primary function.

The third selection is the key illumination section and it includes all the lighting effects available to the Sova. The lighting presets include, fully lit, blinking, breathing, impulse, ripple FX and heartbeat. Within the presets, you can choose how bright they are and whether the LEDs are lit or not. If you go over to the custom-made button you can choose which keys are lit and what effects are on. To do so you simply need to press on the key of your choice and adjust the options to your whim.

The only thing really left is the options button and that holds options for downloading and checking for updates, monitoring through the Swarm app for some stats even though this is not supported on the Sova as well as a help section.

There are also sections on the top for Swarm connect, Alien FX and talk FX.

Sova

 

Specifications:

  • 275mm × 240mm mousepad, replaceable
  • Replaceable wrist rest and lap cushions
  • Easy-Shift[+]™ with 28-key EasyZone
  • 2 × USB 2.0 ports
  • ROCCAT® Talk™
  • Multimedia functions
  • 4m break-away cable
  • 512kB memory + 32-bit Arm IC
  • 1000Hz polling rate
  • Advanced anti-ghosting with N-key rollover
  • Membrane keys (Sova)
  • TTC mechanical key switches (Sova MK)
  • DIMENSIONS / WEIGHT - Width 64.6 cm , Height 28.0 cm , Length 3.7 cm , Weight 2350 g
  • SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS - Windows® 10, Windows® 8, Windows® 7 64 Bit, Windows® 7 32 Bit, Internet connection for driver installation, USB 2.0 Port


On the next page, we'll jump into testing and see how this keyboard holds up.


 

Testing:

Now to my favorite section, the actual testing of the product! Throughout the last while I have been using the Sova and am overall impressed with it. I never thought a lap board would be so useful for everything on my PC, but it is. I started off with playing a few games with it, mainly Battlefield and it was very relaxing, yet still quite engaging to sit back in my chair. Having one USB jack for my mouse was awesome, but the second one was also nice to have for anything from a portable drive to a headset.

The wiring system for hiding excess USB cables works great and saves on so many snags. The keeper for mouse position is a great concept too, but it is designed for mice with smaller cables than mine and my mouse also has a knob in the cable so it didn’t work perfectly but I figured out how to secure it without having the mouse slide of the pad.

Sova Keys

The breakaway cable was a good idea so as not to damage it if it jerks. I was thankful for this multiple times. As for the mousepad, the peripheral also wins. The pad tracks well with mice and they don’t stick on the surface.

Macros aren’t bad for this device either, they are easy to make and use. The only things I would change is I would make the function key have a lock feature so you don’t always have to hold the FN key to use the macros. Lighting effects are also well done, the keys are individually lit so it is even and you can change brightness based on personal preference. I love the blue, but a few more colors would have been nice for a product at this price point.

I am very surprised with how comfortable this lap-board was to use, the four cushions on the bottom are good and think and make it seem more like a pillow than a peripheral! Quality is something ROCCAT seems to be knocking out of the park and the Sova is not an exception. Most of the finishes scream longevity and are built to last from the wrist rests to the bottom cushions.

The keys on this board are great! The press isn’t too far so you don’t have to pound the crap out of them, and being mechanical, they have that nice responsive feel and a good clicky sound without being overly loud like some variety of mechanical switches. Layout is also well done, with all the media keys being paired with the F-Keys and even though there is no number pad they kept the delete, home, page up, page down and end keys on the right side of the key section of the lap-board.

Sova Mousepad

Space is something this device also has lots of! For instance, the wrist guard is quite wide and has ample room. The mousepad is also beefy, sitting a little over the size of the average mousepad. All this board doesn’t make it too bulky either though; it fits perfectly in an easy chair.

Now that I have bragged the Sova up I must now rain down some reality of the parade.

I wish the power cable for the Sova had been covered in braided nylon, it just lasts better and looks like higher quality. Length was also a complaint of mine, I would have preferred at least three more feet just to get a bit further back from the TV. One thing that I am annoyed at is that you cannot turn off the sleep function on this board, like seriously, I can change every key but I can’t keep it awake!? Color is another trouble for me, I mean I love the blue, but a few more colors would have been nice for a product of this level. I also find it disappointing that ROCCAT didn’t see fit to use Swarm connect with this device, because I am sure it would have been awesome. 

 

Conclusion:

I must say that ROCCAT created another winner with the Sova mechanical lap-board, it has a few flaws with connectivity and lighting but I think the comfort, quality and usability far outweigh the bad. The price point is also not going to make you feel screwed; coming in at $180 USD online at time of publication.

Sova Profile

Pros:

  • Good quality
  • Very comfortable
  • More usable than I thought it would be
  • For what you get, the price isn't too bad
  • It looks great!

 

Cons:

  • Cable is a bit short
  • Swarm Connect isn't supported
  • Can't turn off sleep mode for LED

 

As it has a few issues, I can't give it our highest award here at BCCHardware, but it does score a solid "Silver".

 

If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please feel free to post in the forum right here.