Review: Roccat Sova – Seated bliss
While the Roccat Sova is a nice piece of tech, it really only fits a certain niche of users.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’ve been playing an absolutely obscene amount of Final Fantasy XIV Online since E3. I’ve been playing almost exclusively on the PlayStation 4, so when I saw that Roccat had a new lapboard solution out, I thought I’d see if it would work for PS4 gaming. Turns out that Roccat’s Sova might just be the best thing PS4 owners have been missing for quite some time.
Natively, the PlayStation 4 offers support for a keyboard and mouse. This doesn’t mean every game you play supports these inputs, but online MMO games such as Final Fantasy XIV Online and The Elder Scrolls Online absolutely do and improve the console experience tenfold.
While I don’t prefer to game on a keyboard and mouse, Roccat’s Sova allows me to pause and drop my controller when I need to rearrange my UI or talk to my party while running dungeons. This is a godsend, considering how painfully slow using the virtual keyboard on the PS4 controller is, and I’ve found almost all of the PS4 keyboard controller accessories to be lacking and clumsy to use. Roccat’s Sova does a terrific job of simply making the PS4 feel more like the “master race” equivalent.
The Sova offers a weighty but solid feeling lapboard that includes a membrane-based keyboard (there’s also a membrane with switches option available) with a generous mousing surface on the side that also includes a small clip that allows you to pin back the mouse cord in order to keep your mouse moving and save you from having to fight with wires. If I had to guess, I’d say the keyboard used in the Sova is likely just the Isku in a new housing. The back has a gripping rail where you can also add other things to the keyboard, such as Roccat’s phone or tablet holders, but they aren’t included and, frankly, cost way too much for a piece of plastic (especially since the Sova costs $150.)
This isn’t the first 3D printed accessory that Roccat’s offered to compliment their hardware, but it would be cool to see them release the source files so that people who have that technology available could make their own instead of ordering it. The link included in the Sova’s documentation is wrong, but a quick search of the Roccat website led me to the right spot. Someone should probably consider redirecting their page from the manual (http://www.roccat.org/3D) to here: http://www.roccat.org/en-US/Labs/3D/.
Speaking of modular things, the Sova allows you to easily remove the panels for cleaning or replacement. The mousing surface, the palm rest area, and the lap cushions underneath all quickly and conveniently pop right off yet they’re secured well enough that you never have to worry about them coming off while using the product and that’s simply fantastic. There are also two USB ports on the Sova itself, allowing you to power your mouse and charge your phone directly from the Sova – or maybe use a microphone if you really wanted to – which is handy since you’re likely not going to be sitting near your PC or console if you’re using this lapboard.
While the Sova is a nice piece of tech, it really only fits a certain niche of users. The normal gamer probably won’t actively seek out the Sova, but for those who are looking for a lapboard solution, Roccat’s Sova is absolutely the best one I’ve ever used. My only complaints are that they keyboard doesn’t lift out of the plastic, which means cleaning the actual keyboard is harder than it should be – and certainly more difficult than cleaning the rest of the Sova’s surface, and that the price is just a little too high for such a niche product.