Roccat Sova MK Review

June 14, 2016 | 13:24

Tags: #ttc

Companies: #roccat

Performance Analysis

A product like the Sova can have the features under the sun, but they'd be worthless if it didn't feel right to use – anyone with one is going to be physically engaging with it with both legs and both arms, often for long periods, and discomfort in any one area would hinder it badly.

Roccat Sova MK Review Roccat Sova MK Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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While we wouldn't quite describe the Sova as small or light, it's also not excessively big or weighty on your lap. The cushions are very good at what they do, distributing the load evenly. They're quite flexible too, not really forcing you to sit in a specific position – as long as you don't sit with your knees touching each other it should be a fairly natural fit. We also found them to be more breathable than we were expecting, and didn't have any issues with sweating, even after multiple hours while also wearing jeans.

Actually using the keyboard and a mouse on the Sova is also comfortable. The wrist-rest is definitely a must-have, in our opinion, as it really stops your arm from fatiguing and the size of it seems carefully considered. At the side closest to you, the Sova slopes downwards and there aren't any awkward protrusions or sharp edges for your arms to contend with. The hard plastic perhaps isn't the most comfortable material to rest against, but it's better than we expected and doesn't get sweaty either, not to mention that Roccat will be providing alternatives. The plastic does show up fingerprints a little, but we've definitely seen worse in this regard as well.

Roccat Sova MK Review Roccat Sova MK Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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Pleasingly, the Sova doesn't rock like a seesaw in use. We did notice, however, that occasionally when typing (i.e. both hands on the keyboard bit) the pressure from our hands on the wrist-rest would angle the Sova downwards a bit and our mouse would slide off. However, this was quickly remedied by shortening the amount of slack cable offered by the mouse bungee. The bungee we have is a handmade sample, but the mass-produced ones will have a slightly larger cable channel to accommodate more mice and we agree this is necessary as even a thin braided cable struggled to fit in properly. Despite the appeal, we probably wouldn't recommend using a wireless mouse in case it slides off, though maybe the cloth mousepad will help.

Roccat Sova MK Review Roccat Sova MK Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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So, how does the Sova actually play? We thought the non-standard keyboard layout would take some getting used to, but even with the German keys we were quickly at home. The mouse area is also well-sized; we never felt like we were running out of space. The plastic surface also offered no qualms when it came to tracking accuracy. Importantly, the Sova remains comfortable to use over long time – we were quite happy sat down with it for multiple hours at a time.

Roccat Sova MK Review Roccat Sova MK Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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The keyboard itself has a pleasant blue backlight with five hardware-controlled brightness levels. TTC, better known for mouse switches, is responsible for the mechanical switches that are designed to replicate Cherry MX Browns. The switches are definitely superior to membrane ones, with a decent light, tactile action that's less spongy than certain Kailh switches we've used, but there are other differences. The bump, for example, is more pronounced – how you feel about this will be a matter of preference. More worryingly, the actuation point is not completely in line with the bump – it's possible to push through the bump but not have the key actuate, which is less than ideal since the whole point of the tactility is to indicate a successful press. However, and this is important, this was only revealed through deliberate, slow presses of the switches – in hours of general typing and gaming we never noticed a single missed key, and we'd wager that it would be extremely rare for it to ever happen in normal use. That said, there was one switch that appeared to be broken, sometimes not registering even with the key bottomed out. Now, on the one hand, this is an early sample that hasn't be subjected to the same QA processes as the mass-produced ones will be, and this issue would definitely qualify any customer for an RMA. Equally, however, we've never had this happen with a Cherry MX switch, despite having tested dozens of keyboards. The last thing to note about the TTC Brown switches is that they will be the only ones on offer, at least initially.

Roccat Sova MK Review Roccat Sova MK Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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Onboard functions include media and volume control, shortcuts, and on-the-fly macro recording. The keyboard will be fully supported by the Swarm software upon release, but sadly Roccat didn't have a software package for us to use. Still, we're told it will have all the usual features – five onboard profiles, macro recording, illumination control and key reprogramming, including EasyShift[+], where the Caps lock acts as an FN key to give almost every other key a secondary, programmable function. Swarm is one of the best software packages out there, so we're confident Roccat will deliver here again.

Conclusion

This is the first product of its type that we've tested, but even so it certainly feels like it's been done right. We have a few reservations regarding the switch quality, and the plastic construction lacks a premium feel, but overall the design is great. It's very easy to work with and comfortable for both gaming and general PC use over long hours. We also like the modular elements like the wrist-rest, mousepad and rear rails section. The mouse bungee and anti-trip cable are also sensible inclusions. We do think it could be cheaper - £20 off the MSRPs would be very appealing – but equally it's pretty good value compared to the competition, especially with the introductory offer of the free Kova mouse. If playing PC games in the living room with a keyboard and mouse tickles your fancy, we reckon the Sova has what it takes.
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