The dream of playing PC games in your living room has been with us for many years. This kind of setup has been possible to pull off for a long time, through some combination of special PC builds and various esoteric cables to connect your rig to your television, but the convenience factor has been seriously lacking. Typical wireless mice and keyboards aren't ideal for gaming, and arranging a proper keyboard and mouse setup on your coffee table or for use in an armchair never feels quite right. Other solutions for bringing PC games to the living room, like the Steam Link or NVIDIA SHIELD console, have issues of their own.
But now, finally, proper solutions are available. Multiple gaming peripheral companies are releasing full-fledged lap gaming setups, complete with either wireless functionality or extra-long cords to reach from your living room rig to the couch. With the arrival of VR bringing high-powered PCs to different rooms of the house, the need for couch-appropriate gaming tech is greater than ever.
Enter the LAPDOG from Corsair. Called a "gaming control center," The LAPDOG works with your existing K70 or K65 keyboard and any USB mouse to provide a fully-featured answer to the issue of couch-based gaming.
What's up, LAPDOG?
The LAPDOG is a big beast, with a generous mousepad and a well-cushioned underside. It's a bit heavier and more bulky than you might expect, which is a double-edged sword. It isn't uncomfortable to have on your lap by any means, but setting it down when you're done with it or moving it around on the fly feels a little more challenging than it should be. While it's in place, though, the weight of the thing gives you a solid foundation that keeps things sturdy no matter how intense the gaming action gets.
Size also becomes an issue when you try to answer the question of where, exactly, you're supposed to put the LAPDOG in your living room when you aren't using it. It's too big to easily slip away somewhere, so you'll need to have a dedicated space for it on a shelf or something unless you want it dominating your coffee table or just hanging out on the floor, waiting to be stepped on.
The LAPDOG isn't flashy or eye-catching, but its look and feel is actually just what you want from a piece of tech that will become a fixture in your living room. If you hook up an RGB keyboard you'll have the full suite of colors and lighting options available to you, of course, but it was a wise design move to make the LAPDOG relatively unassuming on its own. The cable management is also a nice touch, as you're able to stash the USB cords for your keyboard and mouse inside the body of the lapdesk itself.
When considering the LAPDOG it's important to factor in the cost of the keyboard and mouse you'll want to use with it, as it doesn't do anything on its own. Because of the way cable management works in the LAPDOG, it's impossible to unplug either peripheral without unscrewing the top aluminum panel (or ignoring the directions and plugging in your mouse to an exterior USB port). Because of this design, don't plan on swapping your devices from your LAPDOG to your desk on the fly. If you don't already have an extra K70 or K65 and a gaming mouse, you'll need to buy them.
The LAPDOG is made of high-quality materials, including a tough aluminum surface that matches the construction of the K70 keyboard line. There's a weak point in the construction in the form of the magnets attaching the underside pads to the top section of the LAPDOG, but this likely won't be a problem under normal use conditions. We only discovered the issue after separating the pieces a half-dozen times, when two of the magnets fell out, but since there's really no reason for a typical user to need to disassemble the LAPDOG so much it's not a huge issue. If you're concerned, make sure to slide the sections apart to separate them, rather than pulling straight upward. If something does go wrong with the magnets, a drop of superglue to get them back in place fixed the issue for us.
Aside from the ability to work with any K70 or K65 keyboard and take advantage of all the built-in features of those boards, the LAPDOG has a few other bells and whistles you can appreciate. It has an extra-large mousepad surface which should satisfy gamers of various mouse sensitivity levels, and it sports a 4-port powered USB port built-in as well, which even supports fast-charging for phones or tablets. To use these powered ports you need to plug the lapdog in with an additional power adapter above and beyond the USB connection to your tower, so make sure you have an extra spot on your surge protector if you want to take advantage of this feature.
The cord that will run from your LAPDOG to your PC is 16 feet long, which should be enough for any setup where you're still capable of seeing your television. We may someday see a wireless version of a lapdesk this robust, but for now you'll need to accept the reality of a wire running from your PC to your couch.
Hours and hours of couch gaming?
As previously mentioned, the size of the LAPDOG can be both a blessing and a curse. There is plenty of padding on the underside so you won't have to worry about leg discomfort, but it also requires a bit of shifting to get the keyboard in the right place on your lap for extended typing, rather than gaming. It's also a little awkward to pass to another person on the couch, if you want to hand over control of your PC to another user.
But if what you're looking for is a big beast of a thing to handle real, actual hardcore gaming on your couch, the LAPDOG delivers. You have the option of picking from any of the different switch options the K70 line offers, and you can add any gaming mouse you want to complete your setup. The LAPDOG isn't as sturdy as a proper desk, of course, but its as close as you're likely to get in this kind of package.
One thing that struck me and others as odd about the LAPDOG is that the back end of it isn't more angled/elevated. With your feet flat on the floor and the LAPDOG on your lap, the whole thing tends to tilt slightly downward towards your knees, which led to me (and a few other people who tried it) standing on our tiptoes as a reflex, elevating the back end of the board in the same way keyboard feet can on a desk. If you have your feet up on a stool or table this angle isn't an issue, as your knees will be elevated naturally, but you should think about the position that will be most comfortable for your to game long-term when considering a LAPDOG.
The biggest single comfort issue for the LAPDOG is the lack of any real palm or wrist support at the bottom of the keyboard, which seems like a pretty big oversight, especially considering the generous rests that come with popular Corsair keyboards. The LAPDOG offers little more than a rather sheer metal edge, which isn't sharp enough to cut you but isn't comfortable against your palm for extended WASD gaming. A pillow or cushion in the right place can make this less of an issue, but it's a shame the LAPDOG doesn't take care of this on its own.
One more comfort note you should be aware of is the question of what you are supposed to do with your elbows while using the LAPDOG (or other similar lapdesk). You'll probably want some kind of support to avoid long-term fatigue, so keep that in mind when imagining your LAPDOG setup. An easy chair is actually perfect for this (better even than a couch) but you can also achieve a comfortable setup by using some pillows and the armrest of your sofa.