PC gamers need no longer be confined to the back room – advances in TV technology and compact PC cases mean that it's possiblr to partake in a bit of gaming from the comfort of the living room. However, having to deal with wired mouse and keyboard in such a scenario can prove a bit of a faff. Although bog-standard Bluetooth keyboards are now fairly cheap, they can't compare to a proper mechanical keyboard. With the Lapdog, Corsair looks to solve this problem in one expensive swoop.
The Corsair Lapdog consists of a base unit that can house one of Corsair’s keyboards and a mouse of your choice; it all connects to your PC via a single cable. With a padded underside and integrated mouse mat, the Lapdog provides everything you should need for stable and comfortable gaming from the sofa. It's like a much larger version of the Razer Turret keyboard and mouse combination.
The Lapdog is made of two main sections: a tough plastic piece on which sit the mousemat and keyboard, and a second plate that magnetically attaches to the underside to provide the padding.
Related: Best Gaming Keyboards
Usefully, it's possible to replace the actual padding on the latter section without having to invest in a complete unit. Considering the abuse it may incur, and the fact that it isn't washable – nor can it be wiped down like the rest of the Lapdog – this is an advantage.
The plates are 2mm-thick slabs of aluminium, consisting of the 277 x 251mm mousemat, a top piece into which you can hide and cables, a lower section that holds the bottom edge of the keyboard, and an optional piece that comes into play only if you're using the shorter K65 range of keyboards that don’t feature a number pad.
Corsair has made quite a name for itself for producing mechanical keyboards with a premium vibe and solid feel, so it’s great to see it continue in that vein with the Lapdog.
However, those who prefer another brand of keyboard are out of luck since the Lapdog is only compatible with the company’s K70 and K65 keyboards. You can use any mouse, though.
The Lapdog includes a fully powered two-port USB 3.0 hub that can be used for connecting a USB headset, attaching another set of peripherals (for multi-player on a single computer perhaps), or just charging your phone.
Setting up the Lapdog requires the removal of the top plate and mousemat; depending on whether you’re using a full-sized K70 keyboard or the shorter K65, you may need to remove the central metal plate, too.
Inside, there are a couple of USB ports into which you plug the mouse and keyboard (ignore the second USB plug on the keyboard) then it’s simply a case of tucking all the excess cable beneath the top plate and mousemat. The keyboard’s cables won't be visible at all; with regards to the mouse, you simply thread as much cable as you need out through a channel under the top plate, just next to the mousemat.
As already mentioned, it's possible to use any mouse of your choosing with the Lapdog, and in theory you can even opt for a different mouse mat if you’re not a fan of the Lapdog's hard plastic mousing surfaces. However, the one included is perfectly good, and its raised edges along the right and bottom ensure your mouse stops short of sliding off the unit.
The slight downside to the whole setup is that you do still need a cable to connect it all to your PC – this isn’t a wireless solution. What’s more, Corsair also recommends you provide extra power to the Lapdog courtesy of the included power supply.
However, Corsair has made what is potentially quite a cumbersome setup as simple as possible. The company provides a long 16ft (4.8m) cable for trailing to your PC. In addition, not only does the Lapdog require the use of just one USB 3.0 port to connect to your PC/console, but it also runs that extra power up to the Lapdog as well. As a result, you can have the power supply plugged in next to your PC and not have two cables dangling over your lap.
What’s more, the power supply is simply "recommended", it isn't mandatory. You’ll need it to use the extra USB ports – for charging a phone, for example – but for only the keyboard and mouse, the single USB should suffice. It worked throughout testing even on a USB 2.0 socket.
Most apparent on first using the Lapdog is just how stable and comfortable it feels.
The entire setup is sturdy enough to ensure that the tapping of your fingers on the keyboard and movement of the mouse doesn't cause the Lapdog to wobble at all, while the padded underside stops it from sliding around on your lap.
In addition, the mouse mat is plenty big enough not to feel cramped. I experienced no issues while playing a more intense FPS, for instance, where the mouse was flying around at breakneck speed.
The Corsair Lapdog isn't perfect, however.
First is that the lack of a raised edge along the front of the mousemat, which results in the mouse sliding off in that direction if left unattended in some sitting positions.
Then there’s the fact that it's quite a large and heavy setup. Although this adds to the Lapdog's overall sturdiness and stability in use, it also makes it a little cumbersome to store and carry around.
Also, personally I found the natural keyboard position to be little too far to the left. While you can just shuffle the whole thing over a bit, to achieve what I considered a comfortable typing position resulted in the Lapdog being so far to the right that it was only a inch or so from balancing entirely on my right leg, therefore becoming unstable.
The lack of a wrist rest also affects comfort. Since there’s no room to add one, you'll either have to adopt a raised-wrist typing position – which, is of course what we should all do anyway – or let your hands drop and type at an awkward angle and touch the rather sharp edges.
These comfort issues aside, the Lapdog works impressively well. You really can play FPS to a reasonably competitive level or type out a lengthy document all from the comfort of your sofa. All the while, you have only one cable to deal with and one stable, all-in-one unit to pickup and put down in between sessions.
Assuming your living room is big enough, it’s definitely the sort of thing you could have stored next to the TV and drag out when needed, without much hassle.
The Lapdog could be seen as something of a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, or at least an overly engineered solution to a fairly minor problem. However, if you can identify with that problem then the Lapdog most definitely solves it.
Related: Best Gaming Laptops
It brings a level of convenience and ease of use to using a keyboard and mouse from a sofa that I haven't witnessed before, and in doing so genuinely opens the door to playing games such as Titanfall 2 withthe competitive edge a keyboard and mouse can bring.
Combine this with the fact that it’s a well thought through and a well made bit of kit, and the Lapdog goes a long way to justifying what is undeniably a high asking price.
Not the cheapest bit of kit for living room gaming, but the Corsair Lapdog provides a stable and comfortable solution for gamers.