PAX Australia 2016 has been and gone. There were hundreds of games, mountains of swag and for me at least, one of the biggest displays of technology, gaming peripherals and eye watering PC’s we have ever seen. Although everything we managed to get our hands on was exciting, none impressed us more than the ROCCAT booth.
We hadn’t seen or managed to get our hands on any of the expansive range of ROCCAT gaming peripherals prior to hitting the PAX booth and I can safely say that is an absolute travesty. From the moment I laid eyes on the Sova, Skeltr and Suora keyboards it was love at first sight. Sleek, stylish and well made the ROCCAT series of keyboards looks to give gamers the sexy looks, optimized functionality, and high performance for the most demanding gaming sessions.
Thanks to Greg Mellier, the Product Manager for the ROCCAT booth we managed to get some hands on time with the Suora and Sova keyboards specifically, and even a play on the new Skeltr smart communications keyboard. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s kick things off with a bit about ROCCAT themselves.
ROCCAT have been around for quite some time and are a German based gaming peripheral manufacturer dealing in mice, keyboards, headsets, and general gaming accessories. Besides being predominantly based in the overseas market, ROCCAT are becoming a well-known and trusted gaming brand here in Australia. Although they currently don’t have a significant hold in some of the more prominent online retailers (looking at you PCCG, Scorptec and PLE) you can get a hold of their gear here. Based on our short but memorable play tests we certainly hope to see ROCCAT featured far and wide in the near future. ROCCAT have also cemented their presence in the E-Sports arena with fully sponsored teams in the League of Legends European Championship Series since 2014.
But your here to find out if their gear is any good right? Well, let’s get started with the SOVA gaming lapboard. Pretty much exactly as it sounds the SOVA allows you to game while sitting comfortably on your lounge, recliner, bed or even on the loo if you so desired. Built in mechanical keyboard (with the SOVA MK variation), high performance interchangeable mouse mat and lap cushions and even a breakaway cable for that unfortunate pedestrian drive buy in the lounge room the SOVA is a great lapboard. Attach any mouse you wish and your good to go. We managed to get a decent session in playing some Borderlands 2….it’s safe to say getting Brad to move on was like trying to get Roach to ride in a straight line in Witcher 3. Comfortable, well balanced and easy to use the SOVA had no issues catering for any playstyle we threw at it.
While Brad was otherwise indisposed we moved on to check out the SUORA. Unfortunately the brand spanking new SUORA FX wasn’t on display as it’s still not officially released yet (don’t worry, it’ll be available from 6th of December) however the SUORA is pretty much the same model just without the customizable RGB back lighting and illumination options. The base SUORA features a sleek frameless design, high quality mechanical switch keys, 6 customizable macro keys, individual blue LED backlighting and advanced anti-ghosting functionality. Focusing on a solid minimalist design there was no bulky arm rest, thumb keys or cumbersome media keys, just the essentials. It was beautiful in its simplicity and extremely comfortable and responsive to play with. The only negative we took away from this bad boy was the fact it had no RGB options, locking you into a neon blue backlight. To be fair, the LED’s on this board were excellent even in the bright and blaring PAX show floor. But it won’t be long before the SUORA FX is out and we can bask in the glory of 16.8 million different colors!
Last but not least we got to take a look the SKELTR. A membrane based keyboard featuring RGB backlight illumination, silent keystroke (via rubber dome technology) and a detachable wrist rest. Not overly impressive I hear you say, well that’s just the bare bones of what this keyboard offers.
On top of the standard membrane keyboard the SKELTR focusses on connectivity and communication by way of allowing you to tether your own smart phone and/or tablet directly to the keyboard. A universal docking slot for your favorite tablet or smart phone allows you to seamlessly switch between in game action and type directly to your device. I can see this being exceptionally handy at times while you’re in game and notice the notification light flickering on your phone. It also compliments this with a physical toggle switch to make and receive calls directly to your phone when tethered and also comes with a companion app called the ROCCAT Power-Grid giving you direct control over your PC. Time will tell if these options are actually used or not, but we are definitely keen to see this in action some more!
Unfortunately we only had so much time to get a hold of all that the ROCCAT booth had to offer, as it turns out over an hour wasn’t nearly enough time for us. In fact we ended up being physically removed from the hall, it took dozens of PAX Enforcers to form a line not unlike a riot squad and step by step force us out of the hall (yup, we really couldn’t get Brad off that couch). We look forward to seeing the new SUORA FX and anything else we can get our hands on from ROCCAT in the future. For us at least we have a new contender for our favorite gaming peripherals brand!
We’d also like to thank Greg and Sarah for giving us the tour of the ROCCAT booth, it was definitely one of our highlights of PAX Australia 2016.