With the relatively recent releases of powerful ITX based gaming systems and cases, PCs are slowly but surely absorbing a portion of the living room gaming market away from consoles. The shape and bulk of PC gaming systems however is just part of the problem, as the control of the systems still relies on a keyboard and mouse, which can be very inconvenient into a living room in comparison to a wireless console controller.

Introduction

Several products seeking the convenient control of HTPC systems inside a living room have been introduced in the past, yet none of them could address the issue of PC gaming without introducing a controller into the equation. The use of a wireless gamepad rarely was the answer, as the majority of PC games have been designed for keyboard and mouse control. Therefore, those that wanted to have a PC gaming system into their living room would have to somehow bring a keyboard and mouse near them, and that is rarely convenient when sitting on a couch and no flat surface. The lean-back nature of a couch also precludes any self-standing tray device that didn't fold into the lap of the user. This makes it more difficult when the user wants to use a mechanical gaming keyboard; wireless gaming mice can be found, but no wireless mechanical keyboards are available.

Corsair clearly wants a piece of the living room gaming market, as their upcoming Bulldog barebones is a system designed with that specific purpose in mind. Small and elegant as the system might be, the company knew that the need to use a keyboard and mouse would be a deterring factor for many users who would still feel forced to the neatness of the gamepad controller. To that end, Corsair’s engineers designed the Lapdog, a “gaming control center” that seeks to make the use of a keyboard and mouse on a couch convenient and to keep everything tidy enough for use inside a modern living room. At this point we should mention that Corsair has been gathering and analyzing the feedback received ever since the announcement of the concept design several months ago, leading to a significantly different final retail product.

Packaging and bundle

We received the Lapdog inside a long, sturdy cardboard box. The artwork is limited to the company logo and schematics of the supported keyboards. Inside the box, the hardware is well protected with a combination of polystyrene foam and cardboard pieces, as well as nylon bags.

Inside the box we found a short but sufficient instructions manual, an AC power adapter and a very long (about five meters) cable. Corsair cleverly combined the USB cable and the AC power adaptor cable, meaning that only one cable needs to be connected between the system and the Lapdog and that the AC power adaptor should be near/behind the system. It should be noted that the AC adaptor is not needed when the Lapdog is connected to a USB 3.0 port, and only needs to be used if other USB devices are plugged in to the keyboard or a USB 2.0 port is used.

The Corsair Lapdog Gaming Control Center
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  • FH123 - Thursday, May 26, 2016 - link

    This looks fairly bulky for your lap. If you like a trackpoint, as I do, simply get a Thinkpad travel keyboard. This offers a keyboard and mouse, with palm rests, in the space of a laptop keyboard. It basically is a laptop keyboard and, being based on Thinkpad designs, one of the best.

    The trackpoint doesn't have the speed and accuracy of a desktop mouse. I wouldn't recommend it for competitive multi-player FPS games, but it is well suited for everything else. It is, in fact, like a little joystick and one of it's benefits is that you never run out of space, like you can with a mouse.
    Reply
  • ajlueke - Thursday, May 26, 2016 - link

    I have always been a huge proponent of hooking a PC up in the living room. Since the launch of the AMD 5800 series, full HD audio was available over an HDMI cable without a separate sound card. I can hook up my PC to my receiver and game in glorious surround sound. Plug in a Xbox controller and your good to go...for many games. Some games are still best with the mouse and keyboard.
    To that end, I have been using a Lapworks lap desk to hold my favorite mouse and keyboard since the last decade. But here, finally, we have a new solution! The Corsair Lapdog, and it's...the same thing? But wait, the lap desk has been tailored to fit the keyboard, and we threw in a USB hub! All sarcasm aside, I really don't see how a custom built tray is really helping anyone here.
    The Bulldog, at 20 Liters, is hardly a small ITX case either. I am really interested in the PC in the living room and improving that experience. Hopefully we can get a review of the Razer Turret down the road? That device seems potentially far more interesting.
    Reply
  • guachi - Thursday, May 26, 2016 - link

    This looks interesting. Too bad the box, which says "Zero Compromise", is wrong. You have the compromise of having to be right handed to use it. :( Reply
  • T1.S - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    For me the Couchmaster from http://www.nerdytec.com has already solved all problems that the lapdog has.

    - Much more ergonomic
    - Free choice of the equipment you want to use (no limitation to only two keyboards)
    - Also free choice of the mousepad
    - Left handed can use it as well
    Reply
  • lmcd - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    Confused why there's no place on the bottom for optional legs. If you're sitting on the couch and you have the space, why not at least leave the option for legs to raise it and stabilize it? Reply
  • redfirebird15 - Saturday, May 28, 2016 - link

    I like the idea of gaming on the big screen, but this probably won't fit the bill simply due to ergonomics. I mean, sitting at a desk and sitting anywhere else in the house are two very different positions. I just can't picture a one size fits all approach compensating for the hundreds of different living room configurations. Reply
  • moggie - Sunday, May 29, 2016 - link

    seems like a perfect application for wireless mouse charging, but alas! Reply
  • Phrixotrichus - Friday, June 3, 2016 - link

    http://www.nerdytec.com/

    I got the couchmaster half a year ago and love it. It`s pretty expensive for what it is, but if you don`t want to build it yourself there is nothing better for couch-pc-gaming in my opinion
    Reply

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