Futura Gamers Desk Review

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Futura Gamers Desk Company: LapWorks
Platform: PC

The living room was once the domain of console gamers. Designed for the couch and family television, playing on a game console meant lounging back on the couch and playing a game displayed on the television. PC gaming, by contrast, has always been the overpowered, braniac cousin, confined to an office or back-room, and not introduced to polite company. That's changing. With HD televisions increasingly common, and gaming PCs capable of driving games at the resolutions those HD televisions can support, PC gamers are asserting their own claim to the living room. Lap Works has created the Futura Gamers Desk for those pioneers who want to play first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and other PC games on the TV in the living room, lounging on the couch.

Kyle Ackerman

The Futura Gamers Desk is a great, lightweight computer desk for laptop users on the go. It can be folded to take up little space, is nearly indestructible and makes a great travel work surface in even the most unlikely workspaces. As a surface to help transform your living room into a hardcore gamer's den, the Futura Gamers Desk is lacking. It's great for casual gaming or the more staid pace of, say, a turn-based strategy game or even most massively multiplayer online games, but isn't up to the needs of competitive real-time strategy or first-person shooter fans.

Futura Gamers DeskFirst, the desk... For $40, you get a folding polycarbonate surface with rubberized pads to prevent it from slipping. You also get two "MouzPads" that can be clipped to either end of the folding desk. With both MouzPads, the whole surface is nearly 27" long and 11" wide in the middle (a little less at the ends) and weighs less than two pounds. There is a hinge in the middle so that the desk can fold, but that also means that if you move the desk, it will sometimes fold up over a knee, dropping the mouse.

The desk, even without a MouzPad, is great for a laptop. It provides improved airflow and is more comfortable than just putting the laptop across your... well... lap. For slower-paced games, it works just as well. With one MouzPad attached, you can operate a normal-sized keyboard with room to spare for the mouse. With a MouzPad at either end, the entire assembly is large enough for an oversized gaming keyboard like Logitech's G15 with one MouzPad still free to support a mouse. If you prefer a special mousing surface, the whole thing just isn't ever large enough to support a large, specialty mousing surface.

Futura Gamers DeskIn use, the Futura Gamers Desk was great for anything that didn't require split-second timing. For turn-based games like Civilization IV and massively multiplayer online games, the desk worked really well and comfortably for a living room PC setup. For real-time strategy games and first-person shooters, there were two problems. One was that the desk sometimes folded on the hinge, dropping the mouse on the couch. That's not too awful in single-player games, but in multiplayer online sessions, it can be costly. Also, the MouzPad is small, and not as sensitive as a top-notch mousing surface. That's a big deal if, like me, you prefer to make very small mouse movements with a very sensitive mouse. If you like to make broad, sweeping movements with the mouse, then the MouzPad just isn't big enough. Fortunately, based on similar feedback, LapWorks is currently working on MouzPads that will be 2-3 inches larger. You'll have to be the judge of whether that's big enough for you.

Ultimately, the Futura Gamers Desk is a nice desk for casual users, laptop users and travelers, but it falls short when used as a surface for PC gamers in the living room, reclining in a couch or chair. Right now, a large piece of wood (like a bit of shelving) may not be as cool or light as the Futura Gamers Desk, but it works better as a surface for hardcore gamers. The Futura Gamers Desk still needs to be larger (and LapWorks is working on a larger version) and needs a way to lock the central hinge before it will be an ideal surface for serious FPS and RTS gamers.

10/29/2008 Update: LapWorks has launched the "Max" MouzPad for its Futura Gamers Desk. The new pad is 9" x 11" (rather than the 6" x 9" original MouzPads), making for quite a substantial addition on either side of the desk, along with clips to keep cords in check. With a single Max MouzPad attached (I preferred to also have a regular-sized MouzPad on the opposite side), the overall Futura Gamers Desk provides more than enough room even for gamers who like to flail a mouse around like a ribbon-twirling gymnast. The MouzPad certainly eliminates concerns about size, although the desk will still fold if you move too abruptly.

Even though the Futura Gamers Desk with both a regular MouzPad and Max MouzPad runs an additional $5, bringing the total cost of the desk up to $45 from $40, it's a low-cost and comfortably air-permeable base for people who want to use a full PC setup on the couch.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on July 8, 2008 1:32 PM.

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