Recently, I had the chance to try out a different kind of product than I usually cover: the NerdyTec Couchmaster Cycon (2). In a real way, it’s a portable gaming desk designed for your couch. If you’ve ever tried to balance a keyboard on your lap and mouse from a couch cushion, you already know what a product like this can offer, but is it worth the $190 to What can the Cycon do that a piece of wood cannot? Find out in this review.
- MSRP: $179 (NerdyTec)
- Inputs: 6x 3.0 USB Ports
- 15ft Power Supply, usb cable
- 1x Side Pocket
- Built-in cable management
- Colors: Black, Fusion Grey, Cyber Punk
- Dimensions cushion: 60x20x16 cm
- Dimensions support board: 82x33x3 cm
- Cushion Material: Suede look (microfiber)
As a PC gamer, I never gave much thought to my gaming setup when it comes to my living room. The opportunity to test such a unique product, really made me ponder why I had let this slip for so long. The prospect of being able to play PC games on my PC was compelling and the Cycon proposed to solve the biggest problem that kept me from trying for so long: using a mouse and keyboard from the couch/recliner.
The Cycon (2) is a mobile desk, of sorts. It features a hard desktop surface that’s just over 32 inches wide and 13 inches deep. It’s flanked by a pair of long cushions that go on either side of you while sitting, allowing you to rest your arms in a natural position. It’s not the first product that’s tried to solve this problem.
The Razer Turret and Roccat Sova both accomplish the same, but do so with built-in keyboards and dedicated mouse space. Both of those products come with at least one needed peripheral (the Turret comes with both, the Sova just provides the keyboard) but the Cycon requires you bring your own. This does give you more freedom in choosing peripherals you’re comfortable with but also means you’ll need to purchase those separately or bring them from your desktop PC. On the other hand, the ergonomics of the Cycon are much better due to the larger cushions and height of the board. The $179 starting price is a full $70 cheaper than the Turret – and about the same as the Sova – so it’s closer to even comparing against Razer.
For that cost, you would expect easy connectivity and some additional features. Thankfully, the Cycon delivers. It features a total of 6 USB ports, two of which are accessible from the outside, with the other four being housed under the desk surface for clean cable management. One of the rear USB ports supports quick charging, too, for your phone or wireless peripheral in need of a quick juicing. For your keyboard, mouse, and headset, the desk surface features smart cutouts to route the wires under the surface to the IO dock. It also connects to your PC with a single cable and for the external power supply.
The product comes almost fully assembled, so getting up and running is fairly easy. All you have to do is bring your accessories. With the included double-sided velcro I was able to attach my keyboard to the surface to keep it in place during movement. This step is not required it was nice that they thought ahead. speaking of thinking ahead, the Cycon (2) even comes with an attached pouch for storing your remote or even smartphone.
Looking at the product as a whole, it’s well constructed and made of durable plastic material for the desk top. The microfiber suede arm supports are stiff enough to provide support while being soft enough to provide cushioning for your arms. One of the downsides is that the desktop doesn’t attach to the arms. Though this is very helpful for quickly getting up (and the reason it’s not attached), it would have been nice to see some optional way to secure it to more easily move as a whole unit.
Where the Couchmaster surprised me was with the additional uses I didn’t initially consider: a laptop table to use in bed, for example. Or, a writing desk for homework or jotting down short stories (which my wife inspired!).
One of the challenging areas is in just how large it is. I have an L-shaped couch which limited the ways I could set up the Couchmaster. With the right end of my couch being the only side to face the TV I was forced to adapt. Since the top isn’t attached, the unit is more modular than a normal lapdesk. I was able to take advantage of this modularity by omitting one of the arms and just using the armrest on my couch. Finally, all set and ready to go I found that due to sitting in a more natural way thus improving ergonomics and my posture – one of the biggest reasons for the elevated design with the cushions.
The only thing missing, RGB! With all the devices out there featuring RGB lighting, I feel this was a missed opportunity as the top of the desk has translucent plastic parts that seem perfect, almost begging for RGB lighting. The good news, since the shell is easy to access adding your own RGB strip is affordable and easy since the USB port to power the strip is inside already.
Also worth noting is that Nerdytec provides optional “Gadgets” that can be purchased to use with the Cycon (2). This includes a tablet holder, mobile phone holder, and a Nerdytray (trashcan/ashtray). These gadgets simply connect onto the support board using clamps.
I wanted to review this product for two core reasons. First, I wanted to see If the product would work in a meaningful way for each use case that I need. To my surprise, the Cycon passed with flying colors and resolved several problems both apparent (using a mouse and keyboard on the couch) and hidden (ergonomics). Second, it’s not often we see products that are different like this. I appreciate innovation and risk-taking and this definitely fits the bill. With a cost of $179, it may be hard for some users to justify, but if you’re looking for a way to play PC games from the couch without hurting your back, this is a great way to accomplish it.The product described in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.