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Saturday | December 10, 2016
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Cougar 700K Review

Cougar 700K Review

A couple of months ago we reviewed a new mouse from Cougar and despite it being their first real entry into the high end gaming peripherals market it was rather impressive. Today in our Cougar 700K Review we find out if they can repeat that with a new high end keyboard.

Cougar 700K Review – Packaging and Bundle

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The 700K arrives in a large box which gives us a nice clear image of the product on the front along with some key features. Inside the keyboard is surrounded by protective foam with the bundled items separated off. One of those items is a small cardboard wallet with product info, etc. Then there is a modular wrist wrest. It connects to the keyboard if required and then has a magnetic second section which adds some height as well as a textured surface.

Cougar 700K Review – The Keyboard

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The 700K is shown above and it is clear that Cougar have been paying attention to the design used in other successful gaming keyboards. We can see little aspects of Logitech, Mad Catz and Corsair in the design which is no bad thing. In terms of dimensions we have a product which is 230x487x40mm and it weighs 1.2Kg. The main body of the keyboard is plastic however the centre section is brushed aluminimum. Turning the keyboard over we find a reasonably plain surface with some rubber feet to provide grip on our desk and two extending legs to add some tilt.

Inside the keyboard we have 512KB of memory and a 32bit ARM Cortex M0 processor which work with the software/firmware to control the board.

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Looking a little closer at the various key areas the first point of note is that all main keys use Cherry MX switches with various models available. Ours uses the MX Black, so more silent than other models, and it is worth noting that the five G keys on the left also use these. Along the top left edge of the board we find mode keys, essentially profile buttons, and some status LEDs. These give us a visual cue on what repeat speed is currently set. Repeat speed? Its how quickly a key will re-action when you hold down the button. Speeds available are 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x. To switch in hardware, as with many of the features, we hold the Fn button on the bottom left. Then we have a split space bar which uses the left side for Space and the right side is the sixth G key, which can be assigned to Space if needed.

Over on the right edge of the board we have a brightness setting button which controls the orange per key lighting, including off and pulsing. Windows Key lock is next and to the right of our standard status LEDs we then find our media controls. Also worthy of note is the 2nd function on the SCR LK and PAU BRK buttons which allow us to switch between 6Key and NKey rollover.

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Turning the board round we find USB 2.0 and 3.5mm audio passthrough. Each has a corresponding connector at the end of the braided cable with a final USB with 1000Hz/1ms polling rate for the keyboard itself.

Cougar 700K Review – Software

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Cougar call their software UIX System and as with all good peripheral control panels it allows us to control more than one device. So if we have a Cougar mouse, it uses the same app. In addition to that we can even have them fully integrated. So, as an example, if we switch to our second profile on the 700K, our mouse would switch profile automatically too.

When the software launches the first tab we see is Performance and in there we can control polling rate, backlight mode (patterns), N-Key configuration, sleep mode (LED patterns again), repeat delay and mode sync control. Key Assignment takes us into the options to re-map all keys as well as more advanced functions such as macro recording. Then in lighting control we get finer detail on the lighting options for our orange LEDs. Firmware updates are also available from Cougar and both the latest software and the firmware can be downloaded from here.

Cougar 700K Review – User Experience and Conclusion

Starting with the build quality of the 700K the first impressions when unboxing are very good. Sure there is a lot of plastic around but the aluminium section adds excellent stability and the raised key design adds some aesthetic appeal, especially as the individually lit keys shine down on the metal surface. The use of Cherry MX tech is always great to see, they are tried and trusted by a huge number of consumers and manufacturers. Looking at the design of the board the position of the extra buttons is decent and we like the range of extra features available through these. Our only significant criticism is the splitting of the space bar. Out of the box the right side is unassigned. Thats easy enough to fix and it needs fixed because anyone who types with two hands will likely use both thumbs on the space bar resulting in missed spaces. Even then though we found ourselves hitting the gap quite often and even with both sides assigned, missing spaces. Over time this happened less but really it is a design feature which just isn’t needed.

Back to the positives, the inclusion of USB and audio pass-through is a nice bonus and the software used by Cougar is simple and intuitive. Elsewhere other than the usual issue with LEDs on Cherry MX where second functions tend not to illuminate as well as the top function on keys, the typing experience is good. We are big fans of the less clicky MX keys (other brands call them stealth) as it is less intrusive for others nearby and when on voice chat. The resistance set on these keys also promotes fast typing and prevents mis-keys.

Summary: Another impressive release from Cougar. Solid build, good software and quality keys.

Gold Award

The 700K is available for approx. £95

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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