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Cougar 450K Keyboard & 450M Mouse Review

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Author: Aidan / Peter Henderson
Date: December 24, 2015
Product Name: 450K / 450M
Part Number: 450K / 450M
Warranty: 1 Year

Cougar is a relatively new gaming hardware company that is still working to establish a name for itself in the crowded market for peripherals. With the 450K hybrid mechanical keyboard ($59) and 450M gaming mouse ($49), the company is looking to convert customers to its brand by splitting the difference between the premium-priced market and the low end.

450K Gaming Keyboard

 

The 450K keyboard is all plastic, and it feels well-built for its size with little flex. It has smooth plastic on the top and bottom of the keyboard, with a brushed-plastic finish in the centre. The finish is a nice touch, as it means the keyboard avoids picking up fingerprints and smudges like the aluminium of some of its competitors.

The Cherry MX lookalike hybrid mechanical switches have three-colour backlighting and are completely sealed, which the company claims makes the keyboard waterproof. It stood up to that task in our testing, but Hardware Canucks still recommends against undersea computer usage.

The Cougar switches are different from the usual Cherry MX alternatives found on other board. Cougar aimed to provide a mechanical feel without a mechanical design, giving both a solid response and a short throw. There is a fixed mechanism underneath each keycap which presses the membrane below, as opposed to the conventional rubber dome method in which the keycap itself presses the membrane directly.

The response is somewhere between the Cherry MX Blacks and Reds and although the board lacks the “click” that most Cherry MX fans enjoy, it’s quite loud when being used. The keys are satisfying and consistent, unlike most membrane keyboards, and are tough enough to hold up under prolonged usage.

The three-colour backlight, which can switch between red, green, and blue, leaves more to be desired in terms of customizability and brightness, but at this price point it’s a useful option. The software allows you to add macros, remap individual keys, and switch between multiple profiles. In all, the 450K packs a lot of features into a mid-priced board, with a solid build quality and reliable switches. It’s definitely worthy of our Dam Good Value award.

 

450M Gaming Mouse

The 450M is unfortunately less impressive than its keyboard cousin. At $49, the mouse is competing with some of the most popular offerings on the market such as the Logitech G402 and the Razer Deathadder. The ambidextrous 450m comes in an 105 grams, fairly light for a mouse of this size. It includes RGB lighting, a 5000-DPI sensor, and 1000hz polling and a 32-bit ARM processor with onboard memory.

The mouse’s sensor is excellent, with accurate movement and polling in the go-to fast-twitch game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. That’s a testament to the specs of the mouse, which would satisfy anyone in this price bracket. The problem for the 450M is the material of the mouse itself.

Inexplicably, the top of the 450M is a black, glossy plastic. Even setting aside our reviewer’s objection to the looks, the glossy finish attracts grime, grease and fingerprints when in use and even makes them stand out. It’s also more slippery that a matte plastic, which is clearly not something you want in a mouse. Cougar have obviously taken some effort to cut down on the worst aspects of the glossy plastic, but it’s still not a great choice.

The sides have a textured rubber finish, which is a lot more natural and grippy for a gaming mouse of this type. The four symmetrical side buttons are small, and our reviewer found them too thin to hit reliably. Cougar did get the positioning and feel of the large DPI switcher on the top of the mouse right, even if the mouse is not the most comfortable overall.

The scroll wheel has well-defined steps, but like many gaming mice it can be too stiff when scrolling or hitting the middle button. And it’s strange that the company decided to put vibrant green plastic on a mouse with customizable RGB lighting.

Unlike the 450K, which does a solid but not spectacular job and comes in at a great price, the 450M has enough questionable design choices to make it a much less attractive product. The pair don’t even seem like they’re from the same product line, with different accent colours and what feels like different levels of build quality. The 450M has decent hardware, but the design lets it down.

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