Cougar has been producing one great keyboard after another recently and I’ve got their very latest model, the Cougar 600K Mechanical, in for review. The new keyboard features all the usual bells and whistles that you would expect from a premium grade keyboard. With a choice of Cherry MX Switches, black, red, brown and blue to choose from, adjustable repeat rates, N-Key roll over, aluminium chassis, multimedia keys and more; the 600K should be a great keyboard.
A good quality mechanical keyboard should be just as great to use day-to-day as it is any other duty, but the 600K has certainly been tailored towards the gaming market. It comes equipped with a 32-bit ARM processors, 1ms response time, USB pass through for your mouse or other USB devices, an FPS palm rest, Windows lock key and more! It certainly has a lot of features overall, so let’s just right in and take a close look at what the Cougar 600K has to offer.
In the box, you will find a hard-wired keyboard and a detachable wrist rest.
The cable has a thick high-quality braiding and two gold-plated USB connectors. Only one connector is needed for operation of the keyboard, the other for the USB pass-through (optional).
The keyboard is really nicely designed with a matte plastic trim on the top and bottom and a contrasting brushed aluminium chassis behind the keys.
Four buttons in the top left allow quick adjustments to the polling rate.
The WASD keys are laser-etched and LED back-lit.
SCR LK and PAU BRK can also be used to switch between 6K and NK rollover.
Across the top, you’ll find a lighting brightness adjustment button, windows lock and dedicated multimedia keys. There’s also some volume control keys just above the number pad.
The switches and the key caps are raised slightly above the aluminium chassis, meaning the keys won’t bottom out on the chassis; the most common cause of key clanking noises on a mechanical keyboard.
Around the back, you’ll find a single USB port, this is for the USB pass through and it’s pretty handy for connecting your headset or mouse.
Not much to see on the underside of the 600K.
The flip-up feet at the back are plastic, but they feel a lot more durable than the ones we often find on keyboards. There’s also a rubber grip on each foot to help prevent the keyboard from sliding around your desk.
The wrist rest snaps into place easy enough and also features a magnetic FPS wrist rest on the left side. Of course, you can remove this and put it on the right side of the wrist rest too, great for both left and right-handed gamers!
The WASD and the UDLR keys are the only backlit mechanical keys on this keyboard; highlighting the most vital keys for most PC games.
The lighting is really nice, with a warm rich orange glow.
Very easy to see in a dark room without being too distracting.
The aluminium chassis looks great with the under glow from the switches.
Performance on mechanical keyboards is often quite similar, regardless of which brand you choose. What matters, is what kind of small refinements and extras each brand includes to make their keyboard stand out from the next. The Cherry MX Blue switches in this keyboard as great, as they would be in any Cherry MX Blue keyboard, what does make a difference in my opinion is how they’re mounted. The keys are set just a little above the chassis, meaning they don’t bottom out too hard, making rapid successive keystrokes a lot easier and that’s good for those of you who love to mash away at your keyboards; great for StarCraft II for example. The 600K is really robust too, so even when you do start mashing at your keyboard, it stays firmly in place and the aluminium body means it doesn’t rattle around your desk when using it.
The LED lighting on the gaming keys is a nice touch too and while I prefer full key backlighting, it’s certainly better than no lighting when gaming in a dark room, as you can always find those important WASD keys at a glance.
The report rate isn’t something I rely on personally, but for those who do, having four hot-keys at the top of the keyboard to adjust it on the fly is a welcome bonus. The same goes for the N-key rollover, as you don’t need to mess around in software to adjust any of the major features.
The wrist rest in another welcome feature, helping you find a comfortable wrist position when working and the FPS wrist rest/grip is great for gaming, giving you just a little more elevation that makes long gaming sessions that little bit more comfortable.
Dedicated multimedia keys are great, especially if you like to listen to music while gaming as it means you don’t have to tab-out to change tracks or volume settings. The only issue I have is that the key types are not in keeping with the rest of the keyboard. You’ve got some harder tactile click switches and some membrane switches for the multimedia keys and having these uniform to one switch would be nice, having them be mechanical like the rest of the keyboard would be even better.
Prices on the Cougar 600K are pretty hard to nail down right now, as the keyboard isn’t fully available from most retailers, although this will change very shortly. We do know this is a stripped back model to help keep costs down and with the 700K being $150, we can assume it’ll be closer to $100.
I really like this keyboard, it’s an absolute joy to use for both day-to-day work and for gaming, although that much is true of most mechanical keyboards. This is obviously a significant investment compared to the often much cheaper membrane keyboards, but you do get a lot in return for your money. The aluminium body of the keyboard adds durability and certainly improves the overall aesthetics vs plastic body keyboards. The adjustable report rate and N-Key rollover, partial back-lighting, multimedia controls, wrist rest, FPS wrist rest, windows lock and the USB pass-through are all great features that will help improve your overall gaming experience with this keyboard; they also help justify the price.
Great build quality is a big selling point for the 600K and I really can’t find anything wrong with it in this respect; from the thick braided cable, to the durable kick-stand feet on the underside, it’s all very well put together.
The design is really nice and it’ll certainly appeal to a lot of gamers. The only gripe I have is the mixture of switch types for the multimedia keys, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.
- Great build quality
- Detachable wrist rest
- Magnetic FPS wrist rest
- Report rate hotkeys
- N-Key and 6-Key Rollover
- Braided cable
- USB passthrough
- Dedicated multimedia keys
- Click and membrane switch keys for multimedia keys
“Cougar have gone for a more focused gaming keyboard with the 600K and they’ve certainly delivered on their promise. The Cougar 600K is a great mechanical keyboard with all the core features you would expect, exceptional build quality and a great looking design overall.”
Thank you Cougar for providing us with this sample.