The COUGAR 700K is something out of this world, its features and specs are a new step in gaming keyboard functionality, and for what it’s worth, there is really nothing else like it.
The COUGAR 700K is a pretty keyboard; it makes a statement on your desk while it flashes away in silence. Thanks to its backlit keys, the keyboard constantly has an orange glow to it. You can adjust this with a simple press of a button, and turn it off completely. One issue I did find was when leaving it alone for 2 minutes it starts to put on a show for you, this was great and all during the day and at night while I was awake, but when it was time to hit the sack and I left my PC downloading, it felt like I was in a club, and had to unplug it. This was later rectified by changing a setting on the COUGAR UIX, the dedicated software used to modify the settings on the keyboard.
The keyboard boasts a beautiful brushed aluminium design that covers the entire face of it. This makes it easy to clean, it also adds some sheen to the concept of a boring plastic keyboard. At the bottom of it you will find a simple plastic design with some rubber feet that act as grips. I felt that the design was one of the strongest points, and it really showed what direction a simple keyboard could go in. The built in USB, mic, and headphone jack is a godsend. This allowed for ease of use by simply plugging in a mic, headset, or USB to the top of the keyboard. Gone are the days of bending over and trying to get your accessories plugged in at the back of your PC (I mean who puts things that need to be plugged in at the back?).
Now for the more advanced features. The COUGAR 700K has built in 512KB of memory and a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 processor. Now before you go and Google all this, I can tell you what it is for. The processor helps make all the fancy features work properly, and the memory is there to store your presets. You can have up to three modes stored on the keyboard at any given time, this helps when playing a game that you need tailor made shortcuts and G keys, and don’t want to exit and map them for each game. The COUGAR 700K has a repeat rate of 1x/2x/4x/8x, this allows for super-fast pressing of a key at the rate you choose, useful for games that require quick key pressing.
I can also tell you that the COUGAR 700K is a very comfortable keyboard to use. It has a detachable palm rest that helps keep your hand rested during those long gaming sessions. I could not type well with the keyboard though, given that the buttons are so far apart compared to the usual laptop keyboard, but it is built for gaming, not work. There is also nifty software that you can launch to tweak the backlit keys and remap all your keys. The keyboard also runs on its own firmware so any bugs or issues could easily be ironed out with an update.
Although I loved my time with the COUGAR 700k, and everyone that saw it on my desk thought it was an alien contraption, it is very hard for me to justify the asking price of R1899.00 (the suggested retail price from COUGAR is R1778.00). Sure, I am a hardcore gamer, but I don’t see myself using half the features that this beast packs. Maybe in time I would find ways to use the keyboard to its full potential. Regardless, the COUGAR 700K is a landmark in keyboard design and aesthetic appeal. It’s a sturdy keyboard with a great feature set, made for gamers. If you loved any previous COUGAR products, know that all the love and attention has been put into the 700K. A pricey keyboard that many could justify purchasing, I would simply buy it for its design, and the sound it makes when you type – oh yes, it sounds good!
This review was conducted on a review unit supplied by COUGAR. COUGAR products are available through Landmark PC, Computers Only and Titan Ice. You can also purchase the products online at EVETECH, Rebel Tech and Wootware.