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Cougar 450K Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Cougar 450K Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review
Cougar's hybrid mechanical 450K gaming keyboard goes under the microscope today. If you can't afford a full-on mechanical keyboard, check this one out.
By: Chad Sebring | Keyboards in Peripherals | Posted: Feb 11, 2016 6:55 pm
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: COUGAR

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

 

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Another keyboard crossed our desk from Cougar, but this time, things are a bit different inside. Where the 700K, 600K, and the Attack X3 (review coming soon) were all mechanical switch-based products, and the 500K was based on rubber dome switches, as we look at this latest keyboard, we find that this time around they are offering a keyboard that is opting to use hybrid mechanical switches. This means that Cougar has moved to something along the lines of the Topre hybrid switches, but it seems as though they are designing these themselves. If these were actual Topre switches, one would assume Cougar would call a spade a spade, as most keyboards sporting the Topre branded switches also demand a much higher price than even the rarest of mechanical switch keyboards.

 

 

Those who aren't familiar with a Topre switch, or what constitutes a hybrid switch on any level, let us try to get you up to speed here. Essentially the internals of these keyboards is based on rubber dome switches and a plastic contact pad that registers each keystroke. What makes these switches hybrid is the fact that above the rubber dome, there is a plunger between the keycap and the rubber dome switch. This type of switch tends to offer a mechanical switch feel, but without the click and clack associated with most of them. At the same time, hybrid switches have a feel all of their own, unlike any mechanical switch we have been able to test so far.

 

With this design, it also has the ability to allow for removable key caps, but they use a different stud than most Cherry or Kailh switches. Gone is the cross bar style stems, and in its place is a rectangular stud, much like what comes with Alps switches, and not the rounded studs we found on the Topre branded keyboards.

 

With all of the technical jargon out of the way, we can get back to specifically why we are here today, as we look at another Cougar keyboard offering. As we look at the 450K Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, we see not only a new style of switch from Cougar, but we also find a keyboard that is feature rich is what it offers outside of the switches as well. Of course, we also are offered the UIX System software to aide in optional functionality, but along with that are various LED colors, profiles, Macros, even the ability to assign mouse commands to the keyboard. At this point, with everything we have to cover for this 450K, we may as well get right to it, and show you what the Cougar 450K is all about, and specifically what it has to offer.

 

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The Cougar 450K Gaming Keyboard, as we have addressed, is the first in their lineup to offer hybrid mechanical switches. Under the switches is a white plastic plate that illuminates all of the switches, and in this design, we are offered three color choices. The keyboard is said to be designed for FPS, MMORPG, MOBA, and RTS gamers, but it is capable and comfortable to use with any game, and even in production and basic typing use. The 450K offers a 1ms polling rate, and anti-ghosting, but here it is limited to only 26 keys. To take full advantage of this keyboard, you will need to download and install the UIX System, so that you can take advantage of the ten programmable keys. There is a USB 2.0 connection at the end of 1.8 meters of standard cable, and all told, the 450K weighs in at 2.2 pounds.

 

As with all of their products we have tested this month, Cougar offers the Windows environments they feel comfortable with saying the 450K is compatible. This chart shows that from Windows XP to Windows 8.1, they guarantee there should be complete harmony between the keyboard and operating system. As we do with all our gear, we test in Windows 10, and we have found that there are no issues with this OS either. Under the system requirements, we find the dimensions section. Here along with a pair of renderings, we are shown that this 450K is 470mm wide, and it is 170mm from left to right. It also shows that the overall height is 40mm, but that measurement is taken with the extendable feet still collapsed into the base of the keyboard.

 

Just like when we tried to locate the 450M and had no luck on this side of the Atlantic, the same holds true for this 450M. As we tried to hunt it down, we found reviews for this keyboard going as far back as November of last year, so there has been plenty of time to get this product into the US market. However, they just are not available yet.

 

We did find a listing for this keyboard at Overclockers UK, and with a current conversion of cost, the 450K only demands $60 from their potential customers. Considering the cost of the better known Topre solutions tend to be near $200, this is a bargain for those looking to get their hands-on a hybrid mechanical keyboard. In fact, most times when we are sent a rubber dome solution that features what the 450K is offering, we find them to be even more expensive than what this will cost. That in and of itself says a ton about the value of the Cougar 450K, so let's see exactly what you are getting for this minimal investment.

 

 

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

 

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