Considering everything in the construction of the 450K is made of plastic, the keyboard is still rigid and solidly designed. Using hybrid mechanical switches does take some getting used to, but they also have a feel unlike rubber domes, and there is no real direct comparison to a mechanical switch either. They are stiffer than reds, have a tactile feel when pressed, but do not have that clunk against the plate that mechanical keys have either. For normal usage, we like the 450K and what it offers, and we feel that many who cannot afford a top tier mechanical keyboard now have an option that won't break the bank like Topre hybrid switch keyboards do.
As good as the keyboard feels, and as well as it works, we did find a couple of issues that needed to be addressed. First of all, there is an image on the Cougar site that shows which keys are covered in the anti-ghosting keys. The twenty-six keys shown are all on the left side of the keyboard, but even so, we found that you cannot hold both shift keys and get the X-key to even register. This is something that should not happen and is the point of anti-ghosting in the first place.
The second issue we have is less a mechanical issue, but more of a personal issue with the lighting. While we have been spoiled by the individual LEDs in mechanical keyboards, we felt the lighting here is dim, almost too dim to be worthwhile. If lights are on in the room, there is only a faint hint of color through the legends, and even with the lights off, lighting is not all that great.
What the 450K hybrid mechanical keyboard does do though is still worth all of the near $60 asking price. While it is sad that if you live between the Pacific and Atlantic, you cannot yet access this keyboard, this is the most affordable hybrid key solution we have ever tested. Keeping that in mind, I guess we cannot expect brilliant lighting when it has to pass through the membrane and the key caps, and since we get color options on top of everything the UIX System software offers, we really cannot complain all that much; it is what it is.
All things considered, if they can sort out the X-key anti-ghosting issue with a firmware update, everything will work as intended, and all of the features offered in this design exceeds the price point. Coming from someone who loves mechanical switches, and almost loathes membrane switches anymore, we have a hard time finding a real reason anyone should pass this by. At this price point, when they do hit shelves in the US, we feel that no matter your preference in switch types, it is hard to pass by the Cougar 450K Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.
Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS X99-E WS - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 5930K - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair H100i GTX - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: KLevv Cras DDR4 3000 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Video Card: ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Intel 730 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: SilverStone TJ11 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||89%|
|Value for Money||95%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||90%|
The Bottom Line: The 450K from Cougar is a serious contender for your hard earned money. There is enough in the feature set and software to keep most gamers happy, and with this sort of cost associated with a hybrid switch, at $60, you will be hard pressed to get into this type of keyboard from anywhere else anywhere near this price.
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