Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
A while back, we took a look at the Cougar flagship mechanical keyboard when we saw the 700K. While it is very unique looking, and easily discernible as a Cougar product, it offered just about everything anyone could possibly want in a keyboard. Whether it was lighting, Macros, unique shaping, sleek looks, top tier mechanical switches, a built in wrist rest, or the software to let you take full control of the keyboard, there was indeed something for everyone to appreciate with that design.
Since then, they have also offered another pair of keyboards we were sent to have a look at, one of which is mechanical, and is what we are looking at today, and soon to follow is their membrane switch version for those who like what these keyboards have to offer, but have yet to appreciate the benefits of mechanical switches. The major changes to these latter two devices are pretty simple. This time around they decided to make the keyboards run driverless, as to simplify things, and along with the fact that there are no drivers, we also lose the Macro keys.
In our opinion, unless you are a hardcore gamer, or a production guru, where Macros can be taken advantage of, there is really nothing about the Cougar 600K that we are looking at today that should sway you into needing something more. Thing is, and as you are about to see, just because they dropped the driver suite, they still figured out ways to incorporate other things that many users desire in a keyboard, like repeat rates and multimedia functionality. Without giving it all away right out of the gate, let's have a look at the specifications, see how much this keyboard will set you back, and deliver our opinion on what the 600K has to offer.
The Cougar 600K mechanical keyboard is based on Cherry MX Blue mechanical switches, well all but a few are mechanical, much like how Corsair did things years ago. It has a 32-bit ARM Core processor at the helm, allowing the functionality. This includes things like on-the-fly repeat rate adjustments, 6-key or full NKRO support over USB, and has a default polling rate of 1ms.
The keyboard is not the standard rectangular design either, and on top of that, while the lower section of the keyboard is plastic, the top, and what you see is an exposed brushed aluminum plate that supports the switches. There is a palm rest that is removable, and even further, there is a rubber pad on said rest that is also removable if the feel is not right for you. The 600K even offers a USB pass-through connection in the back so that you can keep the desk tidy and have the mouse or headset plugged into the keyboard rather than the rear I/O of the PC. At the end of the 1.8 meters of braided cable, you will find two gold plated USB 2.0 connections to support the keyboard functionality and the pass-through port, and all told, this keyboard weighs in at 1.1kg.
Looking around at the normal locations that we purchase our gear from, it seem no matter where you decide to go, the pricing is all the same for the keyboard, and even is currently offered with free shipping. What we are finding, is that while losing the drivers and the Macros keys, and also getting a slightly smaller keyboard than what the 700K was, you will be saving $20 moving to this option instead. While the MSRP was set to $139.99 we are seeing it now listed at $129.99, and if everything works as intended, we feel this pricing is not out of bounds compared to the many other offerings out there in the market today.
So, let's get to it, have a look around the 600K, see what they packed into it, and give our final word on it.
After the Review
After the Cougar 600K review went live, you know it, Cougar was none too happy with our final thought and 66 percent we awarded them for a keyboard that definitely had its issues. However, we were asked to take on a second sample and see if Cougar could not redeem themselves with a second chance. Thankfully all indeed went very well with our second sample that was so new off the presses that it even came with the latest firmware already flashed to this keyboard.
After taking the new Cougar 600K for a spin over a couple of weeks, we found no issues with it, and everything worked and delivered exactly what it was designed to do. The lighting levels and pulsation worked, most importantly the underscore key didn't sabotage us this time around. As we got more and more used to the feel of the full keyboard and number pad, as we prefer TKLs for day to day use, we found ourselves really liking the board and having no major complaints at this time.
The performance value has certainly gone up, and we cannot fault them for quality and design this time around either. The features haven't changed and neither has the bundle and packaging, but for sure their value in the Cougar 600K has certainly gone up. We are glad that Cougar got back to us and did their best to correct everything that happened, and we can only hope that if they caught wind of a customer's keyboard having issues, they will be just as swift correcting your issues too! As of now, our faith in Cougar is definitely restored, and the 600K we have now has a lot of what everyone wants, style, nice switches, functionality, and in this instance, a driverless design that is just as capable as a lot of others out there!
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