Yes, we did miss the interior of this keyboard in images, and that is due to one simple reason. With all of what we could access removed as far as screws, clips, and sections of the top go, there was something inside still holding it all together, and rather than to break the keyboard, we just replaced the screws and moved on. Typically we would think this may be an issue, say if you spilled something, but the way this is designed with the membrane switches, and how tall the key caps stand over the top plate, you really have to try hard to get liquid inside, even if spilling a gallon of whatever directly onto the keys. Beyond that, even while light, and being slightly flexible with the all plastic construction, they board does offer a decent feel to the way these switches depress. It isn't exactly the feel of a hybrid style switch, but has a bit more resistance on the way down that do many membrane boards we have used before.
Considering all that was lost with the 600K, we do like that Cougar takes a more full-on approach when it comes to the 500K, being based on the switches it has, you really need to pack in the features to help these boards demand the money that is being asked. While this design is a mere $40 less than a fully mechanical keyboard with lame lighting, the 500K is sure to offer not only the full backlit layout with intensity control, it also brings back the G-keys, we can swap modes on-the-fly without any help from the software, we can record Macros on the go, and as long as you like orange, we really have nothing to complain about with the looks of this keyboard either.
While we do feel that the pricing is a bit higher than others in the 500K league, we do appreciate the fact that this worked fully right out of the box, and speaking of the box, there are not many that will deliver you a keyboard with this level of protection for it. We also have never had an issue explaining our distaste for using a membrane based keyboard, but unlike the 600K we just looked at, this 500K has spent quite a few days on the desk, and while we felt a bit more finger strain over the long term, we really did not mind the actuation of these keys.
Not being able to fully take it apart to look for some form of trick of the trade, or to see if they are a hybrid design with a spring involved, we do like what they did when it comes to this 500K keyboard. Of course for us, we would opt for the 700K, but with the price point set here, and the level of features like the pass-through port, full NKRO that works, Cougar has reestablished that they are indeed very capable of making a keyboard that is comfortable, ergonomic, and specifically with the 500K, you won't break the bank, or have to make the move to mechanical heaviness just to enjoy a new Cougar keyboard.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||93%|
|Value for Money||88%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||91%|
The Bottom Line: Cougar offers the 500K with tons of features, and with the UIX system involved, there is plenty more to offer! While not the most affordable membrane based keyboard, you do get a lot of bang for the buck with this design.
PRICING: You can find the Cougar 500K 1000Hz Membrane 32 Bit ARM Keyboard (KBC500-WRNSB) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The Cougar 500K retails for $79.99 at Amazon.
Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at PLE Computer's website.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
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