Cougar 450M Ambidextrous Optical Gaming Mouse Review

Today we spend some time with Cougar's 450M ambidextrous optical gaming mouse. While a little hard to find in the US, its price left us impressed.

Manufacturer: Cougar
12 minute read time
TweakTown's Rating: 92%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

While ambidextrous and a touch too small, the 450M still delivers! It is smooth and tracked everything we could throw at it. On top of that, it offers all sorts of features and onboard memory to store your settings, all for less than $60.

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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It seems that Cougar had started us with the best of what they have to offer when it comes to mice, offering us the 700M first. Since that review, we have steadily been pressing through the rest of the series and are now on products that are no less impressive, but we do see the series numbers dropping as we go. This time around we are offered an ambidextrous design, using an optical sensor at the heart of things, yet it still sports a pair of Omron switches to offer gamers everything they are typically used to when it comes to selecting a high-quality mouse to deal out the damage in whatever your favorite genre of games may be.

Doing a bit of homework on this latest mouse, we find that it is offered in two versions. There is a white version that offers lime green accents, and the version we were sent that is black but keeps the lime green accents. Both of these mice are provided with a shiny plastic finish on the majority of the surface, but Cougar also opts to use rubber side panels to ensure gamers do not lose their grip in long sessions of gaming. With a total of eight buttons and offering the UIX software, there are little limitations to the customization that this mouse offers.

The mouse we are getting up close and personal with today is the Cougar 450M Optical Gaming Mouse with the Black Edition moniker attached to it. As you are about to see, even though it is an ambidextrous design which a lot of right-hand users prefer not to opt into, the 450M offers a feel and customizability that makes you almost forget that it is ambidextrous in the first place. Using top tier components where it matters, offering a styling that has grown on us, all packed into a lightweight peripheral offers users comfort and ease of use with little drag or effort associated with using it.

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The chart above is provided by Cougar and covers just about everything a potential customer would want to know about this device. The Cougar 450M Gaming Mouse uses a Pixart PMW3310DW optical sensor and is capable of delivering 50 to 5000 DPI, with adjustments of 50 DPI throughout that scale. There is a total of four polling rate options, but at its maximum setting, the 450M offers a 1ms or 1000Hz polling rate. This design also provides 512KB of onboard memory to save settings, profiles, or any Macros you may want to add. There is a total of eight buttons on the 450M, two of which are Omron gaming switches while the others are a mix of red switches and pad style switches.

We are then shown the 6500 FPS frame rate of the sensor, its maximum tracking speed of 130 inches per second, and that it can be moved at up to 30Gs and still maintain tracking. The rest of the chart notes the 1.8 meters of braided cable and its gold plated USB 2.0 connection, the dimensions, and its 105-gram weight.

Off to the right of the chart, we are shown that the 450M will work with Windows from XP through 8.1, and again, we have found no issues using it in Windows 10 either. Below the system requirements, we are given a visual of the dimensions via two renderings. The top rendering shows that this mouse is 135mm from bow to stern, and is 67mm from port to starboard. As for the ergonomic shaping of the top, at its highest point, just behind the DPI button, the 450M stands at 40mm in height.

Even though we have had this 450M for a fair amount of time before writing up this review, it seems that if you would like one on this side of the pond, you will need to wait a bit longer. We did find only one listing in the US, and it was on eBay, it is the white version, and they are asking $70 for it. However, if you live on the other side of the pond, you can find this mouse at select e-tailers. We found it over there listed at £38.64 including VAT. Translated into US dollars, that comes out to roughly $55 to obtain the 450M from Cougar. Right out of the gate Cougar is stepping out with the right foot, as this is a price point that anyone can appreciate.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The packaging is typical for Cougar with the use of a black box and the product highlighted in the center. At the bottom of the front panel we are offered a list of seven essential features for the 450M, and to the right we see that this offers 16.8 million color choices, it uses the UIX system software, and of course as the image suggests, this is the Black Edition.

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Under the company logo and product name, we see three pictures on this side panel. The first one is to denote the 1000Hz polling rate capability. The second shows that the Omron switches offer five million clicks each, and the lowest image indicates the ambidextrous design of the 450M.

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On the back, we are shown there are three DPI stages backlit with different colors, side keys, a scroll wheel of gaming grade, a braided cable, anti-slip flanking, and again a mention of the color options for the pair of LEDs. Below the images we see that there is a full list of features offered in English and German, but for the nine other languages, they receive a condensed version.

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The last side of the packaging is this thinner panel which offers the logo, product name, and an image of the 450M on the top half. The lower section of this panel offers a full list of specifications very similar to the one we covered previously.

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Removing the inner packaging from the box shows that Cougar has wrapped the entire mouse with cardboard. Since the front of the box does not offer a flip open panel, it allows Cougar to protect the finish of this mouse from all angles so that it does not get damaged in transit.

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Also placed inside of the box is a sheet of stickers to put on your case, or anywhere you see fit. The user manual unfolds to show us the default button assignments, features, and specifications on the front of it. Once it is flipped over, the manual informs us to go and download the UIX software, tells us how to connect the 450M, and then moves into what they cover within the one-year warranty offered with this mouse.

Cougar 450M Gaming Mouse

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As we look at the left side of the 450M, we see a mix of shiny black plastic used on the front, top, and back of the mouse, with a large anti-slip grip area placed in the middle. It is also hard to miss the lime green accents of the buttons, the NVIDIA logo-like shape to the right of them, and the lower section that also carries this color lower into the design.

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At the heel of this mouse, we can see the green plastic to either side of the Cougar name and logo placed on the shiny black plastic. As the sides did, around the back that lime green is again visible at the bottom here too.

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The right side of the 450M is a mirror image of what we covered when we looked at the left side. This is because it is an ambidextrous design, and we are now up to a total of four buttons so far that the 450M delivers.

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At the front of the 450M, we find the center section is opened to allow for the scroll wheel and cable to emerge from the mouse. There is a gray part that surrounds both of them and does help to break up the green on black plastic parts that we have seen so far. We also see that the main buttons are smooth and rounded, and with them, as well as the click function of the scroll wheel, we are now up to seven buttons.

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The eighth and final button offered in the 450M is found at the top. As the letters on the button denote, its default function is to swap between the DPI settings, but along with all of the other buttons, it too can be reprogrammed.

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We do find 1.8 meters of braided cable, but no Velcro strap this time either. As the cable ends, the plastic connection cover offers the Cougar name on it, and as for the USB 2.0 connection, it is gold plated for this device.

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The entire bottom section of the 450M is made from lime green plastic, and it offers three feet, two at the front, and one larger one at the back. The bits of black on the sides are part of the top cover. The eye for the optical sensor is centered in this mouse and is surrounded with the product sticker that offers the serial number as well.

Inside the 450M

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Opening up the 450M shows us that the top half offers no additional weighting added to weigh it down. The lower section offers a single PCB that offers eight switches and two large LEDs, one just behind the scroll wheel, and the other under the Cougar logo in the heel.

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The left click button is backed with an Omron D2FC-F-7N switch that gives you five million clicks, and the scroll of the wheel is handled by a TTC switch.

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The red switches used for the side buttons of the 450M are unfamiliar to us with a script style IB marked on the top of them. They require a fair amount of force to activate, and also report with a solid click when pressed.

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The sensor we found in control of tracking all of the movement is indeed the PMW3310DH Pixart optical sensor. With the specifications of this sensor, you will have a challenging time trying to get this sensor not to be able to read anything you do with this mouse.

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The 450M also comes with a 32-bit ARM MCU. In this instance, Cougar has chosen the NXP LPC11U14F to take care of communications with the sensors and switches and to send it through to the PC. This is also where the onboard memory is located so that you can program the mouse and not need the software or the home PC to keep the setting you prefer to use.

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The right side of the 450M offers two more of the red switches for the side buttons, and a pad style switch for the click function of the scroll wheel. As to the one under the right click button, it too is an Omron switch that matches the one found on the other side.

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At this point, we put the 450M back together and powered it up. At this time, the default color for the logo and the scroll wheel LED is green to match the color of the outside, but these two can be changed to anything you can desire. As for the DPI button, it is currently green as well, but as you move up in DPI, it changes to blue, and then to yellow for the highest DPI level.

UIX System Software

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After installing the software and taking a mandatory firmware update, this is what we were offered in this image. The main window offers profile management, three modes or profiles to use, a performance tab, one for button assignments, and another for lighting. To the right, we have the performance section opened.

Here you can change DPI levels on both X and Y axis, and it also offers a Sniper setting as well. You can adjust the polling rate, turn off angle snapping, change the LOD, double click speed, scroll speed, and Windows pointer speed, on the right.

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Key assignments allow the changing of any of the buttons found on the mouse. In the basic tab at the top, we see that this section enables you to remap all of the default functions that the 450M offers.

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Clicking on the Advanced tab at the top then gives us the options shown below it. This allows you to remap buttons to various DPI selection modes.

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The Macro tab offers us the window to write a new Macro, put it into a group, import and export them, copy them to use as a basis for other Macros, or delete what you have done all together.

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Lighting control effects only the scroll wheel LED and the LED under the logo at the back. For these two LEDs, you can turn them off, select fully lit, or put them into a breathing mode. As to the color you want, you can choose a color in the top band, enter the RGB code, or pick from one of the ten presets along the bottom of each section.

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We then moved back to the top and clicked on the profile management tab. This allows you to create a profile and even import ones from the PC so that you can swap out the three profiles based on the games you currently play. You can add an image to each of the profiles, and we also see that the colors denoting the profiles are the same as those shown with the DPI selections. They show the one profile as white, where in reality, the LED is a lot closer to the yellow or orange end of the color wheel, not really white at all.

Final Thoughts

As we gamed and did a bunch of photo editing with the 450M, we found no issues with its functionality. Even after messing around with the software and setting things up as we wanted them, we found that again the mouse performed as expected.

We did find a few issues though with the overall design, but they are more from a personal standpoint rather than anything wrong with the design. While we like the black and green of the aesthetics, the shiny plastic used on the top does tend to show everything from hand oils and fingerprints, down to any dust from food remains. We also felt the overall size was a tad smaller than we would like to use day to day, and lastly, we did not care for the shape of the side buttons. There is a sharp edge to them, and after long hours of usage, you can feel a tender spot in your thumb from using them.

For those with smaller hands or those that game with their left hand, we still believe that you should give this mouse a try. It is lightweight and easy to move around, and even with our minor personal issues with the design of the 450M, it is a solid product to choose. Cougar uses top notch components where they are needed, and even though the secondary switches are new to us, the force required to activate them ensures there are no accidental clicks from just resting your hand on them.

Most gamers swear by using optical sensors as the basis to any mouse they choose, and with the UIX software allowing you to customize the tracking, as well as offering the option to turn off angle snapping, the 450M will do exactly what you ask of it. All without trying to predict what you want and do something entirely different to your movements.

While the design is attractive, it does not have the aggressiveness of other Cougar mice, which will be either a hit or miss for potential customers. All the same, though, we felt the shape was nice; we just wish it was a little larger to fit our hand better. Considering everything offered in the 450M and what the UIX system is capable of, and including the fact that everything can be stored on the device, it does tick a ton of checkboxes of what people like to see when purchasing a mouse.

The only thing that is killing the deal for most of us in the US is the limited availability at this time. We feel the converted pricing from the EU listings we found is fair, and at $55, we are even willing to look past our personal issues with it. In the end, we are pleased with what the 450M from Cougar is capable of, how well it glides on most surfaces, and what all can be had under either a right or left hand, and we know there are plenty of gamers out there right now pondering buying this mouse. Hopefully Cougar or US Customs can speed things up for us on this side of the pond, as our feeling is that the 450M Optical Gaming Mouse is a worthy option to those who demand a bit more from their mouse.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Quality including Design and Build88%
General Features94%
Bundle and Packaging91%
Value for Money97%

The Bottom Line: While ambidextrous and a touch too small, the 450M still delivers! It is smooth and tracked everything we could throw at it. On top of that, it offers all sorts of features and onboard memory to store your settings, all for less than $60.

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Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM and coolers.

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