Cougar Attack X3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Cougar is back in the labs again as we take a look at its very well priced Attack X3 mechanical gaming keyboard. Is it for you? Come and take a look.

Published Fri, Feb 19 2016 8:40 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: COUGAR

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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Cougar has become well known in the peripherals game at this point, with various solutions that we here at TweakTown have had a very hard time to find fault with. This time around we lose the basic numerical naming that has come with all of our previous samples, but for the gamers out there, you still get everything you need in this keyboard. Cougar is offering a mechanical keyboard based on Cherry MX switches with four choices. It has bright red LED backlighting, and offers profiles, adjustable polling rates, NKRO and anti-ghosting, and even can be completely remapped with Macros as well. There is nothing that this design overlooks, even for the most avid gamers out there.

The mechanical keyboard we are offered this time around is the Attack X3, and our sample was sent with one of our favorite mechanical switches, Cherry MX blues. This is a full layout keyboard that includes all of the basic functionality along with a number pad to the right, but Cougar has also made full use of the F-keys along the top to offer users plenty of options without adding a ton of extra keys. This is something we are fond of as well, as most times the extra keys make keyboards too bulky, while at the same time, the larger designs also take up much more valuable desk space. With the Attack X3, you still are offered tons of features, without the hassle associated with keyboards that creep into the massive size category.

With all of this going on with the Cougar X3 mechanical gaming keyboard, we do have quite a bit to cover. That being said, it is almost like visiting with an old friend at this point, as the styling is very familiar, as is the feel and layout. Along with this, we again are offered the UIX system of software to take full control of the device, and as per the usual, the software is straightforward and easy to use. We also like that the frequently used customizable options are offered right on the keyboard by using the Function key plus another key for quick access. At this point, we may as well get right into what you should expect from the new Cougar Attack X3, so we can offer our opinion on just how nice of a mechanical gaming keyboard Cougar has delivered.

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Cougar offers us a very thorough specification chart to go over covering features, dimensions, and system requirements. We see at the top of the chart that this is the Attack X3 gaming keyboard, and is based on Cherry MX mechanical switches. While we were offered Cherry MX blue switches, users have the choice of these or black, red, or brown switches as well. It ships with 6-key rollover support as the default mode, the Attack X3 also supports NKRO mode as well.

The entire keyboard is backlit with red LEDs, and is built to support FPR, MMORPG, MOBA, and RTS games, and even sports onboard memory to keep track of profiles, Macros, and remapping. The Attack X3 offers variable polling rates with 1000Hz as its top choice, and next we see that this keyboard is built with a plastic frame, and as they usually do, the top surface is made from brushed aluminum. We covered the UIX system; we see that they show there are ten programmable keys, yet the software allows us to do almost anything we want to the keys. Nearer the bottom of the chart, we find that this keyboard is offered with a 1.8 meter braided cable with a USB 2.0 connection at the end, along with its dimensions and near two pounds of overall weight.

Over on the right, we see that Cougar lists the Windows operating systems that the Attack X3 will run flawlessly with, but we would also like to add that we have had not one single issue with Windows 10 either. At the bottom of the right side, we are again given the dimensions, but this time with renderings of the keyboard. This is so it is easier to realize, as it shows the width of 467mm and the length of 170mm in the top rendering. Below that we also see that there is the 40mm height shown, but this can increase once the flip out feet are put to use.

Not that the Attack X3 lacks anything, but we also know that price is a huge concern, and one of the best things about this keyboard is that what it does lack is a wallet-busting price tag. If you are to shop for this keyboard via Amazon, the pricing is set at $99, and if you are a Prime member, shipping is free. However, if you would like to save a bit more money on the purchase, you can venture over to Newegg where they list it for just $84.99. At, Newegg, unless a Premier member, you do have another $5.92 to add in for shipping, but even so the price is still less than the Amazon offer currently. It is rare that we even get to see sub-$100 keyboard roll across our desk and be based on mechanical switches, and without giving it all away up front, we feel that this pricing is more than justified compared to other mechanical offerings we have reviewed or purchased.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The front of the packaging offers us the company logo, to the left, a large image of the keyboard across the middle, and to the right, we see it is a Cherry MX based offering and that Cougar is a German company in the top portion. Near the bottom we are given the Attack X3 mechanical gaming keyboard identification, while to the right of that Cougar offers a list of seven features, and icons of three more important ones.

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On one of the longer sides of the packaging, we see that Cougar offers site addresses to find out more or follow them on social media, the system requirements, and package contents. To the right of this, we see four boxes above the four switch type options, and with a round orange sticker, it is denoted that this sample is equipped with Cherry MX blue switches.

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This shorter side panel offers us the logo and company name, as well as the full product name before we get to the small image of the Attack X3 with the company address below it, to the right.

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The other long side of the box offers the logo and product naming off to the left of what we show here. What we have closed in on is the image of the Attack X3 followed by the specifications we covered on the previous page. Off to the right of this is a pair of QR codes, one leading to the product page, while the other leads to their Facebook page.

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The second smaller panel offers all of the same information we saw on its opposing panel, but this time, there is a much larger image of the product, and the information provided has been moved around a bit.

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As we move to the back of the box, we see it is sealed with anti-tamper stickers at the top, while the bulk of the panel is used to display as much information as possible. To the left, we find the keyboard with all of the secondary functions addressed, and to the right are eight images covering the features not shown in that image. The bottom then offers a list of features, which is repeated a total of twelve times to cover all of their markets.

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After slicing through the stickers, we opened the box to find the Attack X3 wrapped in plastic, and backward from most other keyboards. Aside from the keyboard, we find a thicker section near the front hiding the cabling, and under the board is the literature for the Attack X3.

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The literature we mentioned comes in the form of this smaller user manual. Inside of this fold out pamphlet, we found features listed, and image of the keyboard with all of its key layout extras explained. On the back, we are given a brief tutorial on the UIX software, how to install this device, and it even addresses the terms of the one-year warranty.

Cougar Attack X3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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From the left side of the Attack X3, we start off with a very familiar view of a Cougar keyboard. The black plastic frame wraps around the back and the front edge, as well as running along the bottom. These are all used to either encase the edge or support the brushed aluminum plate that supports the switches. We can also see that laying it flat on the table results in the key caps being angled slightly away from the user.

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The larger section of the keyboard and the 74 keys shown here all have black key caps with opaque legends. Even without lighting active at this time, everything is easy to read and to locate the secondary functionality is just as easy.

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Along the top, using the F-keys for dual functionality, we start out with the F1 through F4 keys. These are used for M1 through M3 denoting the three profiles you can swap through, and the F4 key is used to cycle through the LED lighting options.

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The F5 through F8 keys are used for the polling rate adjustments. While this can be set in the UIX software, if you need to change it on-the-fly, you can use the function key with these to change from 125, 250, 500, or 1000Hz options.

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Switching gears, the F9 through F12 are then used for multimedia functionality. There Cougar offers a play/pause button, one to stop the track, previous track, and next track features.

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The thirty-three keys to the right side of the Attack X3 covers the commands, arrows, number pad, and a few more multimedia keys. All of which are mechanical as well, except for the three multimedia keys here, which are rubber dome switches.

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Again, you can select the rollover support in the software, but it is just as easy to change them on-the-fly using the Print Screen and Pause Break command keys while pressing the Function key.

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As to the trio of rubber dome switches, these continue the multimedia functions, offering a mute key, volume down, and volume up.

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Extending the feet under the keyboard as we look at the right side of the Attack X3 offers us not only the back of the keyboard raised, but it allows the key caps to now be angled toward the user for a more ergonomic attack to the keys.

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Under the keyboard, we find two rubber feet at the front edge, and the flip out feet in the back have rubber tops which act as the feet for the back, even when they are not flipped out. There is a product sticker in the center of the panel, and also, a quality control sticker that is placed over one of the screw holes. So if you do decide to open this keyboard, Cougar will know, and likely void your warranty.

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We already made mention of the rubber used to top the flip out feet in this design, so that whether collapsed or extended, the Attack X3 has a grip on the desk. Once extended, these feet offer three-eighths of an inch increase to the back of the keyboard.

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The 1.8 meters of cable is sleeved with a black braid of cloth to cover the cable before terminating in a USB 2.0 connection that has the Cougar name imprinted on it to make it easier to find in the rear I/O panel. The only thing missing is a Velcro cable strap, as this keyboard is fully programmable and stores it all onboard the device, it would help to make traveling a bit easier with this product.

Inside the Attack X3

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Removing a few of the key caps we see that each key is molded with an opaque white plastic, which is then painted black to hide the LED lighting from view, except for where the legends are left blank to allow it to pass through each key.

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Under the caps, we find Cherry MX blue switches, each with an individual LED. For the larger keys like the shift and space bar, the torsion bars are hidden under the aluminum plate and are not attached to the key caps, making them easy to remove without potentially breaking tiny clips that hold the ends of the bars.

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The front edge of the top does not remove from the larger base section of this keyboard. The bottom section is ribbed to support the plate and eliminate any flex to the aluminum, but the back section comes off to allow the plate to be lifted and slid away from the front section for removal.

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The PCB inside of the keyboard has a quality solder job done to the switches and the LEDs. However, only the majority of the PCB has been cleaned of residue, leaving a few like those at the front edge with flux residue plainly visible.

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Because of the way the internals are connected, to remove the larger PCB, we also had to remove the section under the mute, volume down, and volume up keys. Plain to see are the contacts for rubber dome switches, rather than seeing this trio sporting mechanical switches.

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In control of the device and offering the unspecified amount of onboard memory for the trio of profiles to be stored onboard is this 16-bit MCU made by SinoWealth. This is the first we have seen this MCU, but considering what features the Attack X3 offers, this is more than capable of covering everything it needs to do.

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Once the Attack X3 was assembled again, we powered it up to check things out. We find the red LEDs, while not so photogenic, are brilliant, and the entire keyboard lights up in three brightness levels, off, or in a breathing mode. The lock keys in this design are only illuminated while active.

UIX Software

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Once we installed the software, and at that time taking a firmware update, this is the window you see first. We are looking at the performance window currently, where at the right we can change the polling rate, repeat delay, rollover mode, and test the repeat rate timing. Keep in mind that these can also be changed across the three Modes, or Profiles as they are commonly referred to.

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Under the key assignments tab, we found that each key can be set to be used as its standard function, it can be disabled, and can also be remapped or used for a Macro command. All you do is select a key, change the option at the bottom of the window, and if you wish to create a Macro, you use the window to the right. In this window, you can create groups, write a new Macro, or import and export already existing commands from the storage drive of the PC.

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In lighting control, options are very basic. While you can use the Function key along with the F4 key to cycle through these options, you can use this window to deactivate options as well. In these options, we see that there is 100% lighting, breathing mode, no lighting, 33% of it, or 66% lighting offered with the Attack X3.

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As with all of the Cougar products that use UIX and offer profiles, at the top of the main window is the Game Profile Management tab. Clicking on it allows profiles to be set using all of the options we have just covered so that each game can have its own setup. You can even upload an image of whatever you want to use for each profile if you feel the need to go that far.

Final Thoughts

Mechanically and physically, we found no issues with the Attack X3. In our usage, we found no flex to the board, or any resonance in the switches to cause vibrations felt in your fingertips over the long term. Having most of the optional settings out in front of you on the keys makes minor adjustments on-the-fly very easy to do without needing to venture into the software in the middle of a game. Everything works as intended, with NKROP fully supported over USB, and anti-ghosting that also works as intended so that every keystroke you make is read and recognized. We also like the adjustable light levels offered in the Attack X3, and at 100% there is no issue at all seeing every key from quite a distance.

The UIX software offers a lot of what you can find right on the keyboard, but there is still good reason to install it. If you wish to remap keys, it is a must, as well as those who use Macros with some regularity, as this cannot be done without the UIX in play. Also, if you wish to create game-specific profiles, you again need UIX to make this happen. The nice thing is, though, once the profile is set in the software, you can still make changes to the polling rates, lighting, or rollover modes as you go, allowing you to fine tune profiles while playing, and resetting the profile later, while not deep into the game. Even with an MCU we have not yet seen before, the Attack X3 held our profiles and settings without issue, and as we mentioned in the paragraph above, it can keep track of every keystroke at the same time without fail.

In the end, we feel that while most of the mechanical keyboard market demand that you pay $120 or more, sometimes near or above $200, the Attack X3 comes in with a much more budget friendly price while offering many of the same features. Looking for the best deal we could find, the $84.99 pricing makes this a standout product in the sea of keyboards being offered these days. Once the keyboard is set to your liking, and everything is saved in the UIX software, that also means it is then saved onboard the keyboard. This allows users to set up everything at home, pack up the Attack X3, and use it wherever you wish, without the need to reinstall the software everywhere you decide to play.

As we mentioned way back at the beginning of the review, for a newer release, you will be hard pressed to find a mechanical keyboard as well equipped or as feature rich as the Attack X3 mechanical gaming keyboard from Cougar at this price point, and is indeed worth every penny of the current asking price.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Quality including Design and Build94%
General Features91%
Bundle and Packaging88%
Value for Money99%

The Bottom Line: Cougar delivers the Attack X3 mechanical gaming keyboard that just about anyone can afford! It is packed with features, it is solidly designed, and the fact that you can get all of this for less than $100 will surely turn heads of potential buyers.

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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, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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