COUGAR 200K: Review

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COUGAR 200K-Header
Brand:
Model: COUGAR 200K
Specifications:

    Dimensions: 165x450x23mm (LxWxH)
    Weight: 870KG
    Key Switch Durability: 5 million
    Cable: 1.6m
Product Link: COUGAR International

Ease of Learning: 4.5 / 5

Ease of Use: 4 / 5

Enjoyment: 4 / 5

Design: 3.5 / 5

Value for Money: 4 / 5

COUGAR, one of the leading manufacturers in gaming peripherals around the globe, recently released two new products to its catalogue, the 200K keyboard and the 200M mouse. Both these gaming devices were designed to bring affordable gaming devices to the market, while still providing leading performance to the user. Today, we take a look at COUGAR’s take on the scissor switch keyboard in the form of the 200K.

COUGAR 200K-01

Build and Design

Upon first look, the 200K looks like a fairly straight forward keyboard, with no obvious deviations from the norm. After a few seconds you’ll notice that two of the keys, Q and W, have dual functionality, much like the numeric keys also have symbols attached to them when used in conjunction with the Shift key. The Function keys, F1 to F12, also have separate functions, most of which are media and browser related.

The 200K is slim in terms of its thickness, but does a slight bulk to it in terms of its weight, weighing 870g. That being said, this is a gaming keyboard after all, and I can appreciate the added weight to provide a bit more solidity to prevent it moving around on your desk. When connecting the keyboard, the orange backlights automatically turn on when used for the first time. Along with each of the keys being lit, there is also a panel that runs along the front of the keyboard, which is also lit in the same colour.

COUGAR 200K-02

Performance and Features

Oddly enough, while this is a gaming device, there is no software attached to the unit, despite it offering a few tricks up its sleeve. Instead, users can control these features by means of the onboard keys. Already having mentioned a few other keys not standard on most keyboards, the 200K also includes a “lighting” key, that can be used to rotate through seven colours, and the eighth being that all the lights are turned off. In addition, using this key in conjunction with the Function key, switches the backlights to a pulsing display that runs through each of the colours.

As mentioned earlier, the Q and W keys have dual functions. The Q key function enables the users to switch between 1x speed and 2x speed of the repeat rate. While this can be useful, it isn’t as useful as the function attached to the W key. When enabled, the function switches the standard arrow keys with that of A, S, D and W. For many games, these four keys are associated with movement of your in-game character, and by switching these keys, makes it easier when using the arrow keys, without needing to reset the controls of the game. This, however, does take a few days to get used to, especially if you’ve already spent countless hours gaming in a specific mode.

Unlike many other modern gaming keyboards, the 200K uses scissor-switch keys, as opposed to the more conventional mechanical keys. While there is a science as to which type of switch provides better results, it is still a matter of preference. One of the undisputed facts of choosing mechanical over scissor-switch, is that it lasts almost 10 times longer, which means more repetitive keystrokes while gaming. That being said, scissor-switch keys are often quieter that mechanical, and also feel a lot softer on every depress.

COUGAR 200K-03

Conclusion

The issue with many gaming peripherals these days is that it’s becoming more and more of a niche market due to the rise in costs. While the products developed are of higher quality than in previous years, it threatens to pull away from a lot of budgets. COUGAR has attempted to bring some sanity to the market with the much more affordable 200K. The unit has a RRP of R430, and has a decent performance with some features thrown in for good measure, which makes is a really good buy.

2 Comments

  1. JC

    Initially I was very impressed with this keyboard, so much so that I bought a second one for the hubby. We’re both Afrikaans, and very soon figured out that special characters like Alt + 0244 and Alt + 0234 couldn’t be typed. VERY frustrating, happening on both PC’s with both keyboards, and absolutely no reference to the problem online. I assume it has to be something to do with the anti-ghosting or something, but nowhere to turn it off. If you need the Alt + function often, this keyboard is most definitely not for you.

    [UPDATE]
    Cougar has come back to us, saying they’re working on a software solution to sort the problem, but don’t have a fix yet.

    Also, after no strenuous use whatsoever (we don’t game on PC, we just like the pretty lights), the one keyboard’s “b” key keeps coming loose… will be the first time returning anything to Takealot.

    • Evan Saunders

      Thanks for the feedback JC.
      It’s always difficult to judge long term use of a product during a two week review period, so it’s always appreciated when members of the community are able to provide their feedback as well.
      Having no software to support some functions on the keyboard does make it a little trickier. In terms of the anti-ghosting and not being able to use shortcuts like alt+0244, I switched to using the numeric keypad over the standard numeric keys some time back to avoid similar issues…unless this is also where you’re having these issues.

      Thanks again for your comment.

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