- Sensor: ADNS-9800, 8200dpi Processor: 32-bit ARM Cortex MCU Connectivity: Wired Buttons: 8 Polling: 1000Hz / 2ms
Ease of Learning: 4 / 5
Ease of Use: 4.5 / 5
Enjoyment: 5 / 5
Design: 4.5 / 5
Value for Money: 5 / 5
The German gaming brand, COUGAR, has been around since 2007, providing gamers with a wide variety of products across all budgets. Although the company has made a name for itself for years, it wasn’t until December 2014 when it was officially released in the South African market. COUGAR is most well-known for their fans and PSUs. Roughly a year ago, COUGAR extended their range of products to include other gaming peripherals that include mouses, keyboards, mouse pads, and cases.
FoS managed to previously review the 200M and 200K devices a few short weeks back, both of which were pretty good devices, while at the same time do not break your pocket. Only a few months back, COUGAR launched their most innovative product, the 700M Gaming Mouse, a culmination of two years’ worth of investment and engineering for the company. At an RRP of just R899, the 700M will see COUGAR compete against other more established brands, such as Razer, Logitech and R.A.T.
Build and Design
Although it doesn’t matter much in the end, first impressions tend to build a level of expectation that will excite owners of newly purchased tech. A device’s packaging goes a long way to adding to this. The 700M comes packed into a fairly straight-forward, transparent box. Although simple, its impact as immense, as you’re left with little more than the actual device to base your first judgements upon. With COUGAR being relatively new into this space, first impressions are important. When your device resembles something along the lines of the 700M, you’d want it at the centre of attention. Upon first glance, the device looks like a cross between Thermaltake’s Level 10 M and Mad Catz’s R.A.T. 9. And that’s a good thing.
The COUGAR 700M is built upon an aluminium frame, which provides extra durability and reduced weight (110g overall), as well as add a premium feel. Before using the device, the unit looks overly complicated with the potential for numerous hit-and-miss clicks during gaming. On the contrary, though, there is no real sense of being overwhelmed by the buttons, adjustable panels or weight receptacle. It may appear complicated to start, but further research of the product indicates the level of engineering and thought that went into designing the unit.
For starters, as opposed to the conventional, the 1.8m braided cables extends from the device on the left side and not the middle. COUGAR has designed a system, known as the SR Muzzle Brake, which simply a metal guide for the cable from inside the unit, to prevent the typical cable tears that occur at the starting point of the cable due to sideways movement over time. Moving over to the aerodynamics of the unit, the 700M intentionally has gaps spread across the frame to allow air to flow into areas that often carry the most heat, such as the inside of your palm. The adjustable height of the palm rest makes it easier for both claw-grip and palm-grip users to, well, grip the device. Even the dedicated sniper button has some thought to it, sitting at an angle of 45°, which their research has indicated, provides better accuracy and control over the standard 90° triggers. The side panels are finished with rubber, which has a unique hexagonal pattern that prevents slipping if your hands do become sweaty over time. The weight adjustment is something you’ll typically find in mid-engine sport cars, with the receptacle placed in the centre. Users can add another 18g of weight (x4 4.5g) if they so wish. Lastly, we have the multicolour LED light that illuminates from the front with users being able to choose from 16.8m colours, and code it to one of your previously set up profiles.
Setup and Software
As is standard with a programmable mouse, the 700M has its own software, COUGAR’s UIX System. Although it is advisable to use the software for best performance, if you’re not one for bloatware, you can always just use it with its default settings. Additionally, if you do wish to tinker with the settings, you can install the software, make the necessary changes, and then remove the software once completed. The 700M has 512KB onboard memory that allows you to save up to three profiles directly onto the device. The software also enables users to add macros when clicking any button, which is also saved onto the device. The UIX System is not complicated to use, with a simple click of the button you wish to change, and then selecting the function you want it to perform. Overall, then, setup is fairly straight-forward, and isn’t really necessary if the default settings are to your liking.
The 700M sports many industry-standard specifications for a high-end gaming mouse. These specs include 8200DPI, 1000Hz/1ms polling rate, and Omron switches (5m clicks). Where the unit does things a little different than most lies in the onboard system. It has a 32-bit ARM Cortex MCU, ADNS-9800 laser sensor, 512KB memory as previously mentioned, all of which result in a performance that yields 12000 FPS at a tracking rate of 150 IPS and 30G acceleration. But these are essentially just numbers on paper. Thankfully, in reality, the unit lives up to expectations of its spec sheet, with snappy movements on all fronts. Using the dedicated sniper button, users can customise the DPI of the mouse to provide on-the-fly precision. This feature works well both in games, and when needing a finer touch with software such as Photoshop.
After a couple of days of tinkering, prodding, and adjusting, I finally settled into a suitable rhythm and setting with the 700M review unit we received. Everything feels solid on the device, even the palm rest, which, by looks alone, would seem the most likely candidate to break first. After some heavy touches and vigorous movements, there’s nothing undue to report on the 700M after a couple of weeks.
COUGAR Speed Gaming Pad
COUGAR provided us with a gaming mouse pad alongside the 700M review unit. The mouse pad their offered was fairly large, measuring 450x400x4mm, which I had to manoeuvre underneath the side of my keyboard to ensure that it rests flush on my desktop. The pad is big enough to reduce the amount of times necessary to make standard movements without having to constantly lift the mouse. There are two other variants in size, small and medium pads measuring 260x210mm and 320x270mm, respectively. Having tested the 700M on multiple surfaces, the Speed Gaming Pad gives the unit a slight edge in performance, not to mention that added comfort for your arms resting on the desk. The cloth material on the top of the pad is woven in a weave pattern, but extremely close together to offer a near smooth surface for movement. This pattern provides greater accuracy in higher DPI modes over smooth surfaces. The bottom of the pad has a herringbone pattern for gripping the surface upon which it rests to avoid moving around while in use.
The trickiest part of a review is the switch back to your older, more conventional mouse. The harder it is a typical indication of how easily accustomed you’ve become to the new setup, as well as a suggestion on how good the mouse performs during this short review period. That being said, the COUGAR 700M is one of my favourite gaming mouses reviewed, and is a steal at under R900. At the end of the day, the 700M checks all the right boxes; looks, performance, and features. With the growing amount of gaming peripherals in this space, user experience, as well as cost, are essential ingredients to delivering a solid product. It’s difficult to see how anyone would not recommend the 700M after reviewing it.