How advanced are keyboards going to get before we actually have to start reading the manuals that come with them? Well, Cougar has created one of the most advanced mechanical gaming keyboards we’ve seen to date with the 700k, but the software that’s bundled with it makes it incredibly easy to set-up and use. Let me preface my Cougar 700k keyboard review to let you know that I’ve spent nearly a week with it, and I am a heavy PC user (as all web editors are). I spend an average of 10 hours per day working on my PC, and another 2 or 3 hours gaming on it daily (right now, the PC games that I’m playing are H1Z1, CS:GO, Cities: Skylines, and I just jumped back into WildStar). So how does the Cougar 700K fare?
Simply put, the Cougar 700K keyboard is the best keyboard I’ve ever used (and I’ve tested out quite a few of them over the years). No, that’s not a hyperbolic statement nor did Cougar pay me to say that, but it’s a statement I stand behind. The first and most noticeable thing about using the Cougar 700K is how fast I can actually type with. The layout of the keyboard is very well done, with customizable buttons along the left side, a space bar that is split in half (allowing you to customize the right half of it), and there are mode buttons at the top that allow you to immediately change profiles (which you can set up through the Cougar UIX System application). The unique keyboard layout helps set the Cougar 700K apart from other mechanical keyboards on the market, with the G1-G5 keys on the left being easily accessible with your left pinky finger, and a split space bar that adds a 6th custom key that you can hit with your thumb. The only strange change made to the keyboard is that Cougar replaced the Windows key with an FN key, and moved the Windows key to the right side of the keyboard. It’s not a huge deal, especially since you can just create a custom set of windows keys anyway.
The Cougar 700K also has an adjustable repeat rate with 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x options, as well as an adjustable polling rate (up to 1000 Hz). You can also adjust the intensity of the backlighting with simple button presses, and you can also customize what keys are backlit by picking certain keys.
As far as the design of the 700K is concerned, it has a solid aluminum base that not only looks great and allows for easy cleanup. It has a nice weight to it, so it really requires purpose to move it at all. It comes with an adjustable hand rest that you can put on either the left or the right side of the bottom of the keyboard to rest your hand on. It is, of course, USB, but also has a female USB slot at the top of it so that you can plug another peripheral in. There are also audio and microphone jacks next to the USB slot. The main cable is braided, so it really would take a lot for it to break. As far as the specs are concerned, it has a 32-bit ARM Cortext-M0 processor contained within, as well as its own on-board memory.
The orange lighting adds a nice, cool glow to your gaming PC, and my only complaint about the Cougar 700K is that you can’t change the color of the LED. Not that I mind the orange necessarily, it’s just that the rest of my gaming rig has a blue glow, and it would’ve been great to be able to customize the color like you can with some of the other high-end gaming keyboards available. But the light can be turned off if you so choose, and you can also set your keyboard up so that it goes into sleep mode after two, four, six or eight minutes, and there are three different sleep modes to choose from, each of which bring a new light design when the keyboard goes to sleep. One provides sort-of dancing lights similar to something you’d see on a music program, another scrolls from left to right, and the third mode scrolls from bottom to top. In fact, in the week I’ve owned the Cougar 700K, every random visitor that popped into my house noted the “cool light show.”
Cougar is starting to make a name for itself outside of just PC Cases and PSUs. Their line of keyboards is quickly making a name for itself, and the 700K is a great addition to their lineup. The Cougar 700k gaming mechanical keyboard allows for lightning quick typing and key presses, looks great, and has a ton of customization options (excluding LED color, unfortunately).Still, if your only problem is that you can’t change the color — which is the case for the Cougar 700K — I’d say you’ve got quite an impressive keyboard to sell to gamers.
- Aluminum body
- Great layout
- Cool Sleep Mode Light Animations
- Only one LED color