A while back I wrote an article about my switch to the world of mechanical keyboards for PC gaming. I liked what the mechanical keyboard had to offer, and definitely found more value in them over membrane keyboards with excessive features crammed in. We're almost a year on from that article, and it's now time to take a look around at what other keyboards are out there.
COUGAR first intrigued me with the announcement of their 600k, a simplified version of the popular 700k gaming keyboard. The 600k was to sport the same quality of construction, but eschew most of the additional function keys of the 700k. Seeing as I'm an FPS player, and can't remember the last time I used a macro, I definitely wanted to take a look at the COUGAR 600k.
Upon Closer Inspection
At first glance, the COUGAR 600k looks like a lot like the 700k, sporting the same key layout and being made with the same fit and finish as its bigger brother. When you start to look closer, you see the changes COUGAR has made to simplify this keyboard. First and foremost, there are no more macro keys. The 600k just has a standard 104-key layout. There are some additional function keys for changing the key repeat rate, for media controls, and for lighting control.
The keys also aren't fully lit, with only the arrows and WASD cluster getting the backlight treatment. On the backend, you'll find that the additional function keys are supported natively by the OS. You don't need any additional drivers from COUGAR to get this keyboard up and running fully.
COUGAR does offer the same customization options when you order the 600k, where you have the choice between Cherry MX black, red, brown, and blue switches. Our review unit came with Cherry MX blue switches, making for a much more clicky experience than my previous one with mechanical keyboards. You can of course get the full specs for the COUGAR 600k from the product page.
Plug It in, Plug It In
Since the 600k doesn't require any drivers, setup was as painless as can be for a keyboard. Just plug it in and go.
Without delay, I spooled up the fast paced online shooters like QuakeLive, Team Fortress 2, and Planetside 2. This time I also found myself jumping into some slower single player experiences, having never actually cracked open Deus Ex: Human Revolution before. Hey, when an opportunity to play some top rated games presents itself, I’m not going to back away.