Review: Cougar 550M gaming mouse

The Cougar 550M gaming mouse is one of the best Cougar gaming mice I’ve reviewed. And at a budget-friendly price of around sixty bucks, it might even make Grumpy Cat smile.

Cougar 550m features and technical specifications

 Here’s the quick rundown of features for the Cougar 550M gaming mouse. Skip down for the complete review.
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Cougar 550M (Credit: Cougar)
  • Sensor: SDNS-3988 Optical gaming sensor
  • Resolution: 50-6400 DPI
  • Polling rate: 1000Hz / 1ms
  • On-board memory: 512KB
  • Software: COUGAR UIX™ SYSTEM
  • Programmable buttons: 6
  • Switches: OMRON gaming switches
  • Lighting: 2-ZONE 16.8 million colors
  • Frame rate: 12500 FPS
  • Maximum tracking speed: 200 IPS
  • Maximum acceleration: 50 G
  • Cable length: 1.8m Braided
  • Dimensions: 135(L) X 70(W) X 45(H) mm
  • Weight: 120g

Feature and design highlights

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Cougar 550m (Credit: Cougar)

Cougar gets almost everything right with the 550M, but the real magic is in its finely tuned switches and buttons. The left and right mouse buttons in particular offer some of the best ‘click action’ of any mice I’ve ever tested, and they are easily on par with the best the likes of SteelSeries, Logitech, and Razer can offer.

The 550M switches provide a virtually perfect balance of stiffness and tactile feedback, being neither too stiff to click or too soft.

The 550M’s large, rubberized scroll wheel is not quite as well fine-tuned for gaming. But what it sacrifices in click-by-click, tactile scrolling (and perhaps perceived precision) it makes up for in a smooth, (almost) free-rolling feel. It’s definitely not as stiff and precise as most gaming mice, but it’s much more comfortable for Web surfing, work, and other applications. As a button, however, it provides a good, solid middle-click.

The thumb buttons are large, easy to feel and reach, and provide a good balance of precision and accessibility. The top button behind the scroll wheel (which defaults to profile switching) is interesting in that it pulls back and down.

On the whole I like the design. It’s a bit stiff and sometimes causes you to pull the mouse back a little when you press it, but it’s not generally a button you’re likely you to use in the heat of battle. And sliding your finger back from the scroll wheel and into the ‘notch’ to pull the button is intuitive and easy to feel—there’s no ‘button hunting’ required.

Comfort and design

The top of the 550M is smooth, matte plastic, with textured-plastic sides. The choice of construction materials is my only real gripe (and a fairly minor one) with the 550M. I would have preferred textured-rubber side grips and a soft-touch backside—but the superb buttons and switches make up for it.

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Cougar 550M (Credit: Cougar)

The 550M shape is designed for right-handers but otherwise neutral overall, making it good for nearly any grip style.

Software

The Cougar UIX software is easy to use and offers enough features and customization options to put it on largely on par with similar software from their competitors, such as Razer’s Synapse software and Logitech’s Gaming Software. (A couple more DPI settings would have been appreciated, although 3 is usually enough.)

You can adjust polling rate, assign 3 different DPI settings, and create macros to assign to its extra buttons. The macro editor is pretty robust, enabling you to use custom, standardized delay times, recorded delay times, or no delay times—and you can even enter mouse coordinates as part of a macro (if you’re daring enough to experiment with such). You can also set 2 different, independently-lit zones on the mouse to any color you choose.

Performance

I fell in love with the 550m’s buttons almost out of the box, and even more so when I fired up SMITE and a The Witcher 3 and continued playing with it. And even though I am generally partial to textured rubber grips, the 550m’s plastic finish felt fine under the fingertips.

Bottom line? The 550M is easily the best mouse yet from Cougar, and I can honestly say that I like it a bit better than Cougar’s 700M.

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Overall: 8/10 – Recommended

The Cougar 500M is an excellent gaming mouse and priced competitively around $60. Come for the switches, stay for the clicks.

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