Review: Cougar X3 gaming keyboard

The Cougar Attack X3 is a solid mechanical gaming keyboard backed by good software and good overall design, although it has relatively few frills to truly distinguish itself from its many competitors.

Feature highlights and specifications

cougar5

 The Cougar Attack X3 gaming keyboard is about as boring a gaming keyboard as you could hope for, meaning it does its job well enough that you won’t really know it’s there (aside from the awkwardness that would occur attempting to game on a PC sans keyboard.)

But there’s also relatively little, if anything, to get excited about.

The Cougar X3 is a straightforward mechanical keyboard based on standard Cherry MX mechanical switches, with models available for each switch type (red, brown, black, and blue). The review unit was equipped with Cherry MX blue switches (a personal favorite).

The keys are backed by red LED lighting with 4 brightness levels as well as a ‘breathing’ option if you like your keyboard to pulse with unfathomable red gaming power. 3 macro buttons, 4 polling rates (125/250/500/1000Hz), and media functions can be accessed via the FN+F1-F8 keys.

There are also 3 dedicated media buttons for mute, volume up and volume down. Believe it or not, this is probably the keyboard’s coolest extra feature. (I get a lot of use out of dedicated, convenient volume control keys.)

COUGAR ATTACK X3 Gaming Keyboard features and specifications

cougar6

  • Cherry MX mechanical switch (Red, Blue, Brown, or Black)
  • 6-key / N-key rollover
  • LED backlighting with 4 brightness levels
  • On-board memory for storing profiles
  • Polling rate: 125Hz/250Hz/500Hz/1000Hz (1ms)
  • Aluminum backplane with raised keys
  • 1.8m Braided USB cable

Dimensions

  • 170(L) X 467(W) X 40(H) mm
  • 6.69(L) X18.39(W) X 1.57(H) Inch
  • Weight 0.9kg (1.98 lb.)

Similar to Corsair’s gaming keyboards, the Cougar Attack X3 also has an aluminum back plane and raised keys. This is a design I’ve become increasingly fond of as well; with raised keys you don’t have to worry so much about pet hair, dust, food, etc. getting into your keyboard, nor do you have to clean it as much. Anyone with pet *ssholes (otherwise known as cats), who like to unceremoniously sleep on or walk across keyboards can relate.

Performance

cougar3

The difficulty in writing about the Cougar Attack X3 comes largely from that fact that it’s a good product, but it does little (if anything) that really distinguishes itself from competing products. There’s very little to complain about, but there’s very little to truly crow about either, although I can still give a nod to its dedicated volume control keys.

The Cougar Attack X3 performs exactly as you’d expect a Cherry MX Blue switch-based mechanical keyboard to perform. It’s noisy, precise, and equally adept at gaming as it is for typing. It’s also equally adept at driving office mates to nigh madness, just like Razer’s BlackWidow, a perpetual personal favorite.

I didn’t experience any ghosting and the X3 behaved exactly as expected. I doubt the usefulness of changing the polling rate for the keyboard, so I’m not sure why Cougar made a point of assigning dedicated alternate key functions (FN+F5 through F8) to that purpose.

I also would have preferred a few extra dedicated macro keys instead of alternate key functions (FN+F1-F4). You can assign any key on the keyboard to run a macro, so if you want to re-purpose the arrow keys or any other key to a macro or more useful function you can. However, it’s still not quite as useful or convenient as dedicated, programmable keys.

The dedicated media volume keys (mute, volume up, and volume down) are definitely appreciated—not quite as elegant as the roller-wheel solution on Logitech’s G910, but still very nice to have.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Cougar Attack X3 is otherwise a simple beast, with no other outstanding features—no USB pass-through connectors or audio pass-through connectors, for example. Cougar’s software is intuitive and very easy to use.

The macro recording capabilities of the keyboard are quite good, enabling you to record delay times, standard delay times, or no delay times—and the Cougar UIX software makes organizing and assigning macro functions intuitive.

Overall: 7/10 – Recommended

The Cougar Attack X3 is a solid mechanical keyboard with few frills. At around $100 its biggest problem (if you can call it that) is simply that it doesn’t distinguish itself from the competition.

And its price tag puts it firmly in the realm of the better-known (and sexier) Razer BlackWidow 2016 (~$105), which has essentially the same feature set but more powerful, flexible software and more features (USB/Audio pass through connectors). However, if you prefer the aluminum backplane and the raised keys, then the Cougar X3 is a solid choice.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s