Cougar Computex 2015 Booth Tour: $60 Hybrid Mechanical Keyboardby Kristian Vättö on June 9, 2015 10:25 AM EST
Every time I go to a trade show I come back with at least one or two highlights that really impressed me. At this year's Computex one of my highlights was from a product category that usually I barely even follow: keyboards. I've been a strong advocate for mechanical keyboards ever since I got my first one a few years ago, but the obstacle I still face is that people aren't ready to fork out close to $100 for a keyboard. Hence I was very excited when Cougar showcased its upcoming 400K and 450K hybrid mechanical keyboards with the cheaper 400K version being priced at only $60.
What makes the 400K and 450K hybrid is the fact that the keys are ultimately membrane based, but have a mechanical-like feedback (I will save an in-depth analysis to E.). I played around with the 400K for a few minutes and I have to say I really liked the feeling of the key feedback was very close to a real mechanical keyboard, although we certainly need a longer time with the keyboard before drawing a final verdict.
The 450K differs from the 400K by offering 3-color backlight as well as support for Cougar UIX software for custom key mapping. With such a short testing time it's hard to say whether the 400K and 450K can truly replace a mechanical keyboard, but nevertheless Cougar at least offers a viable option to those whose budget can't afford a proper mechanical keyboard. The 400K and 450K will be available in the next two months and we are eagerly looking forward to getting one in for review.
Another interesting aspect of the 400K and 450K is the splash-proof design. Since there's a membrane between the key and PCB, the keyboard can stand a splash of liquid unlike most mechanical keyboards. That's useful specifically for Internet cafes and other public computers, but it's certainly a nice feature to have in home environment as well.
Moving on to power supplies, Cougar demonstrated its CMD Series with Digital Power feature. Basically the end-user can play around with the PSU voltages using Cougar's software, which is a niche feature but for overclockers and others who like to tinker with their systems it can be handy. Note that the software only allows ~5% changes as per Intel's guidelines as larger changes could potentially damage hardware in case the end-user isn't fully aware of his doings.
Cougar also announced a new mini-ITX case called QBX. The design is fairly neutral and stylish to my eye compared to some of the more enthusiast cases and it can fit a full size GPU for high detail gaming.
Check out the gallery for more products. We will also have a review of the 600K mechanical keyboard and 600M gaming mouse out in a short while, so stay tuned!
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bigboxes - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - linkSorry, but a membrane keyboard is not a mechanical keyboard no matter the sound of the keys. It's like attaching a huge wing to a neon. In the end, it's still not a sports car.
inighthawki - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - linkThe point is that it actually feels like a mechanical keyboard, not just sounds like one (seriously, who would buy a membrane keyboard just to SOUND like a mechanical keyboard? Worst of both worlds...). The point is that for a cheaper price you can have something that actually functions similarly. He even said in the review that it feels pretty similar to the real thing. Maybe wait for a full review before assuming it's a bad idea.
bigboxes - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - linkI have my opinions and read the article, thank you very much. It's a crap keyboard that's only use is to spill your drink on it. It's not a mechanical keyboard in any sense of the word. I actually like the clicky sound so that's not a bad think IMO. If you like crappy membrane boards then by all means by this kb.
inighthawki - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - linkGreat - then this keyboard isn't meant for you, I guess. It's meant for those who want the feel of mechanical with a cheaper cost.
But you don't know that "it's a crap keyboard" just because it isn't built the way you prefer. Why does it matter how the internals are designed if it works as intended? Considering you've never used the keyboard, I would say you really don't have a valid opinion here - or at least certainly not a valid enough one to make assumptions about its quality.
bigboxes - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - linkYou're right. I never used that particular model. I stand by my opinion that it isn't even remotely mechanical in nature. I have four membrane keyboards in my possession. I still have my old Intel keyboard in a box. I keep it because it's built like a tank. Sure wish Intel didn't get out of the peripheral business. However, no matter how good the keyboard you can't duplicate the performance and feel of a mechanical switch. It took me only one time and I as typing considerably faster with the mechanical switches. I realize that people have different needs. I mean my primary concern was spilling soda all over my keyboard then I'd be all over this Cougar like a mature lady and a young buck. When my friend spilled beer on my Cherry keyboard, I unplugged it, rinsed it with tap water, shook off the excess water and let it air dry for a day. I was fine until it was completely drive because I had another Cherry keyboard that I used as a back up. I believe that they cost me $60 a piece.
meacupla - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - linka proper hybrid keyboard would be mechanical switches, but waterproof, or at the very least, water resistant.
Mr Perfect - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - link*cough* Model M *cough*
Sttm - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - linkNo dedicated media keys, no thank you. That alt modifier garbage gets real old real fast when you are playing something and have to try and stretch your hand out and 2 key it, instead of just a tap.
abcslayer - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - linkIn China, there are million of these "hybrid mechanical/fake mechanical" or "mechanical feeling". Marketing term is suck. Their price is about 10-25$.
It is not mechanical at all.
Mr Perfect - Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - linkWhat are the "switches" like? Just scissor switches like on laptops?