Taming the Cougar 600K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Design and Features

In keeping with its minimalistic theme, the Cougar 600K doesn't include things like a key removal tool or or custom gaming key caps, as some other manufacturers do. However, you get three guitar pick-shape and sized Cougar stickers, an information booklet, and a detachable wrist rest with a magnetic FPS palm rest that attaches to the left side. The palm rest adds additional height and a level of comfort for your palm when using the WASD keys.

Cougar 600K Main

Cougar's 600K definitely has a distinct look compared to traditional keyboards. According to Cougar, inspiration for the design came from military stealth technology, and specifically warships, hence the "carefully selected geometrical shapes." Hyperbolic claims aside, the 600K is probably a bit on the tacky side for a professional work environment, but for a gaming setup, as it's intended, it would fit right in.

The keys float above an attractive brushed aluminum sheet that covers the length of the keyboard and wraps around the sides at an angle. Not only does the aluminum give the 600K a bit of sex appeal, it also makes the keyboard a bit more sturdy without adding significant weight to an otherwise plastic chassis. Gold colored screws with circular grooves (like a vinyl record, which for you young folks is an old fart's CD) complement the black and aluminum finish and add to the overall industrial design.

It's difficult to see in pictures, but the 600K's key caps have a matte finish that feels decidedly different than the glossy keys on the Das Keyboard. Having used Das Keyboard models for several years now, I hadn't really considered the surface feel of the key caps. After spending some time with the 600K, I give a slight nod to the matte finish, as the glossy keys feel almost greasy by comparison.

Cougar 600K Arrow KeysCougar 600K WASD Keys

Full-keyboard backlighting is a no-go on the 600K, though in lieu of that, Cougar backlit the WASD and dedicated arrow key clusters, the two sets that are most commonly used for directional controls in games. There are five settings for the backlight:

  1. Off
  2. High
  3. Medium
  4. Low
  5. Breathing

The backlight is orange, and since there are no custom drivers or software, you can't change the color or adjust the effects, such as speeding up or slowing down the breathing effect. If you want full-key backlighting, it's available on the 700K.

Cougar 600K Repeater Keys

You can adjust the repeat rate of keys for games in order to issue commands faster, however. For non-gaming applications, anything higher than 1x, which is 10 words per second, can quickly become annoying. The 2X setting bumps up the repeat rate to 20 words per second, and 4X and 8X increase it to 40 and 80 words per second, respectively.

Cougar 600K NKey

There's quite a bit to cover on the right side of the 600K. There's a dedicated number pad, above which sits a series of media controls, including mute and volume adjustments on the aluminum portion and play/pause, stop, rewind/skip back, forward/skip ahead keys on the top bar.

You'll also find the backlight adjustment and Windows lock buttons on the top row. Beneath those are the 6-Key Rollover and N-Key Rollover keys integrated into the Scroll Lock and Pause Break keys. To initiate 6-Key Rollover, you press the left Windows and Screen Lock keys, and for N-Key Rollover, which lets you press more than six keys at the same time, you press the left Windows key and Pause Break keys.

Cougar 600K Cables
Cougar 600K USB Port

There are two USB connectors to plug into your PC. One is for the keyboard itself, and the other is for USB-passthrough, as there's a single USB 2.0 port on the upper-right section behind the media keys. What you won't find are audio ports.

Cougar 600K Palm Rest

I don't typically use wrist rests, and perhaps that's something I'll pay for in my twilight years. Whatever, by then we'll all have bionic limbs anyway. That said, I do like the feel of the rubber palm rest for gaming. What I don't like is that the textured finished seems to act as a sort of sluice box for dust, trapping bits of debris and dead skin flakes. A quick blast of compressed air is all it takes to clean it off, or I suppose you could rinse it off with water.

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