The Cougar Attack X3 Mechanical Keyboard

The Cougar Attack X3 keyboard shares the same impressive core design as the 600K and 700K keyboards that we reviewed in the past. Cougar is taking advantage of the appearance and rigidity of aluminum to form an elegant design using simple geometric shapes. The surrounding and back frames are plastic, but the keycaps and the main PCB are directly attached to the aluminum board. Large modern characters are engraved on the keycaps. However do note that the Attack X3 doesn't come with a wrist rest.

A closer look at the Attack X3 reveals the main differences between it and the more expensive 600K/700K models. Aside from the three extra keys for volume control above the numpad, there are no extra keys on the Attack X3 for special functions or profile/mode control. In order to reduce the extra cost, Cougar replaced the left Windows key with an FN key and inserted the extra functions as secondary into the F-keys row. While the FN key is being held pressed, F1-F3 buttons switch modes, F4 changes the lighting intensity, F5-F8 change the polling rate, F9-F12 offer basic media functions and PRT SC/Pause switch between six and N-key rollover modes. Despite the lack of extra keys, the Attack X3 remains fully programmable and the functions of each and every key can be adjusted via the software, much like with the premium 700K.

  

In order to further reduce the costs, Cougar also removed the USB pass-through port that is available on the 600K/700K. There are no headset jacks either. Only the braided cable can be found exiting from the back of the keyboard. Under the keyboard we only found anti-skid pads and two basic height adjustment feet.

The backlighting of the Attack X3 is red and the keyboard lacks the ability to program per-key lighting. Only the intensity of the lighting can be adjusted via the FN+F4 key combo or the software, or a "breathing" effect mode can be set. The "Lock" keys are not illuminated by default, with Cougar using their LED lighting as the indicator, showing that the lock key is functioning when the lighting is on.

Cougar is still using genuine Cherry MX switches on the Attack X3. Our sample came with MX Blue switches, but Cougar produces the Attack X3 with all four of the common Cherry MX switches (Blue, Red, Brown and Black). The switches of the three lock keys are installed upside down, in order to illuminate the small bar at the bottom side of the key instead of the text.

Overall, the backlighting is smooth and fairly well applied. However, the single LED illuminates only half the keycap, causing considerably uneven lighting on keys with secondary characters (mostly the number and FN rows), as well as on the lock keys. This is a visual dissonance that will not be appreciated by those who greatly value the aesthetics of their desktop.

Inside the Attack X3, we found the main board permanently attached to the aluminum plate. A smaller PCB hold three electronic actuators for the volume control keys. The overall assembly/soldering job is immaculate, very clean and with no flaws to be found. The core processor is a bit of a surprise, as it is supplied by the Chinese manufacturer Sino Wealth, making this the first time we encounter one of their products. The manufacturer does not offer a datasheet for this particular processor at this point of time, but it is a low-cost 8-bit processor.

Introduction The Cougar 450M Optical Gaming Mouse
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  • BrokenCrayons - Monday, April 4, 2016 - link

    Cougar Attack X3...heh, someone in the marketing department has a warped sense of humor...a very, very warped sense of humor. I'm surprised that wasn't caught by someone before their products went on sale. Reply
  • Murloc - Monday, April 4, 2016 - link

    I don't get what they should have caught, is it something about "X3"?

    Because regardless of other references, a cougar is a predatory animal that attacks, so it's a coherent naming scheme.
    Reply
  • xchaotic - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    A very quick google search on these dangerous animals got me: "Three Dangerous Cougars Snack On Some Sausage" You must be from another planet Murloc. Reply
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - link

    Your results must just be influenced by your web history then. No combination of this product's name gives me anything other than what I'd expect.

    "Cougar" and "Cougar attack" both bring up results related to the actual animal, and any combination of the two with "X3" show only results related to this product, and nothing else.
    Reply
  • Kepe - Monday, April 4, 2016 - link

    Does someone really use the mouse with their left hand? Especially someone who plays games? I'm as left-handed as a person can be, but I've always used the mouse with my right hand. I tried using my left for that when I was a kid and I never could get used to it, thankfully. Using the mouse with the left hand would also cause all kinds of difficulties with gaming. You'd basically have to re-map every single game's keyboard controls to fit you. Some games don't allow that (crappy console ports). Also, almost all proper (gaming) mice are designed to fit the contours of the right hand, so your mouse selection would be quite thin.. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, April 4, 2016 - link

    I do. I can use a mouse right handed just well enough to use a computer with desktop applications without screwing around with the layout; but don't have the speed or fine control needed to play any game much more complicated than Angry Birds well.

    I rarely remap keys though; moving the keyboard to the right so that I can comfortably use the left half with my right hand is generally the path of least resistance. The general exception is games that use WASD for movement + surrounding keys for stuff. I rarely play that sort of game; but when I do generally end up with arrows for movement and all the stuff keys either mapped to ctrl-alt-shift-enter or some of the 12 extra buttons on my Razer Naga mouse.
    Reply
  • mr_tawan - Monday, April 4, 2016 - link

    A couple of guys I used to work with uses mouse with their left hand. They are all right handed.

    I don't really know the reason. I guessed they are trained to do so in the past company. They used to work with a Bank, which required people to key a lot of numbers.
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Monday, April 4, 2016 - link

    I was thinking that the only reason a right handed person used a mouse with their left hand is because they are keying (ten key) in numbers. Reply
  • Ukyo - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    Yes that's the reason for most including me. I'm in finance so that should explain it... lol Reply
  • nikon133 - Monday, April 4, 2016 - link

    I'm left-handed and always game with left hand on mouse... but I do use right hand for office work. I think I'm doing my left hand a favor - resting it a bit from the same position/grip. I'm guessing your lefties ex-colleagues might be doing the same?

    With that being said... my right hand did get quite better with mouse control, originally I'd still swap mouse when working in Corel/Photoshop as I was missing accuracy... but not anymore. So I could probably try gaming with right hand as well. At this stage, I do re-map everything, and such a pain in the... lower back it is. I usually use numeric 4568 keys for movement, and then remap other commands around that. I have created some "standards" that work fairly good for me - Num 0 is always reload, for example... right and down arrow keys are jump/jetpac and crouch/prone... Num Enter is Use/Open door... etc.
    Reply

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