Cougar PURI TKL Review – Mechanical TKL On A Budget
Cougar Puri TKL2018
The Cougar brand is one that has found most of its success on giving you more for less. The Puri TKL is not much different with its pricing hitting an incredibly low $65 on Newegg for a fully mechanical keyboard, while still providing a detachable cable, and nice features like angle adjustment and LED Backlighting. With this keyboard I will be stepping out of my comfort zone, as I've never used a TKL keyboard before and generally buy/review more high end and full keyboards.
Cougar Puri TKL (Cherry MX RED) Specifications
- Compact design
- N-key rollover
- 3-step height and angle adjustment
- Multimedia and function key shortcuts
- White LED backlighting
- 1000Hz polling rate
- Magnetic protective cover
- Detachable USB cable
- 150 x 370 x 40 mm (5.9 x 14.5 x 1.57 inch)
- 1.2 KG (2.64 pounds)
- 20 backlight presets
Taking this out of the box I was quite impressed by its small footprint. While I have a large surface for my keyboard, those with space at a premium on the desk can get a lot out of this small keyboard. The lack of a wrist rest is totally understandable but something I sorely missed, the ergonomics are solid and after a few hours of use and writing a news article or two I acclimated to the differences and felt quite comfortable, though the lack of a number pad is something I did miss. I know for many gamers the numpad is something they never use but the utility is something that I took for granted.
It's construction and build quality are good for the price bracket it is in and isn't bad, but it doesn't compare to the higher end keyboards from Corsair or the Patriot Viper V770 I personally use. That being said it was still very sturdy and had almost no flex, taking quite a lot of pressure to get it to bend at all, so I wouldn't worry about having to baby this keyboard during travel, especially with the included magnetic travel cover (more on that later). The mechanical architecture uses Cherry MX Red switches with an actuation force of 45G and ABS plastic keycaps. It feels solid and has a bit of weight to it but not enough to make traveling an issue, there are 8 screws total on the top and bottom which are used to hold the magnetic cover in place. The bottom side has two separate kick stands for adjusting the height with 3 angles to use what fits you best (I used the highest one), the keycaps felt comfortable to rest my fingers on and had a bit of extra room for those with larger fingers.
The USB cable is braided and detachable which allows replacements to be easily found in case of damage to the wire or fraying, and also has channels to route the keyboard from the middle, left or right in order to minimize clutter, this to me was a huge bonus and a feature I didn't expect on a cheaper keyboard. Cougar also includes metal keycaps to replace WASD and arrow keys, though I left the standard keys on.
The magnetic travel cover is pretty nifty for the purpose it has, its a pretty rigid plastic and attaches easily to the keyboard with the screws on the corners.
Gaming with the Puri TKL was at first a bit awkward, but wasn't a huge change from using my old Patriot V770 and after a day or so I didn't miss a beat. Writing was thankfully a good experience and the keys feel very similar to other keyboards I've used with Cherry MX Red switches.
The typing experience was quite good and as a pure typing keyboard, the metal plate under the keys helps with the typing experience by having some extra firmness when you "bottom out" the keys,
For the lighting there is no software to be installed, but thankfully the Cougar Puri TKL still boasts over 20 preset lighting modes and the ability to customize 10 more yourself. You switch between the presets with the FN key and either the Insert, Home, PageUP, PageDown, DEL or END keys. This is a simple, but still fine solution for someone who doesn't really care a whole lot about backlighting, which I assume is most of the people looking for something in this price bracket.
Frankly I was expecting this to be much more average at this really low price, but I was pleasantly surprised with the performance in just general writing tasks, the amount of functionality they paired with the FN key layout still allowing media controls, lighting controls and even a calculator shortcut. In games the added space proved a boon and after getting used to it I can see why many hardcore gamers have opted for TKL keyboards for the added room for their mouse.
It held up really well while playing Starcraft II, Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG and the other games I played in the past 2 weeks using this keyboard. If I needed to recommend a cheap mechanical keyboard to someone who used their system for gaming first and didn't need dedicated macro keys, I would strongly recommend this one. It has a simple minimalist style that doesn't clash with anything but the most gaudy systems, German made Cherry MX switches, and doesn't feel cheap.
I also think that this keyboard has a secondary purpose in that it would be great for use as a spare/travel keyboard and it can also be fantastic when space is at a premium. Overall at $65 right now on Newegg this is a serious bargain and a great first mechanical keyboard for a gamer.
Great value, and a fantastic keyboard for someone who is looking for mechanical on the cheap.
- Really solid typing feel
- Built well
- Great use of function key
- Braided and detachable USB Cable
- Lack of any software
- Very basic