Will 5 million clicks be enough?
The Cougar 600 M is a sexy beast. It has been likened to a spaceship with its sleek yet somewhat angular design. Specifically it reminds me of the Normandy from Mass Effect, but that may just be me. It comes in two colours, the standard serious business black and the most definitely not serious but still business orange. And I mean ORANGE. An additional feature that adds to the look is the multi-coloured backlight. It has quite a few choices of colour, but I cannot list them all as there are 16.8 million to choose from. I don’t know if it is supposed to delight me as much, but I love it. I have almost spent more time changing its colours than using it in game.
Bearing in mind that I have large hands and usually play with a palm style grip, the size of the Cougar is a bit smaller than I prefer and forces me into more of a claw grip. This is not a major issue but worth mentioning. The buttons feel nice and solid, mashing them causes no concern as you can feel they are up to it. I love the “45 degree sniper button” it is well situated under the thumb and pressing it does not mess with your use of the other keys. It can be programmed to many functions but its primary intended use is for lowering the DPI temporarily for sniping and accuracy in FPS games. The middle buttonscroll wheel is quite sensitive, but I have yet to accidently click instead of scrolling. The only complaint I have about the buttons is the DPI updown buttons. They are set quite far back and it is not comfortable changing the DPI “on the fly”, but the sniper button compensates for that unless you are going to want to use 3 different DPI settings in one intense situation which I do not foresee happening.
Installation was a tiny bit of a pain as the mouse does not come packaged with drivers and they need to be downloaded (including the Cougar UIX integrated software system). I had some issues with the download, but that may be more my systems fault than theirs. It is nice and eco-friendly of them however. Once you have UIX installed you are given a massive array of customisation options (almost overwhelmingly so). Everything you would expect to be able to set is there including the DPI for the four DPI setting, polling rate, scroll speed etc. You are also warned that the Sniper button is disabled by default and this is where that is done of course. I did not find the interface overly user-friendly (or maybe I should say idiot proof). The activation of the sniper button for example requires searching through advanced settings which I felt unnecessary but that is picking nits.
I am sure I am not the only one whose gaming mouse is forced to double as an Excel and Internet mouse, and the Cougar works quite well for these mundane non-gaming tasks. I do not like the action of the scroll wheel when scrolling through large sections of data. As it is designed for gaming and scrolling in short bursts it feels overly bumpy. It is also incredibly sensitive (as it should be) so straight lines can be a problem. It picks up on your small movements, which is wonderful for gaming but not great for drawing in paint. It does have “angle snapping” as an option, but that may impact on gaming experience. You can set 3 modes in the UIX system to swop between layouts and macros, but to be able to do this in game it seems as if you either need a compatible keyboard, or you need to sacrifice a button for that purpose.
Finally we get to the reason why you are here. The Cougar 600 M in game. I tested it in Borderlands 2, and after fiddling with settings it really came into its own. Smooth as single malt whiskey and accurate as an ex-lovers insults. All the issues I had with mundane use disappeared as it entered its natural habitat. Very responsive, it works as advertised and better. I was surprised and delighted by the sniper button. Being able to lower the DPI from 1600 to 600 for just the second or so it takes to see the red mist is excellent. I could feel the improvement, I was just all of a sudden better. The sniper button came in hand for other things as well, specifically driving in game. It smoothes out the overly sensitive Borderlands steering nicely. In games like Diablo III I did not experience any fatigue after a long session and it handles a click-storm like a champ. The variable DPI is of course a great boon, but not unique to the Cougar, and as mentions it can be uncomfortable to do in game. The sniper button can of course be freed up and any key or macro can be assigned. Useful for all game genres. Lastly I am sure many others are worried, but yes it works fine in DosBox with Quest for Glory II.
A more professional gamer may have more negative things to say of Cougar 600 M, but for them there is the Cougar 700 M, also a beauty and heavily customisable. For someone who
wants an excellent and versatile gaming mouse I can definitely recommend the Cougar 600M. It does exactly what it says on the box and looks damn fine doing it. It make me long for
the days when I would go to LAN parties, I would love to rock up with this stylish beast to kick ass and take names in Quake III.
PS. I changed the backlight colour 3 times while writing the article.
He also hosts the nAvTV podcast and this here website is his domain.