Cougar 550M Gaming Mouse Review
Published: 22nd October 2015 | Source: Cougar | Price: £41.99 @ OCUK |
Creating a product that sits at the top of the price range isn't as difficult as it might appear. After all if budget is no object then you just keep chucking expensive hardware at the thing until it's done. Perhaps that's why we always have a soft spot for people making the most of a lesser CPU rather than the "open wallet, buy 5960X" way of doing things. Producing something that is affordable and yet also built without compromise requires a deft touch indeed. When you enter the peripheral market things are even harder, because every company and its dog can grab an Avago sensor and some Omron switches and produce something perfectly adequate.
We wondered how Cougar would fare after the triumphs of their earlier mice. It's safe to say that they have scored another winner.
Firstly that sensor. The debate between a Laser sensor and an Optical one is a matter of personal taste and is likely to cause the kind of arguments that anything without an objective 'right' answer will do. We don't object to Laser sensors and like a good Optical too, and the Avago 3988 that sits at the heart of the 550M is a stunner. It's crisp and responsive when you need to move in a hurry, yet has the finesse and consistency to be suitable for more subtle tasks. Indeed it's in these things where consist accuracy at low speed is important that the 550M and Optical sensors really step into their own. The switches have the crispness one would expect to find from Omron, who really are the Kings of the mouse button world. However, we've seen many a mouse fall short when it comes to the side buttons but here Cougar really show their attention to detail as the back/forward buttons are as crisp as the main ones.
The quality of the scroll wheel deserves particular emphasis. Anyone who does a lot of scrolling will know the despondency you can feel when the scroll wheel makes a noise akin to a playing card in your bicycle spokes. The Cougar 550M has one of the quietest wheels we've ever used, and yet retains the accuracy so vital when switching weapons in the heat of battle. That rubberised surface maintains fantastic grip levels too. Speaking of grip the side panels on the 550M are textured and, by some margin, the grippiest we've ever experienced. Really you could probably churn butter with your hands and still get purchase on the mouse.
The software is a prince amongst software packages. Small footprint. Responsive. Everything easily laid out and it can do everything you desire without resorting to visual complexity nor head-scratching time with a PDF. Aesthetically it's very comfortable, although whether this particular blue and orange combination works is something we still can't decide upon. The lighting is bright and well saturated on the major colours, although more subtle shades can be lost in the same way they are lost on almost every peripheral on the market. Maybe we'd like to have seen a little more obvious lighting, but the glow at the rear is as understated as that dark blue finish.
There is very little to quibble about with the Cougar 550M. It's one of the best Optical mice around with great build quality and a rich feature set at an affordable price, and wins our OC3D Gold Award.