Performance and Conclusion
After using the 500K for a few weeks, I feel that it is still no replacement for a mechanical keyboard when comes to gaming. A mechanical keyboard still offers the quick spring back action that no membrane or scissor-based keyboard can offer. However, mechanical keyboards are really not meant for everyone. Casual gamers that use their system for more than just gaming may find it hard to get used to the mechanical keyboard’s quick response time and the low actuation force needed for typing. Not to mention the loud clicky noise that is unavoidable with every mechanical keyboard.
As a membrane based gaming keyboard, the Cougar 500K delivers excellent performance and is packed with many good features that gamers want: saved profiles, programmable keys, macros, full customization of keys, etc. The keyboard has a good build quality where the keyboard does not flex with solid key caps, thought we still prefer the metal frame on the 700K over the plastic body. The software UI is easy to navigate and use while still being packed with plenty of adjustments.
For general use, the Cougar 500K is a good keyboard . The slanted keys makes the keyboard easier to type than your typical keyboard with flat keys. The ability to customize every single key also helps so that you can assign commonly used command such as Copy and Paste to a single key or use it to launch commonly used apps. The included multimedia function is nice, though we do prefer them to be more pronounced like the rest of the keys.
Ultimately, it boils to down to what is your keyboard/switch preference and the types of games you play. The 500K may not be the best choice for hardcore gamers who are playing games such as FPSs that requires a keyboard with quick response times. However, it is certainly a great keyboard for casual gamers that play MMORPGs, RPGs, or RTS games that often do not demand the fastest response times, but have a lot of keyboard combinations.
Retailed at $79, the Cougar 500K may just be the one that you are looking for if you are in the market for an inexpensive gaming keyboard that works in games as well as general use. The features and the software that Cougar has included with the 500K certainly makes it a much better gaming keyboard than the typical $30~$40 keyboard that came with your system. If a mechanical keyboard is not your choice for a gaming keyboard, it is definitely worth checking the Cougar 500K out.