As a PC gamer, my most important piece of hardware is undoubtedly my mouse. For me, a good click device has to be accurate, durable, and of course, comfortable. At first glance, the Cougar 700M looks anything but that, almost alien – awkward to hold and flimsy, which, hardware, aside, would translate into horrendous accuracy. Also, it looks like it could turn into Optimus Prime at any second. Sadly, it doesn’t tick any boxes for being an undercover Transformer. As a gaming mouse though? It ticks everything twice.
It’s the eye of the Cougar
I have zero experience with the Cougar brand, and I was in two minds about the 700M. Resting in its packaging, it looked incredibly complicated. Adjustable parts, lots of extra buttons… it almost looked like it was “too much” of a gaming mouse. Holding it in my hand though changed everything.
It’s surprisingly comfortable and ergonomic (assuming you’re not a lefty). Your thumb gets a rubber side for grip, whilst your palm gets a little platform to rest on – the bottom of which has a little thumbscrew for fine tuning its position. I thought it would be gimmicky, but it makes a world of difference. The OCD in me resulted in non stop twiddling, trying to find that pinpoint position of comfort. Once found, I swallowed any doubts I had about the mouse being an awkward design. The 700M also comes with a smaller “sport” grip. I tried it out, but found the larger one to be more comfortable.
The mouse certainly isn’t short of buttons. There’s one for adjusting the DPI, allowing gamers to select one of 4 customisable speeds depending on what title they are currently playing. There are two side buttons too, perfect for back and forward on browsing, or whatever else you assign them to in-game.
There’s another located just below both, called the sniper button. It sits at a 45° angle, meaning you push down to use it instead of pressing towards the mouse. The idea behind the design is that by pushing down, you don’t accidentally move the mouse left or right. I understand its purpose on paper, I just don’t see the need for it. How hard can one press something to move the mouse itself? Still, I won’t say no to an extra button.
The last extra clickable point is called the fire button. It’s meant to be an alternate to your left-click, requiring a lot less effort to push down, thus improving reaction time (in theory). It seems so silly, yet I found myself using it instead of the traditional left button. One downside is that it might not be comfortable for regular use for those with smaller hands or shorter fingers.
Moving onto the weight of the mouse, it’s quite light by default. As you’d expect with hardware of this nature though, there are weights which let you fine-tune it somewhat. I personally prefer a lighter mouse, yet I found myself chucking in all the teeny weights and enjoying it more that way. It just feels better heavier for some reason.
Lastly, the cable spits out of the mouse from what’s meant to look like the barrel of a gun. It’s an awesome design really, although it is odd having the cable sit on the left side instead of the centre. It’s for good reason though, because the centre has a customisable light instead. Its a neat addition, not overbearing or over-the-top-flashy at all.
It’s the thrill of the click
I hate adjusting to a new mouse. It always takes me a while to really feel like I’m gaming how I normally do. Somehow, this wasn’t the case with the 700M. I don’t know if it was dumb luck when I fiddled with the settings first time, but the transition from my old mouse to new wasn’t painful by any means. It almost felt like an evolution of sorts.
In fact, I tried using my old mouse again at some stage during the review. Let’s just say we don’t see eye to eye anymore. Needless to say, I was chuffed with the performance of the 700M overall. Granted, my KD ratio didn’t go up in titles like Dota 2 or Counter-Strike (or anything inbetween), yet the movement and input provided by the 8200 dpi sensor was as accurate as I could ever hope it to be.
If you like customisation, you really won’t be disappointed either. You can download the Cougar UIX gaming software which really opens up any options you might have in mind. You can customise each of the 8 keys and save their uses across three different profiles. These profiles are saved onto the mouse itself. It’ll work however you’ve set it up across any PC you plug it in to.
My only real irritation during the review came from the small gap between the sniper and extra side buttons where your thumb is meant to rest. It’s a tad smalI, meaning I sometimes pushed the extra buttons unintentionally when picking up the mouse or moving it frantically. It became real annoying going back or forth on a webpage by accident, or reloading or zooming in by mistake (resulting in unnecessary deaths). Whatever the next iteration of this 700M is, I hope they make a little more room for large thumbed people like myself.
Another concern is the palm rest. At a glance it does look flimsy, yet it somehow feels solid. There were no real concerns during the review period, I just worry that extended (or agro) use of the mouse will result in that little supporting platform snapping or being crushed. Unfortunately, there was no way for me to test this without beating the mouse up. It’s beautiful, I couldn’t bring myself to do it! That being said, I did go out of my way to place extra pressure with my palm, and it held up perfectly fine. I do genuinely fear that gamers who like to slam their mouse in anger will wear down that support in no time at all though.
Risin’ up to the challenge of the rivals
- Dimension: 127(L) x 83(W) x 38(H) mm
- Weight adjusting: 4pcs x 4.5g
- Weight: 130g
- Sensor: ADNS-9800 Laser gaming sensor
- Resolution: 8200 DPI
- Processor: 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0
- Polling rate: 1000Hz / 1ms
- On-board memory: 512KB
- Material: Aluminum / Plastic
- Programmable buttons: 8
- Switching: OMRON gaming switch
- Profile LED backlight: 16.8 million colors
- Frame rate: 12000 FPS
- Maximum tracking speed: 150 IPS
- Maximum acceleration: 30G
- Interface: Golden-plated USB plug
- Cable length: 1.8m braided
- RRP: R900-1000
Non-rocky mouse pad
In somewhat related news, I received a Cougar Speed Gaming Pad with the 700M too. It’s freaking huge, measuring in at 450 x 400 x 4mm. It’s almost big enough to roll up and swat away any annoying gamers you may encounter at your next LAN.
The surface is smooth, almost texture free. It is a speed pad after all, which means your mouse will fly across it with ease. There’s also enough room for an entire country on it – perfect for those gamers who have their sensitivity set to a turtle pace.
After weeks of use, the clean black surface is still mostly dust free. The 700M (and any other mouse really) was perfectly at home on it.
I won’t mince my words – I’m in love with the 700M. As I mentioned earlier, I can barely hold my old mouse now. It just doesn’t feel the same… it doesn’t feel right. If you’re in the market for a new gaming mouse (and have a solid budget), I would highly recommend this gorgeous piece of hardware. Its design might not appeal to everybody, but from my side, it looks spectacular, and has the performance and extras to match.
When the courier comes to collect it, I’m going to say my house burnt down. They can’t have it back… ever.
Last Updated: December 15, 2014