Viewing Review: [OVERCLOCK LABS] Cougar Attack X3 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

[OVERCLOCK LABS] Cougar Attack X3 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review Edit

Ratings
Overall:
by WilliamGayde
Pros Cons
  • Mechanical switches, Aluminum backplate, RGB lighting
  • Unrefined software, No USB passthrough
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Introduction
It seems like everyone and their brother has an RGB mechanical keyboard on the market nowadays. Their price has also come down to a point that they are very affordable. Today I'll be taking a look at Cougar's new Attack X3 RGB keyboard. It's an update to their previous Attack X3 keyboard and as the name suggests, it now has individually RGB backlit keys. Available for around $110 online, it sits right in the middle of the market. How does it perform and should it be your next purchase? Let's find out.


Packaging is all good and the keyboard arrived without a scratch. The box highlights the industry standard Cherry MX switches, 1000Hz polling rate, Cougar's UIX software system, and the individual RGB backlighting. The model I have has Blue switches but the keyboard is also available with MX Black, Red, and Brown switches. The keyboard has 6 key and N key rollover as well as the ability to store up to 30 macros in the on board memory. Realistically your hand only has 5 fingers so if this isn't enough for you, you're probably doing something wrong.



Physical Tour
Opening up the box we get our first views of the keyboard. It has a silver and black industrial design with sleek angled-out sides. Above and below the keyboard are two bars made of a matte black plastic and in the middle is a solid plate of aluminum. The metal is bent inwards to fit the contours of the keyboard and secured with a rivet on each side. The keyboard is currently available in a standard American layout. The F-keys on top also double as shortcuts for switching profiles, lighting effects, media and volume keys, as well as toggling between 6-key and N-key rollover. The only issue I had with the layout was the mysterious swap of the function and Windows keys at the bottom. Every other keyboard on the planet has the Windows key on the left side with the function key on the other side of the spacebar. This was easily fixed in software but I'm not sure why the felt the need to do this.



The keys themselves are made of a semi-gloss black plastic. They're relatively lite and feel a bit on the cheap side, but this didn't really affect the typing experience. No keycap puller was included but they are easy enough to remove by hand for some periodic cleaning. The Cherry switch has a transparent plastic base with an LED at the top. This transparency allows the light to diffuse more evenly to create a better back lighting effect.



As you can see from the back, the aluminum backplate does not go all the way through and is really only a thin cover. This helps prevent some torsion, but they keyboard may sag a little down the middle if you are a heavy typist. One thing I really liked was the single piece of aluminum since it had no ridges or section dividers. Keyboards with partitions like this get dirtier as the individual walls provide small places for dirt and dust to accumulate.



On the bottom we find two adjustable rubber feet as well as two additional rubber pads located close to the bottom. The keyboard still felt slightly slippery on my desk but it was nothing too major. There is a very shallow cable management groove for routing a headphone or phone cable under the keyboard. It comes out right in front of you but it was a bit too small and I found any slight pull on the cable would dislodge it.



The last physical part of the keyboard to cover is the cable. It consists of a very nicely braided cable coming out of the keyboard. Near the end it splits into two separate USB connectors that appear to be gold plated. At first I thought this second cable was for a USB passthrough at the back of the keyboard but this is not true. It looks like there is one at the back of the keyboard but upon closer inspection it turned out to be just a plastic blank; almost like Cougar trashed the idea at the very end of design. My only guess it the second connector provides additional power for the RGB backlighting, but many other keyboards on the market accomplish this with just one connector. I personally would have loved a passthrough since it helps with cable management.



Moving on to the UIX software now; I found this to be the area most lacking on the Attack X3 RGB experience. The software seemed very beta and still needs a lot more work before it’s really production ready. Key bindings were pretty simple to figure out but still took a while to fully get the hang of. The weird method of dropping a block onto the corresponding key you want to edit was not very intuitive.



For the RGB lighting, UIX uses a strange triangle system that almost looks like a secret symbol from some Sci-Fi movie. Again, the software uses the same drag and drop method but this time with circles. A simple drop down menu for the profiles would have been so much nicer. Despite playing around with the software for nearly an hour, I was not able to figure out how to get a satisfactory lighting scheme. The different effects would overlap and save the wrong version, selecting multiple keys at once does not appear to be possible, and there are far too many menus to go through to get to the settings you need. If you just want a simple glow or color shift, that's fine. If you want to set groups of keys or create more advanced effects, good luck though.




At a retail price of $110, the typing experience and build quality is fine but the software feels lacking. There are many RGB mechanical keyboard models available for a lower price than the Attack X3. I think it's a great keyboard, but it would do better at a slightly lower price point.

Here is a link to the forum post for discussion.
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