While the PC peripheral market has been obsessed with mechanical keyboards the last couple of years, not everyone has the budget nor desire for such devices. Rubber-dome may be a dirty word when it comes to high-end peripherals, but they are still relevant and a proven key switch type. COUGAR’s budget orientated 500K shows what a classic mix of rubber and a burning passion for games can produce.
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Continuing our exploration of COUGAR peripherals, we have the 500K gaming keyboard under review. It shares a great deal of similarities with a previously reviewed 700K keyboard, be it has two differences. First and foremost is the lack of an aluminum faceplate. The second, and most important, is switching all the keys to silicon-rubber membranes, or rubber domes if you will.
Membrane keyboards have taken a bit of a backseat in recent years as mechanical keyboards flooded the market, eventually leading to a price crash. Despite there being a huge choice available of various CHERRY MX flavors, most of the keyboards remained the same – re-badged OEM boards. Gaming-centric keyboards, such as those with dedicated macro keys, backlighting, n-key rollover and such, were not as plentiful. Recently, things have changed and there are a number of proper mechanical gaming keyboards.
Mechanicals are great, and I do enjoy using them, but they are not for everyone. There is still a cost element, even with an influx of non-CHERRY keys making their way on to the market (thanks in part to the patent expiring and Chinese manufacturers taking over production). Exotic key types like Topre are largely cost prohibitive too. So when you want to make a cheaper gaming keyboard, we still fall back on the tried and true membrane switches.
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