Cougar Gaming Puri TKL Mechanical Keyboard

When looking at the PC peripheral landscape today, we can find a variety of mechanical keyboards available from many manufacturers, some of them billion dollar companies with huge R&D budgets, others smaller companies looking to carve out a piece of the market for themselves. I recently looked at a $149 wireless keyboard from Logitech, the G613. While the G613 is a great wireless mechanical keyboard with a lot of solid features, the $149 price point is prohibitive to many consumers. Corsair, Razer, SteelSeries and others also offer heavily featured mechanical keyboards that ring in above the $100 price point. While these keyboards definitely have a market, many users simply can't justify dropping more than $100 on a keyboard, regardless of the features it can offer.

Cougar Puri TKL w/Cherry MX SwitchesThe Puri TKL, featuring Cherry MX mechanical switches, is the latest keyboard from Cougar Gaming

Cougar Gaming, a manufacturer of computer cases, power supplies and peripherals, knows that there are budget-oriented PC gamers out there who want a well-built backlit mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches that won't cost them a small fortune. Today, we're looking at the Cougar Puri TKL, a no-nonsense Tenkeyless keyboard with German-made Cherry MX key switches and single-color white LED backlighting that is available exclusively from Newegg for $69.99 shipped with either Cherry MX Blue or Cherry MX Red switches. Since my initial experiences with mechanical keyboards in the late 1990's, I have never felt a desire to turn back to membrane keyboards. With rubber dome keyboards, users typically can expect one common characteristic: mushy and inconsistent. Mechanical switches offer responsiveness and consistency not afforded by the switches of a membrane keyboard, in addition to offering unique tactile and audible feedback characteristics that vary between switch types. Currently, my favorite switch types are the Logitech Romer-G and Cherry MX Brown, which both offer tactile feedback with a low noise profile. You will find plenty of people who dislike these switches and prefer Cherry MX Blue switches, or Razer Greens. One of the best parts about mechanical keyboard switches is that so many are available, consumers are able to find the switch that suits them best, though acquiring and testing keyboards outfitted with various switches might be a bit taxing on the wallet. While I have found excellent key switches from Gateron, Omeron and Topre, Cherry MX remains the industry standard for high quality, mechanical key switches. While companies like Razer and SteelSeries have opted to use their own branded switches made by Kailh, there are many enthusiasts who refuse to buy a mechanical keyboard with anything other than Cherry MX switches. We understand companies not wanting to be stuck with just one supplier and steering away from Cherry MX switches to save on manufacturing costs, but it's pretty tough to sell an unproven entity against a product with an excellent long-term track record. Cherry MX switches cost more than those made by Kailh and Gateron at wholesale, so you tend to see the Cherry MX switches reserved for use on premium keyboards. With the Puri TKL, Cougar gives users the choice between five different Cherry MX switches, which makes the $69.99 MSRP even more appealing, since at this price point we usually start to dip into off-brand switch territory.

Cougar Puri TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Specifications

Warranty One Year Limited
Key switch Mechanical Cherry MX (MX Blue PN: PURI TKL3, MX Red PN: PURI TKL1)
N-key rollover Yes (USB mode support)
Key Backlight White LED
Game type FPS / MMORPG / MOBA / RTS
Polling rate 1000Hz / 1ms
Material Steel / Plastic
Interface USB plug
Magnetic Protective Cover Yes
Cable Length 1.8m Braided
Detachable Cable Yes
Dimension 150(L) X 370(W) X 40(H) mm 5.9(L) X 14.56(W) X 1.57(H) Inch
Weight 1.2kg (2.64 lbs)
  The Cougar Gaming Puri TKL is backed by a one year warranty and features a low profile design that will save desktop space. The Puri TKL has a Windows-compatible 87 key US layout, which is also known as tenkeyless, or TKL. If you don't use the number pad, a TKL keyboard is a great choice, as it allows for improved ergonomics over a standard full size keyboard, thanks to a shorter throw distance to the mouse. Many professional gamers use TKL keyboards during competition because it gives them more real estate for mouse movement. I have used TKL keyboards for several years, with my current favorites being the Ducky One TKL RGB and Logitech G Pro. Cougar is advertising the 1MS response time/1000HZ polling rate of the Puri TKL, which is fine, but most keyboards these days are running at 1MS. It is interesting that they list which types of games this keyboard is for and include the types of games that users would commonly use macros with. I am not saying the Puri TKL can't be used for MMO and RTS games, it certainly can, it's just that products advertised towards these types of games tend to have macro support/extra buttons. The Puri TKL supports n-key rollover from within the OS, meaning that the OS can register multiple key presses at the same time. Unless you are going haywire with your button presses, n-key rollover isn't a functionality that should ever come into play, but it is nice to have. Cougar Puri TKL - Retail Box There are several different backlighting modes on the Puri TKL, all of them in white. There are twenty preset modes (uniform, wave, breathing, ripple) and you can also program different modes, though the Cougar logo is not able to be toggled off when LED modes are active. There are a large number of PC gamers who can't use a tenkeyless keyboard because they absolutely need the number pad and for them Cougar does offer a full size version of the Puri for $79.99. My research and talks with various people in the keyboard industry affirm that while TKL keyboards are definitely a worthy market segment, an overwhelming majority of people still prefer full-size keyboards. Let's take a closer look at the Cougar Gaming Puri TKL and the accessories that are included in the retail package, next.

Cougar Gaming Puri TKL Mechanical Keyboard - A Closer Look

Cougar Puri TKL Gaming Keyboard - Retail Box Cougar ships the Puri TKL in a black box with orange accents. The Cherry logo is opposite the Cougar logo on the header of the box, so it's obvious that the Cherry MX switches are a prominent marketing point for Cougar with this product, as they should be. Cougar Puri Retail Box - Switch Types Rather than make several different boxes, Cougar puts check boxes above graphics of specific switches on the Puri TKL box to designate which switch is being used. As you can see, our sample came with the very popular Cherry MX Blue, a tactile, clicky switch that many typists prefer, but may not the best for gaming when compared to switches like Logitech Romer-G and Cherry MX Reds. The model number for the Puri TKL with Cherry MX Blue Switches is PURI TKL3, while the model number for the Cherry MX Red version is PURI TKL1. Cougar shows that the linear MX Silver, which is also known as the MX Speed because of it's 1.2mm actuation distance, is available on the Puri TKL. If the Puri TKL is available at the same $69.99 MSRP with these particular switches, I can see it being very popular with FPS gamers. Cougar Puri TKL - Accessories Cougar ships the Puri TKL with a braided USB cable that has gold plated ends, along with a product brochure and manual. The manual explains how to set different lighting modes on the keyboard and is informative, but I figure most users will toss it aside. Puri TKL - Braided USB Cable The braided USB cable included with the Puri TKL is very well made, with high quality connectors on each, along with a tie strap included to assist with cable management. I've seen much worse cables included with keyboards that cost twice as much as the Puri TKL, so kudos to Cougar for covering their bases and going with a quality cable that has their logo on it. Cougar Puri TKL - Plastic Magnetized Cover The Puri TKL ships with this plastic cover that is magnetized on a few areas that hold the cover to the screws on the front of the keyboard. This cover is secured very well and stayed on even when I turned the Puri TKL towards the ground and shook it. Cougar Puri TKL - Plastic Cover The plastic cover included with the Puri TKL has a very clever design and looks great, with a darkened finish and smoked Cougar logo that allows characters from the keyboard to shine through. This cover will protect the keyboard during transportation and when it isn't being used at a LAN party. Cougar Puri TKL The Puri TKL has a very solid, well-built black frame and I could not get it to flex in the least. The bezels aren't too thick, though the Puri TKL can't match the slim footprint of the Ducky One TKL. For a $69.99 keyboard, I can't help but be impressed by the build quality, here. The key caps have a pronounced, yet clean font on them that definitely belong at home on a gaming keyboard. Cougar went with high quality ABS keycaps that have a smooth finish that feels good to type on and they aren't going to wear anytime soon. The screws that line the front bezel of the Puri TKL give it a unique look, while also providing magnetized points for the plastic cover to hold. The keys are set over a black backplate, which is fine given the white LED backlighting. Puri TKL - Cougar branding by the arrow keys There is a small bit of brushed aluminum Cougar branding between the arrow and function keys, but it looks good and matches the unit well. You can see the lighting adjustment on the arrow keys, with the up arrow making the lighting brighter and the down arrow setting the brightness down, or turning the LED effects of altogether.   Cougar Puri TKL - Cherry MX Blues Here we see the Cherry MX Blue switches on the Cougar Puri TKL that I was sent for review. Cougar has other switches available on the Puri TKL, as I mentioned, but the MX Blue are very popular. I prefer MX Browns, as Blues are just too loud when they have been fully actuated and make the "click" sound that so many love. The Cherry MX Blues on the Puri TKL were implemented well, with proper spacing and solid installation onto their backplate, with no wobble or other build issues noticeable. The keys that require stabilizers are using Cherry versions rather than Costar, in case you have a preference in that department. You can see that each switch is outfitted with a white LED, which sits in an area that Cherry provisions into the plastic. Cougar Puri TKL - Bottom The bottom of the Puri TKL has a stamped Cougar logo, which was probably not needed given the branding on front of the keyboard and cover. There are four rubber isolation feet on the bottom of the Puri TKL that help keep the keyboard secure to whatever surface it is on. I found these feet to work well on my MDF table. There are two levels of height adjustment on the Puri TKL, but I found the default height to be perfect and rarely find the need to use height adjustment on keyboards. Cougar Puri TKL - Mini USB Connector The Puri TKL features a Mini USB connector input, along with two channels to route your cable. The cable routes well in these channels and there are plastic clips to keep it secure. The Mini USB connector felt solid and didn't have any play or wiggle. The USB connection is deep enough into the keyboard that there is room for the cable to bend without putting too much strain on the end of the cable or connector. Cougar Puri TKL - LED OnOnce we get the Puri TKL hooked up, we see the default LED mode. While the camera will pick up the blue in the LED's, the Cougar Puri TKL has a very white, uniform LED brightness that looks great through the bold characters of the keyboard. The different modes are set by pressing the FN key and the lighting keys above the arrows. Cougar Puri TKL - White LED Logo The Cougar logo looks good and can be toggled to blink or turn off by pressing FN+L. I am not a fan of forced branding on my peripherals and Cougar has been guilty of this in a major way with some of their other products, but the Puri TKL lets you tone down the branding a bit by allowing the lighting to be toggled. Now that I've gone over the external features and build quality of the Puri TKL, let's wrap this review up with my overall thoughts.

Cougar Gaming Puri TKL Mechanical Keyboard - Final Thoughts

Cougar Puri TKL - A Great Value In a market with literally hundreds of offerings, it is hard to stand out. Cougar has done a great job with the Puri TKL in producing a solid, well-made mechanical keyboard with some added features that will appeal to gamers. Even though it's a solid product, not one of the features of the keyboard stand out or separate the Puri TKL from its competition. What stands out as special is the price: for $69.99 shipped I didn't expect the Cougar Puri TKL to be as good as it is. The Puri TKL exceeded my expectations in every way, with a very nicely constructed, solid frame and uniform white backlighting that rivals that of more expensive units. The included magnetic cover and removable braided USB cable were both very nice, premium touches. The feather in the cap is that rather than using switches from Gateron, Kailh or another value manufacturer, Cougar has managed to bring genuine Cherry MX switches along for the ride on the Puri TKL. The lack of extras like a key cap puller was one of the only noticeable letdowns on an otherwise great keyboard. The height adjustment feet were a bit stiff and tough to get out, but once they were set, everything worked very well, though I only used them for testing for a brief period and generally ran the Puri at its default height setting. I can’t really think of many negatives with the Puri TKL, it works great and is fine for both gaming and typing scenarios. Nothing about the Puri TKL stands out as special or industry-defining, but at $69.99 why should it? What Cougar has done is delivered a well-made keyboard with features that gamers can use, without any extra fluff that looks good on a marketing box. I can't help but think about how great a job Cougar did at covering all of the bases with the Puri TKL. I figured they'd have to sacrifice quality somewhere to hit a $69.99 MSRP with the Puri TKL, but that isn't the case. The key caps are solid, the keyboard itself is well made and even the little things like the USB cable were thought of by Cougar. The Puri TKL is a great pickup for just $69.99 and if you have a PC gamer in your life who is still toiling away on an old membrane keyboard, the Puri TKL might make the perfect holiday gift. Right now, you can get a Corsair K65 Compact on Amazon for $69.95 shipped. I think the Cougar Puri TKL compares very well to the Corsair K65 Compact, offering a smaller frame and better cable routing options, but lacking the Corsair's dedicated media controls. Given the MSRP of the Puri TKL is $69.99, I am sure we'll see it for less eventually, which will make it an even better value in the eyes of solid competition. As it stands, the Cougar Puri TKL is an excellent value at its $69.99 price point. ECS GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X Value Award Legit Bottom Line: The Cougar Puri TKL is a very capable TKL keyboard with solid build quality and features that will appeal to PC gamers on a budget.