The Cougar 500K gaming keyboard may look a lot like the company’s high-end, mechanical 700K offering, but it actually makes use of lower-cost membrane tech. However, this won’t impact functionality as you might expect, with the 500K offering full N-Key Rollover – also known as anti-ghosting.
A membrane keyboard is the most common design you’ll find in peripherals today, largely due to its low cost nature. Keyboards with this setup register key strokes through a layer of plastic that stretches across the entire device, beneath the visible keys. Mechanical keyboards on the other hand, make use of individual keyswitch mechanisms rather than sharing a membrane.
Other than providing a noticeably different typing experience, mechanical keyboards will often allow the user to press any number of keys at once without one command interrupting another – something that’s known as N-Key Rollover (NKRO) or anti-ghosting. We’ve seen membrane keyboards providing key rollover in the past (for example, the Razer DeathStalker can handle up to ten simultaneous key presses), but the 500K’s unlimited NKRO makes it stand out.
Aside from the rare NKRO membrane setup, the 500K offers the same layout as the pricier 700K, with a detachable palm rest, six customizable keys, and dedicated macro keys for mouse profile switching and game recording. Cougar includes its own UIX Device Management System software to allow users to easily configure this.
You might well ask why, if you’re looking for a capable high-end gaming keyboard, would you opt for a membrane design over mechanical keys? Well, Cougar believes that the device is perfect for two very specific types of consumer – either those looking for a lower cost option that still offers comprehensive anti-ghosting, or those used to the feel of a membrane keyboard.
There’s no word yet on pricing or availability.