Cougar has manufactured PC hardware since 2007 and is known for offering affordable gaming products that don’t necessarily sacrifice on features. Among their most recognizable items is the 550M gaming mouse which is equipped with a 1000Hz polling rate, a 3-stage DPI system, and - every gamer’s favorite feature - RGB lighting.

These are impressive features for a flagship mouse one sale for only $39.99, but is it enough to convince budget-conscious PC gamers?

Features

The most noticeable feature of the Cougar 550M gaming mouse is the ability to program up to 21 different functions. However, because there is only one trigger button to control all of these functions, it’s not the most user-friendly gaming mouse out there. This is especially true if you play games like League of Legends where macros are your best friend.

Despite having only one trigger button, the Cougar 550M gaming mouse is able to store three different configurations which came in handy when I played other games like Counter-Strike and Grand Theft Auto V. Setting these up with Cougar’s device management system was also easy but not as intuitive as Razer Synapse or SteelSeries Engine 3.

I have to admit I was skeptical to use this mouse based on the price alone but was impressed with a lot of the features including the braided cable, anti-slip flanks, and the gaming-grade scroll wheel. While not the best mouse I’ve ever used, it was definitely not the worst.

Design

If I had to compare the design of the Cougar 550M gaming mouse with the competition it would be the Razer Deathadder. They don’t necessarily look the same, but they feel the same. This is mostly due to the rubberized sides but I also noticed the side buttons to be located in similar positions.

The model I tested was blue with hints of orange which accented the entire unit nicely. And while I’m not fond of the Cougar logo, I didn’t mind where it was placed on the mouse and only wish it would light up. I’m not sure why Cougar chose not to go this route when just about every RGB mouse I can think of has an illuminated logo.

The most distinct feature in terms of design has to be the left-sided location of the braided cable.

I’ve only seen this done on one other mouse - the Corsair Scimitar RGB - and it’s a nice touch that makes the Cougar 550M stand out from the crowd. If you want something that’s different, this can be a huge selling point.

Comfort

As mentioned, the Cougar 550M gaming mouse is eerily similar to the Razer Deathadder in terms of feel. This is especially true when talking about ergonomics because the the Cougar 550M was comfortable during long bouts of gameplay. The shape forms nicely to my palm and the rubber grips were the exact size I needed them to be.

My only complaint about the comfort of the Cougar 550M gaming mouse is the texture. I’m not exactly sure what paint Cougar used for the hardware but it felt slippery and stained easily with the oils from my palm. And as you all know, this is not a good thing to happen when playing video games.

Overall, the Cougar 550M gaming mouse is comfortable but loses its appeal after a few hours of intense gaming. This is quickly remedied with a disinfectant wipe but not something I look forward to doing every time I want to use the mouse. However, despite this one negative aspect, I never really felt “uncomfortable” using the mouse.

Performance

The Cougar 550M gaming mouse is advertised as being “born for gaming” and I really believed this while using it. I didn’t find the 21 functions to be intuitive but the three different DPI settings were always on point. I also liked how the RGB lighting fluctuated with the different profiles because it made it easy to know which DPI setting was being used.

The Cougar 550M’s 1000Hz polling rate is the industry standard nowadays and I never once felt like it wasn’t performing up to that number. However, I did notice a slight slowdown in the signal whenever I lifted the mouse off the mat and quickly placed it back down. I’m not sure if this is directly related the polling rate but the loss was significant enough for me to notice.

I don’t normally lift my mouse off the mat for the games I play but I know a lot of other gamers do. Still, at this price point, it’s a sacrifice I would be willing to make if budget was a concern. I wouldn’t say this is the best performance for your dollar, but the fact that I’m comparing to mice that cost twice as much should.

Final Thoughts

Gaming mice are one of the most overlooked pieces of hardware for new PC gamers because a lot of people tend to focus on the actual PC and not the peripherals. However, a good gaming mouse will make huge difference in your gameplay and can provide you with a major competitive advantage. And because the Cougar 550M actually delivers most of the functions you need, I think it’s a fantastic mouse for the price.