Wednesday, July 29th 2020

Cougar Intros the Ultra-Slim Vantar AX Gaming Keyboard with Scissor Switches

Cougar today introduced the Vantar AX, a unique gaming keyboard that should please those who also use their PC for extended typing/coding sessions. The keyboard uses scissor-type switches that can be found in premium notebooks. Another selling point is its height of just 15 mm (including keycaps), compared to most keyboards that can be over 35 mm tall. The Vantar AX offers a full 106-keyset with flat, translucent keycaps that have zonal RGB backlighting. The electronics support 19-key rollover and anti-ghosting. It all comes together in a matte-silver, CNC-milled, aluminium unibody resembling MacBooks. The Cougar Vantar AX measures 445 mm x 127 mm x 15 mm (WxDxH), weighing about 626 g. The company didn't reveal pricing.
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27 Comments on Cougar Intros the Ultra-Slim Vantar AX Gaming Keyboard with Scissor Switches

#1
Tomorrow
Prepare for a recall and class action lawsuit very soon...
Posted on Reply
#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Tomorrow
Prepare for a recall and class action lawsuit very soon...
Why?
Posted on Reply
#3
Tomorrow
btarunr
Why?
A company magnitude larger (Apple) could not make scissor witches work and had to go back to regular switches.
And if Cougar now thinks they can out-engineer and succeed where Apple failed is wish them luck. The result however may be less than desirable.

Plus low profile switches (that are mechanical btw) already exist. Logitech has them in their Romer G line (made by Omron Japan).
Posted on Reply
#4
Dristun
Tomorrow
A company magnitude larger (Apple) could not make scissor witches work and had to go back to regular switches.
And if Cougar now thinks they can out-engineer and succeed where Apple failed is wish them luck. The result however may be less than desirable.

Plus low profile switches (that are mechanical btw) already exist. Logitech has them in their Romer G line (made by Omron Japan).
re: logitech switches
Sure, they're low-profile but nowhere near as low and short as a scissor-switch macbook keyboard. Which, btw, unreliability and stuck keys aside, I really liked. It just felt great, short travel and defined click, so good. Shame it didn't work out.
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#5
tripleclicker
Interesting. My old notebook seems to have these switches, quite tactile. Making the keycaps almost transparent seems to be a mistake though.
Posted on Reply
#6
TheLostSwede
Tomorrow
A company magnitude larger (Apple) could not make scissor witches work and had to go back to regular switches.
And if Cougar now thinks they can out-engineer and succeed where Apple failed is wish them luck. The result however may be less than desirable.

Plus low profile switches (that are mechanical btw) already exist. Logitech has them in their Romer G line (made by Omron Japan).
No, those were butterfly switches, an Apple in-house design. These kind of scissor switches have been used of a very long time in laptops.
Are they good for a gaming keyboard? Maybe not...
Posted on Reply
#7
Tartaros
TheLostSwede
No, those were butterfly switches, an Apple in-house design. These kind of scissor switches have been used of a very long time in laptops.
Are they good for a gaming keyboard? Maybe not...
They do fine, I've been gaming in laptops and an apple keyboard for years and went to try some mechanical keyboards, and frankly, I prefer low trajectory and low profile over mechanical switches. Now it seems there are starting to be more low profile mechanical keyboards but they are still niche. I'm still looking into a tkl low profile mechanical and with spanish keys option which doesn't break the bank, the only one that matches is the logitech 915 tkl and its price is bananas. They don't do tkl version of mx keys, which is also grind my gears because it would be perfect for me.

If there is a tkl version of this I think I'll bite.
Posted on Reply
#8
Tomorrow
TheLostSwede
No, those were butterfly switches, an Apple in-house design. These kind of scissor switches have been used of a very long time in laptops.
Are they good for a gaming keyboard? Maybe not...
My bad. I got butterfly mixed up with scissors.
Posted on Reply
#9
silentbogo
btarunr
The keyboard uses scissor-type switches that can be found in premium notebooks.
It can also be found in cheap notebooks, and mid-range notebooks, and $15 chinese low-profile keyboards. Definitely not an indication of quality.
Tomorrow
A company magnitude larger (Apple) could not make scissor witches work and had to go back to regular switches.
You are confusing those with butterfly switches, which was Apple's fancy way of calling trivial tactile dome switches (hallmark of cheap electronic devices).
Tartaros
They do fine, I've been gaming in laptops and an apple keyboard for years and went to try some mechanical keyboards, and frankly, I prefer low trajectory and low profile over mechanical switches.
You should try something with Cherry ML or Kailh Choc. Always wanted a good slim/compact alternative to butterfly switches. Wanted to get MSI GK50, but our local retailer ran out just before I hit "order".... Got me a cheap-ass Modecom Volcano Blade instead, which so far is the best keyboard I ever used (regardless of its measly $50 price tag). Just a simple TKL keyboard with monochrome backlight and brightness control. Bare minimum of fluff and unnecessary features.
Posted on Reply
#10
Tartaros
silentbogo
You should try something with Cherry ML or Kailh Choc. Always wanted a good slim/compact alternative to butterfly switches. Wanted to get MSI GK50, but our local retailer ran out just before I hit "order".... Got me a cheap-ass Modecom Volcano Blade instead, which so far is the best keyboard I ever used (regardless of its measly $50 price tag). Just a simple TKL keyboard with monochrome backlight and brightness control. Bare minimum of fluff and unnecessary features.
The problem is a lot of low profile mechanical keyboards are not low profile at all, they just have low trayectory keys and that's the main problem I have. I'm typing right now with a corsair k70 with clear cherry low profile and it's good with the low trayectory, maybe I should have gone with brown to have the bump but whatever, but it's nowhere near low profile as I understood, it's as tall as a regular keyboard. Not many low profile mechanical keyboards are really low profile and with this I'm not as comfortable as with my old apple keyboard, not even with wrist rest. This one is specially bad because the keycaps are very tall too, which defeats even more the original purpose. I would have to change the switches, get a keyset and mod the case to lower it and right not I'm not into that.

The keychron k1 would be the perfect keyboard for me, they use gateron low profile switches, keycaps are very thin, it's tkl, it's really low profile and costs around 60-70$, but they don't have a spanish keyset option while my other option has spanish keyset but costs almost 4 times more because lolologitech. It sucks.
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#11
bonehead123
A nice looking KB, now make it in a BT version, and you can have my moolah :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#12
Valantar
Tomorrow
A company magnitude larger (Apple) could not make scissor witches work and had to go back to regular switches.
And if Cougar now thinks they can out-engineer and succeed where Apple failed is wish them luck. The result however may be less than desirable.

Plus low profile switches (that are mechanical btw) already exist. Logitech has them in their Romer G line (made by Omron Japan).
Scissor switches are bog-standard laptop switches of the type Apple used before (and now also after) their garbage "butterfly" design. Everyone uses scissor switches in their laptops. My Lenovo Trackpoint Keyboard has scissor switches, and it is excellent.
Posted on Reply
#13
erocker
*
Scissor switches are about the worst I can think of for gaming. This is a ridiculous product.
Posted on Reply
#14
silentbogo
erocker
Scissor switches are about the worst I can think of for gaming.
That's just lack of imagination ))) I have a rubber foldable keyboard at the office - that's the worst (bought it as a gag, but I might have to make sumptin' fun out of it for my nephew). It's even worse than gaming on my test numpad for microcontroller projects (without keycaps) :D :D :D
Posted on Reply
#15
Valantar
erocker
Scissor switches are about the worst I can think of for gaming. This is a ridiculous product.
Scissor switches can have excellent feedback, quick actuation, great balance and reset quickly. Just try any ThinkPad keyboard. Sure, if they're bad scissor switches the experience is likely to be terrible (and hoooo boy are there lots of terrible scissor switch laptop keyboards out there!), but if they are good, there's no reason whatsoever that they should be bad for gaming.
Posted on Reply
#16
InVasMani
TheLostSwede
No, those were butterfly switches, an Apple in-house design. These kind of scissor switches have been used of a very long time in laptops.
Are they good for a gaming keyboard? Maybe not...
Cougar needs key caps more like these Cherry and with optical scissor switches like Razer and a wired/wireless connectivity.

I like the transparency on the actual caps, but the flat chicklet caps themselves I loath the type feel of myself. As far as being good for gaming probably aren't too bad it's got n-key rollover and the low travel and quick actuation point make for a smooth quick response.
Valantar
Scissor switches can have excellent feedback, quick actuation, great balance and reset quickly. Just try any ThinkPad keyboard. Sure, if they're bad scissor switches the experience is likely to be terrible (and hoooo boy are there lots of terrible scissor switch laptop keyboards out there!), but if they are good, there's no reason whatsoever that they should be bad for gaming.
Very accurate right down to the ThinkPad mention there old school scissor switch keyboards were much like Cherry's and damn near perfect feeling refer to above photo. If I were to change something about the cap I swap them from concave to convex like quality Sanwa/Seitimsu arcade buttons those concave HAPP aren't in the same tournament league of quality you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who prefers them in usage. Some of the Cherry/Lenovo scissor switch keyboards are chicklet style unfortunately though. In Lenovo's case though they have a kind of inbetween chickelet cap with a rounded edge on one side that seems like it would improve the feel of the design at least, but haven't tried them they might still rather inferior, but at least a tolerable improvement. Razer has a interesting optical scissor switch design, but a gaudy chiclet key cap on them.
Posted on Reply
#17
natr0n
Scissor me timbers.

My kinda keyboard.
Posted on Reply
#18
Valantar
InVasMani
Some of the Cherry/Lenovo scissor switch keyboards are chicklet style unfortunately though. In Lenovo's case though they have a kind of inbetween chickelet cap with a rounded edge on one side that seems like it would improve the feel of the design at least, but haven't tried them they might still rather inferior, but at least a tolerable improvement.
That's the type of keys that is on my ThinkPad Compact USB kebyoard - it's essentially the keyboard from a T440 or so made into a USB keyboard. IMO it is excellent for typing and gaming both (as long as you can live with the switched CTRL and FN keys). It's not quite as good as my old X201's keyboard, but for a chiclet keyboard it's about as good as I can imagine. The keys are cupped just enough to securely catch your fingers, the rounded bottom of the keys actually helps in touch typing, and key separation is more than sufficient. There's less key clatter than on the X201, and the feedback might actually be a tad firmer (though the travel is obviously also shorter).
Posted on Reply
#19
Vayra86
Tartaros
They do fine, I've been gaming in laptops and an apple keyboard for years and went to try some mechanical keyboards, and frankly, I prefer low trajectory and low profile over mechanical switches. Now it seems there are starting to be more low profile mechanical keyboards but they are still niche. I'm still looking into a tkl low profile mechanical and with spanish keys option which doesn't break the bank, the only one that matches is the logitech 915 tkl and its price is bananas. They don't do tkl version of mx keys, which is also grind my gears because it would be perfect for me.

If there is a tkl version of this I think I'll bite.
My experience too but the amount of low profile / scissor keyboards that are not Apple keyboards AND have a cable is extremely rare. I'm typing on a shitty Chinese/Korean slab of plastic right now and it just doesn't quite do it, even if the switch itself is a joy. I already destroyed one (bought two because I knew they'd break fast, 20 dollars a pop)... the second one started skipping some keys yesterday :D

I'm going to be all over this one... if its priced half decent.
Valantar
That's the type of keys that is on my ThinkPad Compact USB kebyoard - it's essentially the keyboard from a T440 or so made into a USB keyboard. IMO it is excellent for typing and gaming both (as long as you can live with the switched CTRL and FN keys). It's not quite as good as my old X201's keyboard, but for a chiclet keyboard it's about as good as I can imagine. The keys are cupped just enough to securely catch your fingers, the rounded bottom of the keys actually helps in touch typing, and key separation is more than sufficient. There's less key clatter than on the X201, and the feedback might actually be a tad firmer (though the travel is obviously also shorter).
Holy crap sometimes I wonder why I don't see these things. Insta buy
Posted on Reply
#20
InVasMani
Valantar
That's the type of keys that is on my ThinkPad Compact USB kebyoard - it's essentially the keyboard from a T440 or so made into a USB keyboard. IMO it is excellent for typing and gaming both (as long as you can live with the switched CTRL and FN keys). It's not quite as good as my old X201's keyboard, but for a chiclet keyboard it's about as good as I can imagine. The keys are cupped just enough to securely catch your fingers, the rounded bottom of the keys actually helps in touch typing, and key separation is more than sufficient. There's less key clatter than on the X201, and the feedback might actually be a tad firmer (though the travel is obviously also shorter).
Good to know if they happen to swap out the tactile switches for analog optical switches I'd probably consider one in the future.
Posted on Reply
#21
Valantar
Vayra86
Holy crap sometimes I wonder why I don't see these things. Insta buy
Just an FIY: There's three versions now: two old (one wired (micro USB), one BT (micro USB charging)), and one new (slightly tweaked layout, usb-C charging, dongle or BT wireless, but AFAIK does not work wired (sad face)). Mine is the older wired version, but I tripped over its cable once (using it in the living room at the time) and now it's on its last legs. Will likely upgrade to the newer wireless one, but currently I have more important things to spend money on. The older wired one is cheap and excellent though.
Posted on Reply
#22
Gungar
Tomorrow
A company magnitude larger (Apple) could not make scissor witches work and had to go back to regular switches.
And if Cougar now thinks they can out-engineer and succeed where Apple failed is wish them luck. The result however may be less than desirable.

Plus low profile switches (that are mechanical btw) already exist. Logitech has them in their Romer G line (made by Omron Japan).
The low profile switches on the Logitech keyboards are chinese (the same that Sharkoon and other budget brands uses). The only switches made by Omron for logitech are the garbages ones in the G915 (so many keycaps i destroyed because of the bad design...) and the other ones related.
Posted on Reply
#23
InVasMani
Gungar
The low profile switches on the Logitech keyboards are chinese (the same that Sharkoon and other budget brands uses). The only switches made by Omron for logitech are the garbages ones in the G915 (so many keycaps i destroyed because of the bad design...) and the other ones related.
Logitech's build quality has tank dived about as badly as Blizzard's give a damn's have about the quality and balancing of their games. To many companies that do well for themselves get greedy and/or complacent and rest on their laurels all too often.
Posted on Reply
#24
proxiblue
Tomorrow
A company magnitude larger (Apple) could not make scissor witches work and had to go back to regular switches.
And if Cougar now thinks they can out-engineer and succeed where Apple failed is wish them luck. The result however may be less than desirable.
Your info is slightly wrong.

Apple could not make their improvement to scissor switches work, which they called BUTTERFLY switches.
Apple does not OWN the design of regular scissor witches.

:)

thenextweb.com/plugged/2019/07/07/what-hell-apple-butterfly-keyboard-keys-design/
Posted on Reply
#25
Tartaros
InVasMani
Logitech's build quality has tank dived about as badly as Blizzard's give a damn's have about the quality and balancing of their games. To many companies that do well for themselves get greedy and/or complacent and rest on their laurels all too often.
I finally got my hands on a MX Keys and I'm very statisfied with it, I don't know the quality of the mechanical ones though. It also has a thing I never knew I wished it existed and is jumping between 3 pcs with a button press, it certainly has made my work easier.
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