The Cougar Airblader Tournament Edition Gaming Mouse takes a one of a kind design and delivers a pretty strong overall experience. Lightweight, highly specced and pleasant to use, this is a tidy gaming mouse worth considering.
the good bits
Clever lightweight design
Impressive spec sheet
PIX app unlocks macros and customisation
the not so good bits
Not ideal for palm grippers
Cougar Airblader Tournament Edition Lightweight Gaming Mouse
The world of gaming mice is a pretty crowded place, every brand seems to offer a whole family of options from cheap and simple to button clad and mortgage-worthy. Cougar are bringing an option that seems to land somewhere in the middle.
The Cougar Airblader Tournament Gaming Mouse is a particularly affordable, particularly unique creature that offers a very respectable spec sheet. It’s not always the easiest gaming mouse to find online, but this has all the makings of one worth searching for.
It’s not easy to make a truly unique looking gaming mouse, there’s only so much you can do with a vaguely egg-shaped piece of plastic after all. Cougar have managed it though, because the Airblader Tournament (and it’s less cousin the standard Airblader) is like no gaming mouse I’ve seen before.
Confidently pitched as an ‘extreme lightweight gaming mouse’, the Airblader Tournament bucks the trend of open cell honeycomb shells in a bid to save weight. Instead, it weighs just 62 grams because they’ve simply left out the middle bit. It’s a logical strategy when you think about it. Rather than a solid body, the Airblader’s rear end is a single curved band that nestles into your palm. It takes a little getting used to visually, but you’ll quickly forget it’s not a solid lump once you’ve started using it and that’s the hallmark of a clever solution.
Ambidextrous and compact, Cougar says the Airblader Tournament is more suited to claw-grippers and while I can’t disagree, I still found it comfortable even as a palm-gripper myself. This is thanks in part to the clever extension of the left and right click buttons that poke out over the end of the main body. It’s not the largest mouse, so those with particularly big hands mind find it a stretch, but for a majority of gamers it’ll work well as a nice all-rounder.
The two customisable side buttons sit slightly out of the way of your thumb but are easily accessible when you need them. There’s quite a firm amount of pressure needed to activate them too which meant during a couple of weeks of testing I never accidentally fired them off. The same couldn’t be said of the top G buttons on the Logitech G502 X Plus so whether this was by design or coincidental, it’s a win for Cougar.
The strikingly orange Ultraflex cable is another unique component I haven’t seen on a mouse before. It’s a strange feeling cable in truth, a slightly baggy nylon sleeve houses the actual cable itself and leaves it all feeling a little odd. It’s a bit gimmicky and I’m not sure how much difference it would make over a standard braided cable, but it’s certainly doing no harm and I quite like the pop of colour it brings.
It may not be a premium price-point choice but the Cougar Airblader Tournament packs a more than admirable set of hardware under the (largely non-existent) hood.
Despite the very affordable pricepoint, the Airblader Tournament is equipped with mechanical micro switches rated for 80 million clicks and a scroll encoder good for 5 million cycles. A 2000Hz polling rate and a PixArt PAW3399 optical sensor capable of sensitivity up to 20,000 DPI sees the Cougar Airblader Tournament Edition sit comfortably alongside some of the better options in the market.
Cougar are seemingly very proud of the ‘100% virgin-grade PTFE skates’ on the bottom. In reality they feel and perform the same as skates I’ve seen on most other gaming mice, they’re entirely fine and entirely unremarkable. Ignoring the skate based fanfair, through testing I found the mouse comfortable, swift and responsive. I used it consistently for a mixture of gaming and general productivity for a couple of weeks and never encountered errors, overshoots or unreliable cursor movements.
The ratcheted scroll wheel has a pleasant amount of resistance with a rubber textured surface that felt like it offered a secure level of grip. Unlike some other mice, Cougar has got the stepping just right on the scroll wheel with intervals that felt natural. There’s no infinite scroll option here, which isn’t a loss for me but it’s something to consider if you often turn to one.
The Cougar Airblader Tournament is complemented by the Cougar PIX app which allows customisation of each button, including reversing the left and right click to aid ambidextrous use, and programming of the two side thumb buttons. You can also record macros and play around with sensitivity levels. If you have other Cougar gear in your setup you’ll likely control this from the same app, so it’s nice to see it all in one place.
There’s plenty to like about the Cougar Airblader Tournament Edition Gaming Mouse and not a huge amount going against it. The unique solution of simply gutting the body to save weight brings both a fun aesthetic and impressively lightweight performance without compromising feel or quality.
It’s not the easiest mouse to find outside of the US however, Cougar don’t sell through their own website and the Tournament version of the Airblader is notably absent from Amazon UK. If you do track one down however it’s a low-cost, strong-performing choice that will make a majority of gamers happy.