Thrustmaster MFD Cougar Pack – Hardware Review
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Developer: Thrustmaster
Publisher: Thrustmaster
Platform: PC

Thrustmaster MFD Cougar Pack – Hardware Review

Good: Great accessory, affordable, sturdy
Bad: flimsy buttons
User Score
9.4
(9 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.4/10 (9 votes cast)

Not that long ago we had the chance to try out the extremely realistic and above all qualitative HOTAS Warthog. This amazing flight stick might cost a fair amount of money, but as far as realistic joysticks go, the Warthog is probably one of the best devices on the market. On the other hand, the T.16000M offered a more basic experience, but again great for newcomers and veterans of the flight (sim) genre alike. That being said, having a great flight stick is good and all, but having more hardware to make your own cockpit might be even cooler. This is where Thrustmaster comes in the picture once again, with their MFD Cougar Pack, which is pretty much the equivalent of a keyboard replacer, that has the appearance of two small radar panels. Ground control – we’re ready for liftoff.

 

Thrustmaster

 

 

Design

The MFD Cougar Pack consists out of two small black square panels with buttons ‘decorating’ the entire frame. This is actually pretty much everything there is, until you connect the device. When connected, you’ll see the LED lights light up for your own entertainment. Every button has its own backlight and there’s a small LED as well, which you can adjust in order to recognize which is the first and/or second panel.

As the two identical devices represent a small radar panel, there will be a ‘hole’ in the middle of the panel. In each of the panels you’ll have to insert two small Plexiglas windows and in between those you’ll have to insert one of the prints that come with the hardware. This means you can personalize your package of the MFD Cougar Pack with the different pictures Thrustmaster provides. That being said, it would have been a tad more fun if there were LED lights that were able to light up the middle ‘screen’ or perhaps an actual small functional screen. Then again, this would have made the device significantly more expensive.

Of course a certain level of detail is clearly visible, with the rugged design of the frame and the different inserts that serve as your monitor. Other than what was just mentioned there is not that much more to say about the design of the MFD Cougar Pack.

MFDCougarPack2

Comfort

As far as button layout goes, the devices offer basic comfort: everything is easily accessible and you can tilt the frame, thanks to the base, in order to choose the most comfortable position. Tilting the device requires some assembly though, as you will have the disassemble the ‘legs’ that support the frame in order to determine the angle you wish to set up the device(s) in.

To make sure the panels don’t move around, the base was weighed down a bit. Whilst the weight of the base is heavy enough to prevent the panels from moving around most of the time, it has to be said that in the heat of battle you might not be as careful and then you’ll sometimes press too hard, which in turn moves the panels around.

Specs

  • 20 buttons and 4 switches on each panel
  • Realistic panels
  • LED lights can be adjusted to make it clear which panel is which

Overview

Before accessorizing your flight set-up with the MFD Cougar Pack, some assembly is required. As explained before, you’ll have to insert the ‘legs’ for both panels in order to be able to determine the angle you wish to set them up in. The small brackets can be disassembled and reassembled by placing the screw in another foreseen hole, making it either longer or shorter.

MFDCougarPack1

If you wish to attach both radar panels to a homemade cockpit, you can simply remove the front panels (functional panels) from the base. This has to be done by unscrewing the screws on the front of both panels. Afterwards you can assemble both devices once again, to a base you see fit.

When you connect both devices to a separate USB-port you’ll be able to set up the key bindings with the software that comes with the device (or that can be downloaded from the official site). As the pack is actually a replacement for your keyboard, to amplify the realism of your digital flying experiences, you’ll be able to assign different commands to each of the buttons of the panels (= assigning keyboard keys to the panels). Both panels consist out of twenty buttons and four switches, giving you a grand total of 48 customizable buttons.

We reckon you’ll get the basic idea by now, namely that the pack is pretty much just a keyboard replacement that looks quite good. After getting used to your key binds, it’s easy to work with the panels. Even though everything works great, it’s possible that some people will not appreciate the lighter (more or less flimsy) feel of the buttons. Buttons are pressed easily, which is good in a certain way, but they provide hardly any to no feedback, making it a little less clear if you have activated whatever you wanted to activate.

MFDCougarPack3

Like mentioned in the design portion of this review, it’s quite sad that the makeshift ‘monitors’ on both panels don’t do anything, but this also opens certain possibilities for when you have an actual homemade cockpit. You can simply place two small monitors behind the panels and you’ll have the ideal frame for your own, functional radar panels.

Conclusion

Thrustmaster’s MFD Cougar Pack is a great addition to one’s aviation hardware set up, providing a realistic looking frame for making your own radar panel or to mess around with the prints you can insert in both devices. If you’re looking for a more realistic flight (sim) experience by being able to replace your keyboard, the MFD Cougar Pack might just be the way to fly.

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Rating: 9.4/10 (9 votes cast)
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Thrustmaster MFD Cougar Pack - Hardware Review, 9.4 out of 10 based on 9 ratings

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