We took a look at Tesoro's flagship Gram Spectrum RGB keyboard earlier this year, which heralded a lot of things that made it an attractive package - from the low-profile keycaps to the Tesoro Agile switch. The latter was a collaboration between Tesoro and Kailh to compete with the Cherry MX Speed (Silver) switch, and since then, Kailh has gone ahead and put up more such switches themselves. Tesoro decided they liked the idea of collaborating with mechanical switch makers, and this time they worked with Gateron on making some optical switches instead. Enter the Excalibur SE Spectrum, and thanks again to Tesoro for providing a review sample for us today.
The Excalibur SE Spectrum is not a replacement or update to the Gram Spectrum, of which we will have a similar version with optical switches coming up as well. Instead, this is Tesoro's product aiming at the $100 price point and looking to get optical switches more popular in the enthusiast keyboard market. To be clear, optical switches are not new to the market, and we examined one from Bloody before on TPU too, but the market has less players with optical-switch products today than fingers on my hands, so there is definitely a thick pie to go around. So let us begin our review with the specifications table below.
|Tesoro Excalibur SE Spectrum Keyboard|
|Layout:||104 key US language layout|
|Material:||ABS plastic housing and keycaps, steel plate|
|Weight:||1.24 kg / 2.74 lbs.|
|Anti-ghosting:||Full N-Key rollover via USB|
|Media Keys:||Available as a secondary function|
|Dimensions:||150 (L) x 450 (W) x 34 (H) mm|
|Cable Length:||1.8 M (6')|
|Switch Type:||Tesoro/Gateron Infrared optical switches|
Packaging and Accessories
Tesoro's black and purple color scheme is visible front and center on the product packaging here, with an illustration of the keyboard on the front to go with the company and product name and its salient marketing features. This continues on the back and sides where we also see two double flaps that help keep the contents inside in place. A label on the side also alerts us to the particular permutation inside - a US (ANSI) layout keyboard with optical blue switches inside. Calling them mechanical switches in a misnomer of sorts here, but I think they just re-used the label template from previous keyboards.
Open the box and we see the keyboard itself in a plastic wrap, with the keyboard cable in the cardboard cutout compartment above. The keyboard is housed in a shaped cardboard piece such that it has the packaging cardboard all around it for protection - not the best I have seen, this setup will suffice provided the shipping packaging is done well. Under this compartment are the accessories Tesoro provides - a quick start guide in multiple languages (online copy here), a cheat sheet for the various onboard controls, and what looks like a metal ring-style keycap puller with inward-facing extensions, which are there for a reason. More on that on the next page. That's about it as far as accessories go!
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