Tesoro GRAM SE Spectrum Keyboard Review 7

Tesoro GRAM SE Spectrum Keyboard Review

Disassembly »

Closer Examination

Once we have the plastic wrap removed, we see that the GRAM SE Spectrum is clean-looking and with average-sized bezels on all sides, including the bottom where it curves downward, but not by enough for it to be a wrist rest. This keyboard uses a metal plate with a powder-coated finish for the white color here, along with an ABS plastic bottom panel with a similar matte finish. There is only one piece of branding here with the the Tesoro logo in the top-right corner next to the indicator LEDs. I am glad to see that the "Break the Rules" tagline that seemed out of place on the Excalibur SE Spectrum is not present here.

Given the nature of the onboard controls here, we have a lot of secondary legends on the keycaps wherever applicable. These are in some cases well thought out and implemented; there are the number keys as part of the alphanumeric key cluster, for example, where the secondary legends are in line with the primary legends. But others, especially the Tesoso-specific ones, are below or above the primary ones. Then there's the font used on the legends, which is going to be divisive again. Sure, the use of seamed doubleshot injection does mean that looped characters will come off incomplete, but the font used exaggerates this further and detracts from the keyboard's otherwise clean nature. Of course, I acknowledge that this is a subjective matter of preference.

Flipping the keyboard around, we see the usual certification sticker in the middle. There are rubber pads at the top and bottom corners for some friction against a desk's surface, which prevents the keyboard from sliding around. There are two large case feet at the top as well, and these can be raised to elevate the keyboard. Keeping up with the attention to detail here, the bottom of each foot has a rubber pad as well, so they won't scratch when used.

Tesoro has used a female mini-USB port inset into the body of the keyboard, but the port itself is flush with the surface with a sufficient gap on either side such that most, if not all, USB Type-A to mini-USB cables will work just fine here. I am surprised they went with a mini-USB form factor, however, although the rating for connects/disconnects should be a non-factor here. The provided cable is nicely braided, does not feel as though the braiding will come off anytime soon, and is color-coordinated with the rest of the keyboard. The keyboard requires a single male USB Type-A port on your computer, and USB 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1) is recommended to ensure no power issues with the RGB LEDs.

Tesoro is using the tried and tested OEM profile with their keycaps here, with the usual slanted rows and concave surfaces on top. The keycaps are compatible with Cherry's MX stem design; however, the bottom row does not follow the standard spacing, so the stock keycaps better be good. Turns out, these are - these are made out of ABS plastic with an average wall thickness of 1.16 mm (measured for twenty keycaps), and both their primary and secondary legends are doubleshot injected for longevity. The primary legends will also get illuminated at a different intensity than the secondary legends for the Tesoro-specific legends, as seen above, wherein an LED is right at the center for the demo. The floating keycap design makes removing the keycaps for cleaning purposes easy, though it does introduce the potential for some light bleed as well.

The sample I received had the linear Tesoro-branded optical red switches, which have more of a burgundy stem instead. The larger switches have Costar stabilizers on them too, which are lubed well out of the box and feel very good in use.

The provided keycap puller can potentially scratch the sides of the keycaps, but the switch puller will definitely leave some scratches on the powder-coated finish in the top plate, which is unfortunate. On the white sample especially, these will be visible and can't be buffed out completely, and I suspect this is less of an issue with the black version. Perhaps going with a metal puller with sharp edges wasn't the best idea here. Removing the switches is very simple once you know you have to use the puller and hook it around two extending nibs on the top and bottom of each switch as viewed from the front. Then, wiggle left and right while pulling out and the switch should come right out, revealing the connections on the PCB underneath, and also showing the RGB LED present on top of the switch.
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