Tesoro can hardly be called a newcomer to the computer peripherals market. However, she never managed to find her own unique niche or find a «chip» that radically distinguishes this brand from other competing brands. Therefore, the company has to go more in line with the general fashion for certain devices. The good news is that Tesoro does not give up and continues to experiment in an attempt to create an exotic product that no one else will have. And this time the experiment was a success. We present to the attention of readers a review of the Tesoro Gram Spectrum low-profile mechanical keyboard.
|Model||Tesoro Gram Spectrum|
|Polling frequency, Hz||1000|
|Number of keys||104|
|Keystroke resource, mln.||60|
|Switch type||Agile (Kailh RGB Blue)|
|Changing the angle of the body||+|
|Built-in memory, KB||512|
|Ability to record macros||+|
|Handling rollovers||6KRO / NKRO|
|Backlight||Yes (RGB, 16.8 million colors)|
|USB cable length, m||1,8|
|Braid material||Nylon braid|
|Material||Steel / Plastic|
|Removable palm rest||–|
|Dimensions (L x W x H), mm||445 x 136 x 25|
|OS Compatibility||Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10|
|Peculiarities||Detachable USB cable, built-in 32-bit Arm Cortex processor|
|Average cost, $||140|
Contents of delivery
The packaging of the keyboard looks quite informative, mostly copying the content of the product’s official website. Description of the main advantages and photos of the product available. Protection against damage — two small dampers on the sides and a plastic bag.
The package includes instructions and a detachable braided USB cable. The cable is 1.8 meters long and has a ferrite bead on the side of the larger connector.
Appearance and design
Appearance Tesoro Gram Spectrum discreet, elegant and simple. The entire top panel consists of a solid metal plate, above which the key mechanisms rise, made according to the now popular «skeleton» scheme — without a frame around the buttons. The corners of the panel are neatly rounded, and the bottom edge is bent at a 45-degree downwards. This keyboard is available in black and white colors, and in black it looks, of course, much more solid.
The keyboard has English and Russian engraving. The first is located at the top center and is fairly well illuminated by the built-in LEDs. The Cyrillic alphabet is applied with the help of faded paint in the lower right part of the keys. It is well read in daylight, but very poorly distinguishable in the dark. This savings can be quite frustrating for non touch typists. In general, the key layout is absolutely standard, the left and right Shift are elongated, F1 is located exactly above the number «2», the Win key is in its rightful place. It can traditionally be blocked from being triggered by pressing it once in combination with Fn (unlocking is done by pressing this combination again). Button combinations (F1–F5) + Fn are reserved by default for switching profiles stored in the built-in memory. F6+Fn locks all keys (child lock function) and F7+Fn completely mutes the sound.
On the right, everything is also standard. Enter and Backspace are single line and long. The inconspicuous Tesoro logo is above the NumLk button. A little to the right there are three bright blue dot LEDs. The first marks the inclusion of the game mode, the second marks the activation of NumPad, and the third CapsLock. There is no indicator for Scroll Lock. Available key combinations with Fn in this part of the keyboard: Home — hardware macro recording, Ins / Del — switching the anti-ghosting mode (6KRO / NKRO), Pause — turning on the game mode, Up / down arrows — adjusting the brightness, and “right / left » — selection of lighting effects. F8 and F9 adjust the sound volume, and F10-F12 are responsible for controlling the playback of media files. The order of recording macros on the fly is as follows: the Fn + Home combination is pressed (the G indicator starts blinking), then the key to which the command is planned to be fixed is pressed (any except for the Win and Fn buttons), while the Game and Num Lock indicators blink. Then the required combination is typed and Fn + Home is pressed again to end the recording. All three indicators blink for a couple of seconds and go out, which is a sign of a successful recording of the command. There is probably a combination to reset the keyboard memory to default values, but the instructions do not mention this.
Mechanisms from Kailh are used here as switches. Although technically they can be called Cherry MX Blue clones in terms of tactile sensations, in fact they are only remotely similar to them. Apparently, this system was developed specifically for Tesoro, which gave them the name Agile (mobile). The case and pin of the switches are made of transparent and white plastic, only its lower part, which protrudes slightly above the surface, indicates the type of mechanism. The RGB LED is mounted on the bottom of the switch body. The main part of its light passes through the upper beveled face of the mechanism. A characteristic click when pressed coincides with the moment the button is activated, which occurs already at 1.5 mm of travel. Until it stops, the key travels another 2 mm of the path. For comparison, classical mechanisms are triggered by 2 mm, and let the total be 4 mm. The latch is reset almost at the very top, therefore, after the first pressing, if you do not release the cap to the end, you can make many activations of the switch almost silently. The caps are made by double casting and have a height of 6.2 mm. Standard buttons — 11.5 mm. Stabilizers on long buttons are wire, the keys hold quite evenly. Judging by the official website, at the moment Tesoro Gram Spectrum is available for purchase with two options for mechanisms — clicky tactile Blue and quiet linear Red.
Thanks to the use of a thin chassis, skeleton button layout, and low-profile keycaps, this keyboard is quite thin compared to other mechanical keyboards. The low height also contributes to the fact that it is quite possible to do without a palm rest.
The keycaps have recesses in the middle, but there are no inclinations in the profile. When the legs are folded in, the buttons are almost parallel to the table surface. And with the legs unfolded, the height of the back of the keyboard increases by 16 mm and it acquires a characteristic slope. Tilt will be required if the user is sitting low. If it “hangs” over the table, then it will be more convenient to use the device with folded legs so that there are no strong kinks in the wrist joint.
The keyboard has no additional ports. The cable jack is located on the back, on the right side of the case, on the edge of the digital key block.
The bottom and small sides of the keyboard are made of matte plastic. There are four triangular rubber feet at the corners of the case, and a sticker with the serial number of the product in the center. There are no mounting screws on this side — they are all recessed into the top panel and hidden under the keys.
Folding legs have only one fixation position, their base is rubberized.
The signal cable socket does not have a reliable kink protection or locking latches, so it must be handled with care to avoid mechanical damage to the connector.
All buttons on the keyboard are RGB backlit and can be set to any color or disabled. Only the Latin layout is illuminated, the Cyrillic alphabet is barely visible in the dark. The color palette looks naturally closer to the right side of the spectrum (purple, green, blue). White, red and yellow shades are displayed incorrectly. Parasitic light between the buttons is negligible. It can be negated by reducing the brightness (four levels are available and the ability to completely turn off the backlight).
LEDs peeking out from under the buttons do not blind. However, they can cast a noticeable reflection on surrounding objects. The dotted blue diodes of the Lock indicators are bright when viewed at a right angle, in other positions they do not create discomfort.
As software Tesoro Gram Spectrum uses the individual driver version 1.92 dated 01/03/2017. The latest current firmware version is numbered 3540 and is dated 12/25/2015. The software does not have Russian localization. After installation, the program is registered in autorun and loaded every time the system starts. There is no possibility to turn off its automatic start, which is rather strange, because the keyboard’s on-board memory perfectly saves all settings in five available profiles. The basic driver screen with the keyboard image is the main one for all functions, changes occur in it only in the lower right corner. The six top tabs allow you to instantly switch device profiles (which can also be done in hardware by pressing the Fn + (F1-F5) and Fn + Pause combinations. The PC Mode profile is the default setting. It does not provide for the possibility of reassigning commands, however, it supports backlight setting and binding to operation of certain programs.
When choosing any other of the five remaining profiles, it becomes possible to remap all keys except for the Fn and Win buttons. Only single keyboard commands are reassigned, no special features like calling the desktop or changing the sound are supported.
For buttons, you can record and reassign a macro. The macro editor window allows you to record a command, edit its order and time delays. Interestingly, setting zero delay will not work. Only interrupts with a length of 25 ms, or in the range from 50 to 12750 ms, are executed. The macros themselves are not stored separately anywhere. The name of the executed command will be displayed in the line below the keyboard image when the corresponding button is highlighted in yellow. A white circle with percentages on the left in the middle shows the degree of fullness of the internal memory. The length of macros is in fact limited only by its available volume.
On any of the keys, you can hang the forced launch of the program, or synchronize its operation with certain applications.
In addition, any button can be simply disabled as unnecessary. In this case, it will be displayed in purple in the picture. You can return the actions back for each button separately by clicking on Default, or by resetting the entire profile to default (Profile reset).
Two tabs are responsible for changing the color at once. In the Illumination section, the color of all keys is selected at once.
Lighting effects are configured in Lighting Effect. In particular: Standart is a stationary identical illumination of all buttons; Trigger — flashing the backlight of the button when you click on it; Ripple — a light wave that scatters from a triggered button; Firework — flashing the pressed and surrounding keys in contrasting colors; Radiation is another variant of a narrower wave; Breathing — breathing (gradual ignition and extinction of the backlight); Rainbow — rainbow light wave going from left to right.
And finally, Spectrum colors is an individual backlight setting for each button. For buttons individually configured in color, you can also choose the “breathing” or “trigger” mode (glow when triggered). The luminous keys in the picture are shown in purple, on the rest the backlight is off. What color this or that button is lit can be determined only by looking at the keyboard itself. Multiple selection of buttons is not provided, each is assigned manually and individually, which, when setting up the entire keyboard, can take the user for a long time.
Let’s move on to testing the keyboard.
Ergonomics and testing
A significant reduction in the overall height of the case has a very positive effect on the overall ergonomics of the Tesoro Gram Spectrum keyboard. With the legs unfolded, it reaches the dimensions of ordinary mechanics. But with the legs folded down, the feel of this device is reminiscent of using a thin laptop. Thus, despite the absence of a palm rest and rational angles of inclination of the rows of keys, the operation of the keyboard is quite comfortable and without feeling tired for a long time. Its body has good rigidity and high stability on the table surface. The appearance and quality of the materials are also very pleasant. A completely standard layout does not take time to get used to the blind typing method, adaptation occurs instantly.
Although I’m not a fan of the «blue» type of mechanical switches, I liked their work in the Agile variant. The crisp tactile feedback, accompanied by a click of medium volume, feels much more comfortable here than on the classic Cherry MX Blue. Operation is also much faster. The only thing to get used to is the reverse. It is quite long, with a noticeable push at the end of the trajectory (this is returned to the place of the latch). But, until the moment of return, there is a certain gap in which the contacts have already opened, and the latch has not yet returned to its original position. If at this moment the button is pressed again, another operation will occur, but without a click or tactile feedback. The stabilization of all keys, including long ones, is more than worthy. By the way, skeleton-type keyboards have another important advantage — the ease of cleaning from dirt and dust, for which it is enough to remove all the caps and wipe the space between the buttons.
The keyboard has two anti-ghosting modes — 6KRO and NKRO, which can also be switched at any time by pressing the Fn + Ins / Del key combination. The first option (when simultaneous pressing of six keys in any combination is allowed) is useful in case of problems with starting the computer. As a rule, 6KRO is more than enough for all gaming situations.
In the NKRO mode, the simultaneous operation of all buttons is allowed. Situations in which this may be necessary are extremely rare.
The Tesoro Gram Spectrum keyboard made a very positive impression on me. Its look, build quality, and tactile feel from the low-profile mechanical switch caps leave a lasting impression of comfort when typing and playing. By and large, it can be called the most original product in the entire line of the company. The closest competitor for Tesoro Gram can be considered Kingston’s HyperX Alloy FPS, but the latter, nevertheless, is not for the better with standard mechanical switches with large caps and no RGB backlighting.
The disadvantages of Tesoro Gram Spectrum are the lack of Cyrillic backlighting, inadequate color reproduction of some colors and inconvenient software. These points are unlikely to be decisive for most of its buyers, but for some it may be a critical argument against its acquisition.
Most of all, Tesoro Gram Spectrum will appeal to users who are engaged in typing large amounts of text. The device can be recommended as the first mechanical keyboard and for those who are used to working on laptops with scissor keys. For gaming use, the option with linear “red” switches is more suitable, and in general this version can be considered more versatile than a keyboard with “blue” mechanisms.