Tesoro has been one of the recent accessory companies that has come out of nowhere in the last few years and has provided gamers with some spectacular pieces. From their solid 7.1 surround headset to the previously reviewed Excalibur backlit mechanical keyboard. We really enjoyed the solid feedback that the Excalibur provided as an affordable mechanical keyboard. With excellent actuation, the Excalibur is still one of our favorite mechanical keyboards and a few months after the release of the original Excalibur, Tesoro refreshes the keyboard with a new backlight feature; full spectrum lighting. Read on to hear our impressions.
Physically the Excalibur Spectrum is identical to the Excalibur as the primary change to the Spectrum is the backlighting. The original keyboard had a wonderful deep blue backlight that could be turned on or off with no other real options. The Spectrum changes the game though, adding a number of color modes to the keyboard's backlighting. Where previous iterations had a single color, nearly the entire color spectrum is represented on this new release and it is wonderful. I honestly have not had as much fun with a simple keyboard in all my years working with computers; there is something absolutely joyous about the vibrant light show that the Spectrum provides.
There is an option that is a full spectrum wave, which shows all of the colors as it moves from left to right; you can see a quick video at: http://www.screencast.com/t/qKFgUBw1 This is definitely one of my favorite modes, though with Spring now here my office tends to be a bit brighter and the effect is not nearly as impressive so I have switched to the Trigger effect. This particular effect lights up each key as it is struck in a soft blue that is quite pleasing.
On top of those two modes there is a fireworks mode, which is like a static explosion on each keystroke; there is a mode called Radiation where each keystroke sends a line of flickering lights towards the right of the keyboard in a very neat effect. There are a few others, such as Ripple, Breathing, and Wave (all of which are quite self explanatory). Though it may sound silly, the light shows that this keyboard is absolutely wonderful to just sit and watch.
The particular Spectrum that we have on hand uses the Kailh Blue switches identical to those found in the Excalibur that we reviewed back in November. For those new to the mechanical keyboard world, Blue switches have a distinct sound (that I love) with noticeable key actuation and feedback. To me, each key strokes seems to have a type of haptic feedback that is simply satisfying (though, it is not true haptic feedback; it is simply how I interpret the feedback of Blue switches).
On top of the excellent feel of the keystroke and the extremely awesome "click" that is bound to annoy co-workers, the Excalibur Spectrum is rated for 60 million keystrokes; no membrane / standard keyboard can boast numbers like that and so far with the abuse that I put my keyboards through, the Spectrum is showing no signs of wear-and-tear and it is holding up like the day I pulled it out of the box. This keyboard is durable and has an excellent backlighting system as well.
Given that the Spectrum is virtually identical to the previously-reviewed Excalibur there is little to say, as outside of the lighting upgrade there were no real updates to the keyboard itself. This does not mean that the Spectrum is a waste, not by any means, given the choice I would pick up the Spectrum in a heartbeat when compared to the standard Excalibur. The extra flair actually does improve the overall aesthetic for the keyboard and is a blast to just sit and watch while the lights are out as the light show that it gives off is just grand. Many companies will update existing platforms, some for better, some for worse, but Tesoro's latest Excalibur mechanical keyboard is certainly an improvement.
Review by Robert