Tesoro Lobera Supreme G5NL mechanical keyboard review - Rainbow sword

First Look

Cannot say Lobera is in any way different in its packaging than most mechanical keyboards. Yes, you have the trapeze shaped box, which is something specific to Tesoro, but everything else is the same.

Once open, the first thing popping out is the keyboard, covered by a thick layer of plastic taped to it. Dense foam is used on the sides to keep the Lobera in check, whilst a small cardboard box protects the cabling. There's also a small DC-in power lead to provide a bit more juice to the USB hub in the upper-right corner, since without it, the hub can't even power a mouse.

As I previously mentioned, the keyboard doesn't use Cherry-MX Switches, instead opting for Kalih. Kalih is a Chinese made brand of mechanical switches, with similar, if not nigh-on identical architecture and design to the German Cherry-MX. Whilst Cherry is being imitated and cloned en masse, it seems Kalih are one of the few who can match the interior build quality. Of course, at the time of writing, there’s no way for me to say it actually matches Cherry-MX, nor can I say they're worse, because according to the packaging (and to the Kalihua company charts), they're still rated at 50million clicks.

Tesoro Lobera - Switches

The switch itself, the black variant, requires a similar amount of force to the MX-Black to be actuated, retaining that stiff feel to it. However, it’s not really the same feedback, the switch is mushier for some reason, and if you bottom it out, it will never hit the steel plate.

Keycaps

Tesoro opted for laser-etched keycaps, with a custom printing. Initially, I thought the keys were smudged off, before realising this was more or less an effect of the etching itself. 

The coating is thick and heavy, so it’s not going to wear off anytime soon. However, if you want to use custom or third-party caps, you shouldn't have any problem, since Kalih uses the same type of plug as Cherry does.

Tesoro Lobera G5NL - Keycaps

 Build Quality

G5NL feels like a well-built mechanical keyboard. Sure, it has a few angular edges, and the plastic matches rought iron frame with brushed aluminium texture, but that’s to be expected from Tesoro. Weighing in at 1.17kg (2.57 pounds), Lobera Supreme is slightly lighter than its Cherry-MX full-sized counterparts.

The left & right edges are slightly angled downwards, running towards the light-bar, which shines in the key’s LED color. The lower section’s left & right sides are also angled upwards, and this design choice gives way to some nifty side handles for the mech.

The model we received uses a traditional ANSI layout, with a wide-shift, a large backspace and a large enter. Three smaller thumb buttons have been added right beneath the Space-bar.

Multimedia and backlighting

Though it has plenty o’ colors in its arsenal, Lobera G5NL isn’t a fully RGB backlit keyboard, sporting only 228 colors to choose from. There are 4 lighting stages, and three lighting modes. First is the entire keyboard to be fully illuminated; the other is for WASD, Space-bar, Profile, Arrow, and 2, 4, 6, 8 to be lit; lastly, there’s the WASD, Space-Bar, Profile Keys, Arrows and number-keys atop are illuminated.

As you might expect, since there are no added wheels or extra buttons (except the three H-Keys), there’s an F-Key to be had. F1 to F6 are used for mute, volume down, volume up, play/pause, back and forward.



Tesoro Lobera G5NL - Backlit

F7 is the blank one, but F8 through F12 are used to swap through the five available profiles, without having to go to the software to modify anything.

On the right side, we get a few other keys pulling double duty, including Insert and Delete for swapping between NKRO and 6-Key, and the 2 and 8 used to dim, brighten, or cycle through lighting modes.

Ports

Covering the USB hub is a sticker warning about how overdrawing can cause damage to the device. Once the sticker is removed, there are 2 USB 2.0 ports, a DC-Jack in the middle, and the headphone / mic pass-through. Unfortunately, the power-jack is right dab in the middle, between the USB and the audio jack slots. So, if you have anything that doesn’t have the standard plug shape (and no added side plastic), you’re going to have a bad time. To top it all off, the DC-IN cable is also only 40cm long, which is another limitation.

Tesoro Lobera G5NL - Ports

You can’t use the HUB without the additional DC-Jack either. Whilst it still is active, it struggles with a classic flash-drive, it most assuredly can’t handle anything needier than that (which is, just about everything).

Connectivity

The cable length should be around 1.55 meter, according to the packaging. However, that’s only true with an asterix attached to it. The 1.55m length is given to the main section, then you also have an additional 20cm, for a secondary USB plug.

Tesoro Lobera G5NL - Cable

Both the 3.5mm audio-jacks and USB plugs are gold-plated.

Wrist-Rest

Alas, just like any other Tesoro keyboard, Lobera G5NL has no wrist-rest, unless you count the small edge under the thumb keys. I would have liked to see a wrist-rest here, because for me, this is a make-or-break deal.

Underneath

Turning the mech over, I see Tesoro continued using the brushed aluminium texture. Towards the front bit, there are two boomerang shaped feet to each corner, and a straight one in the middle. To the back there are two straight rubberised feet for some much needed grip.

Tesoro Lobera G5NL - Backside

As for adjustable feet, Tesoro gets a nice shiny gold star for granting two height-options, in the form of 4 feet: 2 large ones with a rubber cap, and 2 smaller ones out of solid plastic.

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