Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum keyboard review - RGB simplicity

First Look

The Excalibur Spectrum is packaged in a what could be described as a simple black box with a glamour shot of the front, and a detailed layout of the mech on the back. Unlike other Tesoro keyboards, the Excalibur features a classic design, with a simple rectangular shape, no edges, thumb-rests or additional buttons.

 Tesoro Excalibur - Switches

It uses Kailh mechanical switches, which means there are a lot of similarities with Cherry's MX, both in architecture and functionality. The model I received uses Kailh RED, which are linear-switches with an actuation force of about 50g. The box advertises said switch uses gold contacts and has a rated lifespan of 60 million clicks. Unlike Cherry-MX RGB, ROMER-G or QS1, there's no advanced method of implementing RGB backlighting. It uses strong RGB LEDs that are placed at the top of the switch, exactly as you would find in most one-color backlit mechanical keyboards.

 Keycaps

Right now, Tesoro has two different mechanical keyboards on sale, the premium Lobera Spectrum, which comes with additional lighting schemes, and has a very specific design. Excalibur is the "budget" offering, with a classic look, and lesser customization options. Since it relies on Kailh switches, it has the same cross type stem used by Cherry-MX, meaning that you can replace the entire keyset if that's something you want to do.

 Tesoro Excalibur - Keycaps

As for the quality of plastic used in construction, Tesoro has opted to use laser-etched ABS plastic with classic lettering. In terms of backlit mechanical keyboards, there are no better keycap to be had.

The LEDs are bright enough to bleed out around the edges, though nowhere near as bright as Razer's Blackwidow. 

Layout

The full-sized keyboard uses a standard ANSI layout, with no additional macro-keys or any kind of special shaped keys. It seems Tesoro is not against replacing your keycaps as time goes on.

Multimedia and backlighting

Instead of using additional dedicated media-keys or Profile switchers, Tesoro has repurposed the Function Key to work alongside F-keys. As such, from F1 through F5 are used to switch between profiles. F6-F12 are used for: Windows Lock, Mute, Volume Down, Volume Up, Play / Pause, and Forward.

Tesoro Excalibur - Media Keys

These are not the only additional functions inserted in the mech. The F key on the Pause-button allows you to switch between PC-Mode and Gaming Mode, while Insert & Delete allow you to alternate between Typing-Mode, 6-Key Rollover and N-Key rollover. Lastly, Up & Down keys allow you to adjust the lighting intensity, while Left & Right allow you to cycle between backlighting effects without the aid of any software package installed. That's probably one of the most satisfying things about this mech.

Wrist Rest

Tesoro doesn't use wrist-rests, and though Excalibur seems to be an unique mech (by being the most simple) in its line-up, it still doesn't feature one. However, it's worth mentioning that due to its rectangular shape, finding and using a third-party rest should be easy enough.

Underside

Turning the Excalibur around, you find 4 rubber pads designed to keep the keyboard in place. It also features two plastic risers with a grippy rubber base to be kept in place on the desk.

 Tesoro Excalibur - Underside

Connectivity

Though its a budget it, Tesoro has opted to use a thick and braided USB cable to the whole set-up. The connector is gold-plated, and that's a nice thing to see.

 Tesoro Excalibur - Cable

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