Tesoro are back on eTeknix once again! While we looked at their gorgeous new Lobera Spectrum recently, today we take a look at something a little further up the range, the new Excalibur Spectrum. RGB keyboards are all the rage recently, they’re often still the same keyboard they were last year in terms of performance and features, with the new addition of some funky lighting effects; no bad thing for those who love to customise their setup.
As you can see from the spec, the Excalibur is a fairly standard size keyboard, it features multiple profiles, built-in memory, RGB lighting and more.
“Tesoro Excalibur is a mechanical keyboard with an advanced backlighting processor. Unlike the original Excalibur which is capable of recording and storing macros, Spectrum also has a number of stunning illumination modes. Using this keyboard is a lot of colorful fun. Excalibur is the first Tesoro keyboard to have a classic solid look. It can be used with a gaming rig as well as on an office desk due to its straight and strong lines. The supreme spectrum backlighting, however, adds more color to our guy. Each key’s color can be set individually, the illumination will react to keystrokes, change colors in different ways, and do other crazy things.”
The packaging for the Excalibur Spectrum is simple enough, giving us a nice and colourful image of the keyboard on the front of the box.
The Excalibur comes hard-wired and you’ll be happy to hear it features a durable braided cable with a gold-plated connector.
The general design of the keyboard is nothing revolutionary. We’ve got a fairly standard chassis size, black plastic trim and a standard key layout.
The key caps look nice and smart, with a custom laser etched font to allow for the built-in lighting effects.
Here you can see we have the Kailh Red switches; it is also available in blue and brown switch.
A full-size number pad, nothing particularly interesting, but it’s all there.
The Excalibur can be switched from 6-key to n-key rollover directly from the keyboards using Fn-Shift + Ins and Del keys
The arrow keys also double up as lighting controls, allowing you to tweak things such as brightness and contrast.
There’s five built-in profiles on the keyboard, which are great for storing lighting effects.
Windows lock, as well as master volume controls.
Plus a basic set of multimedia controls; perfect for flicking through some music while you’re working or gaming.
As I said before, the keyboard is hard-wired with a thick braided cable. The cable is mounted off-center, which should help reduce conflicts with your monitor stand.
The underside of the keyboard is relatively featureless, aside from four rubber grips that will help prevent it from sliding around your desk.
There are two kickstands on the base, although they’re pretty standard and that’s a real shame, as most mechanical keyboards has stronger ones with rubber grips of their own.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting this moment! Plugging in the Excalibur Spectrum immediately brings it to life. At the default settings, the keyboard has a soft cool blue light, highlighting all of the keys and providing us with a subtle under glow. The maximum brightness is powerful enough to give you a good lighting effect in a bright room and even more so in a darker environment.
There’s several lighting effects available, such as reactive lighting that fades out shortly after you’ve pressed the key.
A full sweeping rainbow effect, a cool party trick, but incredibly distracting while you’re trying to work.
A smaller fixed rainbow pattern over the primary gaming keys.
Finally, another reaction setting, my favourite one too. Hit a key and the surrounding keys give off a burst of light.
The performance of this keyboard is pretty much what I expected. It’s a high-end mechanical keyboard and while it may be one of the cheapest RGB keyboards, it’s still an expensive products, so it has some fierce competition out there. Fortunately, I’m very happy with how it performs, the switches feel snappy and responsive, the chassis of the keyboard feels durable and firmly planted whilst gaming and it’s not overly loud to type on while typing; at least when compared to similar red switched keyboards.
Most people are familiar with the Cherry MX Red switch, but Cherry are not the only switch maker in the world. This keyboard uses Kailh brand switches, which are very close to the Cherry switches. Personally, I couldn’t tell the difference in a blind test. The Kailh red switches are fast and light, which is great for firing off those rapid keystrokes whilst gaming.
Playing a fair few games of Battlefield 4, Borderlands 2 and this weeks particular delight, The Witcher 3, proved no problem for the Excalibur and I’d happily adopt it as my full-time gaming keyboard. The only thing some may desire from this keyboard is a few dedicated macro keys, but it’s not like there aren’t a fair few other options on the market for those that do.
The keys are a little clanky, especially when you have a heavy typing action like I do, but they’re still just a little quieter than most other keyboards and you could always improve this further with the installation of some O-ring mods.
The Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum RGB Mechanical Keyboard is available from Newegg in the US for just $129.99, but unfortunately, I’m unable to find a reliable UK reseller, but that’s something we believe will soon be resolved. What is important here is that $129.99 is $20 – $50 cheaper than offerings from brands such as Razer and Corsair; those who want RGB thrills, but want to save a little extra cash will no doubt be pleased about this.
This keyboard is pretty simple, so there’s really little I can fault about it. As with most mechanical keyboards, you’re getting a core package that’s fairly uniform when compared to most other mechanical keyboards. The chassis has a good weight to it, so it feels planted on your desk, even when you’re frantically mashing the keys. The plastic chassis is nothing exciting to look at, but the clean black finish provides a nice contrast for the spectacular RGB lighting effects.
Build quality is very good in general, and the keyboard feels like it’ll survive more than a few knocks and bumps without any issues. The only minor gripe is the kickstands, they’re pretty basic; they’re enough, but stronger ones would have been even better.
The Kailh RGB switches look fantastic and whilst the lighting isn’t as customisable as some other RGB keyboards, it offers all of the colourful thrills most people are likely to desire, but more importantly, it does it for a lower cost than other RGB keyboards, without making any sacrifice to the keyboards general performance.
- Durable chassis construction
- Fully mechanical
- RGB lighting effects
- Braided cable
- Great performance
- Competitive price
- 6/N key rollover
- Small plastic kick-stands
- Limited availability in some regions
“The Excalibur is a great keyboard to use and while it may lack some of the more advanced features of its competitors, it is priced to reflect that. In this part of the market, the Excalibur Spectrum is excellent value for money and a colourful addition to any desktop setup.”
Thank you Tesoro for providing us with this sample.