Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
While we seemed to have missed a few of them, all the rage in mechanical keyboards these days has to do more with lighting effects than it does functionality. It seems functionality has come to a plateau where most mechanical keyboards are offering NKRO and anti-ghosting over USB. Switches are readily available, and software seems to have peaked with customizable keys, Macros, and various profile. In reality, this seems like the only place left to go to try to differentiate yourself from the huge sea of mechanical keyboards being offered.
While we have seen products from Tesoro before, and we recall being pleased with them, they too have made that jump to RGB lighting in their mechanical keyboards under the term Spectrum. The Excalibur we have already seen took on this Spectrum identity, and the other in the line so far to make the move is the Lobera. So, when the keyboards take on the word "Spectrum" in their titles, they have full RGB LEDs under each and every key cap.
While we have already seen the Supreme version of the Lobera, today we look at the Tesoro Lobera Spectrum. The outside is very similar with only minor changes, and the sample we have now came with the same switches too. We will be diving deep in the keyboard, and what it has to offer, but the main focus is the updated software, features, and what that means to customers. Join us we give this Tesoro a thorough once over.
Tesoro provides a chart that does cover all of the basics when it comes to looking for a new keyboard. The dimensions are important, and we find that the Lobera Spectrum is 498mm from left edge to right edge. It is 183mm from the front to the back, and without the feet extended, it stands only 25mm in height. It offers 512KB of onboard memory, five profiles, any key is usable as a Macro key, 16.8 million color choices to the LED lighting, and the keyboard and cable weigh in at 1.5kgs. To the right, we find out that the keys offer a 60 million stroke lifespan, it shows three profile keys, but there are five. It connects to the PC via USB, has a 1.55-meter cable, and even offers a pair of USB pass-through ports in the back.
What this chart does not mention is that it offers anti-ghosting, 6-key, and full NKRO support as well. There is also no mention of the Kailh switches or what types are available, and of those options we received brown Kailh switches. They also do not make any mention to the plastic used in the outer components, or that they have painted the steel plate for the switches white to help bring out the brilliance of the multi-colored LEDs.
If you like what you see so far, and this seems like the kind of keyboard you may want to purchase, all we have left to do is locate one and buy it. Finding the Lobera Spectrum is relatively easy. In our search, we found that the pricing is best at both Amazon and Newegg at this time, where both locations are asking $139.99, and both come with free shipping as well.
Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation
On the outside of a much stronger box is a thin sleeve of a box that we see now. We see the fancy naming and logo to the left, with a huge image of the keyboard to the right with a glare effect on the LEDs to draw your attention to it. Along with the Spectrum icon on the left, to the right we have icons for color options, key lifespan, polling rate, onboard memory, and the roll over support options.
One long side of the box offers the Tesoro name and logo and the product name to the far left. The smaller text continues down the entire length in multiple languages but uses this panel to touch again on the more important features of this design.
As we make it to the smaller end of the outer cover, we find that they have used this to display the QR Code to get more information at the point of purchase. It shows how to contact Tesoro, and at the right shows the system requirements and the contents inside.
This long side of the box started off at the left end with all the naming and company logo, but the right end holds what we need to see. Here three features, two dealing with the lighting, and one making mention to the switches. It also tells us we will need a driver and software, as well as specifying which of the four switch types are on this specific keyboard.
At this end of the outer sleeve there is not much going on at all. Just some UPC codes and all the iconography for safety, build, and processes used while assembling it.
Finally at the back, we see a huge image of the keyboard all lit up. Around it, we see mention of the switches, profile keys, lighting, extra keys, locations of them, a look at the software, and four features found inside listed at the bottom.
After removing the thin box, we found an all black, thick cardboard box inside. Once opened, we found our Tesoro Lobera Spectrum wrapped in a layer of thin white foam. To either side is dense foam to keep the keyboard off the packaging and centered, while goodies sit under it, and the cable is hidden at the back.
Inside of the Tesoro folder at the top left, we find that there is a product manual at the top right, and we are also given basic connection and usage notes in the quick start guide below it. We are also given a secondary power lead to help supply the pass-through ports with extra needed power.
Tesoro Lobera Spectrum Mechanical Keyboard
The left edge of the Tesoro Lobera Spectrum comes almost to an edge as the bottom angles upward and the top edge downward until they meet at the LED light strip sandwiched in here. Also looking at the frame, we can see that the angle of attack to the keys leaves them leaning away from the user currently.
The main section of the keyboard offers all the keys we would expect to see. The keyboard and caps are black, but looking at the caps, we can see a white painted steel plate inside. While the font is a bit different than most, it is still easy to discern.
The F1 through F5 keys can offer double duty with the use of the Function button in conjunction with them. PF1 through PF5 stands for the five various profiles that can be used. All you need to do is hold the Function key and press one of these to flip through them once programmed in the software.
The F6 through F12 keys also offer double functionality. Here we can see that there is a Windows lockout, mute, volume down, volume up, play/pause, previous track, and next track multimedia keys.
On the right end of the board, we find all the usual suspects again, but a lot of the keys have double duty here too. The Insert and Delete allow switching from 6-key to NKRO, the 2, 4, 6, and 8 keys have arrows. And on the actual arrows, you can adjust the LED brightness with the left and right, and up and down change the lighting effects with the use of the Function key.
Up by the Tesoro name, which is on black plastic, not purple this time, we find a Game lockout button to the left of the Caps, Number, and Scroll lock LEDs. And to the right is a Macro Record button for on-the-fly programming.
Tesoro Lobera Spectrum Continued
With the dual feet extended all the way, there is a major increase in the attack angle and it now has the keys leaning into the user. We can also see the edge is designed the same and offers the LED strip just like the other side does.
As we turn the corner on the back edge of the Lobera Spectrum, we found the USB cable to the right to connect to the PC, but more obvious is the warning sticker. It tells us that 100mA is the max of these ports under it, and you should not charge a mouse or phone.
Under that sticker, we find the pair of USB 2.0 ports to the left, and we went ahead and stuck the extra power cable into the center. To the right of that optional power cord is the headphone and microphone pass-through jacks to help keep all of the cabling clean and in one place.
Getting back to the main cabling for the Lobera Spectrum, we can see it starts as a very thick cord. After a thick chunk of plastic, the sleeve continues down all four of the connections that need to be made to get full functionality.
Back to the Lobera, as we now look down at the underside of it. The base is flat and offers five thin rubber pads to keep the board in place. There are adjustable feet at the back, and a large sticker in the middle sporting the serial number.
The flip out feet on this keyboard works in two stages. There is a shorter inner raisable foot, but it solid plastic. The larger foot on the outside has a rubberized end to it so that you still get solid footing, unlike with the shorter ones.
Inside the Lobera Spectrum
As we dig deeper into the Lobera Spectrum, we find Kailh brown switches under every key, and exposed torsion bars under the larger keys. Each switch has a milky looking LED, and these are full RGB LEDs.
The caps themselves are textured to offer a bit of a grip to the fingertips, but the painted coating may wear down or flake off over time.
Breaking things down a bit, we can see the lower section of the frame and its ridges that support the steel plate, and even the LED strips on either side. As to the top, there isn't much to it other than covering the gaps between the key groups.
The NXP LPC11U3x chip is a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 based MCU. The use of this chip is how the Lobera can offer the level of software and functionality delivered in this keyboard.
In control of the pass-through USB ports, Tesoro went with the Genesys Logics GL850G USB 2.0 STT hub controller.
Picking a random location to look at for the cleanliness of the work done, we look at the MB1504 PLL frequency synthesizer chip. There are no remnants of flux or any evidence other than the QC marker scribbled on the PCB as anything out of the ordinary.
When we look at the software, we can get into more detail on the lighting effects. For now, here is the Lobera Spectrum in its default light blue that it boots any of the profiles as by default.
There is also a rainbow effect that can be used, where it will even move to the right if you so choose to use it that way. Again, we are only touching on the basics here.
There is also a pre-set for gamers. This way you do not illuminate the entire keyboard, just those that are important for mobility and weapons selection. The rest are turned off in this mode.
After installing the software, we find we are in PC mode at the top. In this mode, we cannot do all that much, but we can select the Sync Program option, Illumination and Lighting Effects for the entire keyboard. You can also use the Default button to reset anything you may have done.
In the Illumination window, we see the bottom right corner has changed now. There we can now choose to backlight the entire board by selecting one of the nine presets, using the rainbow bar to the right of it, or by direct entry of the RGB numbers. Make sure to hit apply, and also exit, as you cannot move to other options without doing so.
Things get creative here in the Lighting Effects section. There is a setting where the whole board is lit with one color. Trigger lights only the key used for roughly two seconds, ripple lights keys around what you pressed and lighting continues in an outward pattern. There is Fireworks, which is like multicolored mini explosions, radiation lights a few keys around the pressed one and trails off to either side. Breathing is obvious, the rainbow wave as we spoke of before, audio as in an EQ type of lighting, or you can select Spectrum colors in the last image we saw on the previous page.
Once in a regular profile, you can also reassign keys by clicking on one, and here we have also selected the Macro Settings. The right side opens a large window and offers importing, exporting, repeat rates, and time delays - everything one needs to do anything they need with a Macro.
After selecting a key on the image above, click on Key Assignments, and remap the board until you are confused if you wish. The nice thing is you can always hit the Default button and reset any profile and start over.
As far as the keyboard is concerned, we expressed our opinion of it when we saw the Lobera Supreme, as most (if not all) of the functionality crosses over to this model. The brown switches are a bit too soft for our liking, but we did appreciate less sound from them as we merrily go writing these reviews. The thing is, with a bit of time, while having a lot of typos at first, we did get used to the lighter switches, and we got our typing mojo back.
Testing anti-ghosting as well as the 6-key and full NKROP, we can say that it all work as intended, and at our fast typing speed, we found no issues there. It is comfortable, and the thin wrist rest is nice too with its texture to help grip your palms; everything works as intended.
The software and the options within it are what sets this keyboard above the usual suspects. Of course, you can have full backlighting as most intend to use when buying a backlit keyboard, but the options outside of that are cool too. The various modes may be confusing if you are one who constantly looks to the keyboard to see where the next keystroke is, but as a peripheral vision thing, it is kind of cool.
The one fault we do have with this keyboard is that the box shows it offers per key customizable illumination, and that to us means we can change any key to any color we want. From what we can gather, this just isn't possible.
For those of you looking for a mechanical keyboard that offers a bit more than most, the Lobera Spectrum is a solid offering. However, it does have some competition these days with all of the per key RGB keyboards coming out now. Where the line splits for this design over many others is that this Lobera Spectrum has a fair bit of flair and style to the main design without the lights. Most others are a bit plainer as far as styling goes. The other factor that plays into this is lighting. While the LED effects are cool to play around with, it seems to be more for show. Most users don't spend their time admiring how cool the keyboard looks as they game or type away staring at the screen.
The asking price is fair at $139.99, we don't have any issue with that at all. Our main concern is spending fairly big when you may very well get bored of the technology within hours of seeing what can be done. Otherwise, this product is a solid choice with plenty of options to keep you enjoying the Lobera Spectrum RGB Advanced Backlighting mechanical keyboard.
|Quality including Design and Build||95%|
|Bundle and Packaging||97%|
|Value for Money||99%|
The Bottom Line: We like the look of the Spectrum over the Supreme version of the Lobera. We still feel that Tesoro keyboards are solid and sturdy, it just comes down to how much you dig on the lighting options, or if you too will get bored with them as we have.
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