July 01, 2015

Unboxing & Review: Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Tesoro make it's debut appearance in the Malaysian gaming peripherals market a year ago with its gaming mechanical keyboards that are easily distinguishable by their asymmetric design and unusual silver-purple color scheme, but it didn't leave much of an impression to the majority of the local community due to the lack of exposure.

We've noticed the existence of Tesoro back in 2012 while navigating through some mechanical keyboard forums, the Durandal's unique design tickled our interest, and we're lucky enough to be given the opportunity to tryout one of Tesoro's latest mechanical keyboard, the Excalibur Spectrum, courtesy of Tesoro Malaysia.



Taking our first look at the packaging, we have a preview of the product printed at the front along with its prominent features.

Next, a brief but detailed description of the keyboard and its features can be found at the back of the box.

The content of the box is pretty straight forward, a catalogue of Tesoro's product, User's Guide and the keyboard itself.

As always, we would like to highlight that gold plated USB connector plays no role in improving the polling rate or signal strength. What it does here is that it keeps the connector more durable against oxidation so that you won't end up with a flashy looking keyboard but with an ugly dull looking oxidized USB connector.

Braided cables enhances the durability of the cable and prevent unwanted damages like fraying end or breaking due to excessive pulling.

And now, the keyboard! The Excalibur line up is probably Tesoro' first and ever attempt in making a normal looking keyboard and it turns out pretty well.

As RGB mechanical keyboards are struggling to become the mainstream and affordable gaming keyboard for everyone, the use of imitation mechanical switches is inevitable. While some might find imitation switches aren't as good as the ones from Cherry MX, we've noticed some improvement in the quality over years. Kailh, amongst the earliest imitation from China, is now one of the best alternative for Cherry MX and has been supplied to renowned brands for more affordable mechanical keyboards.

Are all metal wire stabiliser made by Costar? Not quite. We've seen similar designs on a number of gaming mechanical keyboards, but this is definitely not one from Costar. The metal wire design here is questionable as it seems to bent a little resting against the switch. The impact on performance is pretty much negligible, but we feel pretty uneasy with though nobody seems to complain about it even though it has been implemented on pretty much majority of the mechanical gaming keyboard that uses this type of stabiliser.

The function key trigger is used to activate extra function keys on the keyboard as follows:

  • F1~F5, toggle the keyboard profile which can be configured with the software.
  • F6, disable Windows key to avoid accidental trigger that ruins your game.
  • F7~F12, media controls for volume and media playback.

  • Arrow Up / Down, toggle brightness level (4 level).
  • Arrow Left / Right, toggle lighting profiles.

  • Ins, toggle 6 Key Rollover mode.
  • Del, toggle N-key Rollover mode.
  • Home, activate macro recording.
  • Pause, toggle Gaming mode (disable Windows key) or PC mode (Windows key enabled)

Numlock and Capslock indicators are retained, but the scroll lock indicator has been replaced with the Gaming mode / PC mode indicator.

The back of the keyboard looks clean and no hidden screws is spotted.

These rubber pads helps to keep your keyboard from unwanted slippage that could potentially ruin your gaming experience.

The keyboard feet comes with a rubber pad of its own to prevent slippage as well in case if you've decided to have your keyboard tilted.


Trying out the Tesoro | 鉄修羅 Excalibur Spectrum... And yes, it's music game friendly :)Million thanks to Tesoro Malaysia for making this review possible!
Posted by Tech Critter on Monday, 29 June 2015

Here's our attempt in checking out the build quality, solders and more. Taking the Excalibur Spectrum apart isn't hard at all but you will need to be extra careful to not to break anything and in the process, voiding your warranty.

Everything looks clean from the top, although there's quite a lot of unused slots. No bad solder joints spotted so far. Judging from the shape of the PCB, this is probably the same PCB used by other Tesoro keyboards with asymmetric keyboard chassis. 

Clean solder joints at the back of the PCB as well, double thumbs up for Tesoro on the QC. Also, the PCB has the function of each switch labelled on to make switch replacement easier - in case if you've decided to keep the keyboard to the extend where the warranty expires, this is what helps to make your maintenance easier.

A tiny little capacitor, the key to all those fancy pulsing effect and more.

Lighting Effects


The software has a very straight forward design with most function visible on screen that is easily comprehensible by many. It'll take a while for those who are new to Tesoro keyboard software to figure out some of the functions which requires a certain level of understanding on software, especially the SYNC Program function. 

There's a total of 6 profiles (PC mode and the other 5 profiles) onto which you can program your keys, but try not to override those crucial keys as they will affect your macro performance to a certain degree.

Starting off with the Macro settings, you can record the actions that you wanted to repeat multiple times and then assign it to a specific key that you find convenient for you to reach. One thing we find here is that the recorded and assigned macro cannot be triggered as a parallel action as the first action will be overridden by the second or other consecutive actions. 

Key assignment allows you to assign a selected key to some other functions, pretty useful for users who find that shortcut keys of a frequently used program is too far away and wish to group those shortcut keys in an easily reachable area on the keyboard. 

A continuation to the SYNC Program function, it is a unique function that lets you assign a profile to a specific program in which the profile is activated automatically when the assigned program is launched. 

Illumination wise, you can configure the LED color of your choice and assign it to the keyboard. ( Not applicable to the rainbow wave mode ) 

The lighting effects allows you to assign a default lighting effect to a selected profile.

Key Rollover Test

It's feels odd when the keyboard itself is already NKRO ready but a button to toggle for 6-KRO mode is included. Still, it doesn't stops us from checking out this feature and it never gets old!

The NKRO mode allows you to hold down as many keys as you want without having any signal blocking issue or ghosting effect, making it a great companion for gamers who needs to hold down as many keys in game, especially for rhythm games like o2jam, DJMax, etc. 

Trying out the Tesoro | 鉄修羅 Excalibur Spectrum... And yes, it's music game friendly :)Million thanks to Tesoro Malaysia for making this review possible!
Posted by Tech Critter on Monday, 29 June 2015

Here's our attempt trying out the NKRO feature.

Final Thoughts
If you're fond of Cherry MX switches, confusion is unavoidable on first time experience with Kailh switches. For our case, the Kailh red appears to be a little heavier than Cherry MX red, as but lighter than those of Cherry MX black. Gaming on Kailh switches doesn't feels bad at all and in fact, it feels very close to gaming on Cherry MX switches.

When it comes to aesthetics, the Excalibur Spectrum is what we would describe as a hidden gem. The exterior looks plain, but things totally changed when the RGB lights are on. Who would have guessed that Tesoro would make a plain looking mechanical gaming keyboard with tons of bling? Still, the customisation on these RGB LEDs is somewhat limited by the current software, which somewhat limited the full potential of an RGB LED keyboard. Let's hope that Tesoro will continue to improve the software so that one day, it would allow users to create custom lighting profiles of their own.

As for the price, we're sure that you're aware of the market price of most RGB mechanical keyboard falls in the range of about RM500, whereas it's under RM400 for the Excalibur Spectrum (to be confirmed). So if you're looking for an RGB mechanical keyboard with a decent price and good performance, we would definitely recommend you to consider the Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum.

  • Good looking and solid build quality
  • Braided USB cable for enhanced durability
  • Clean solder work
  • Full key rollover, or better known as NKRO that allows you to register any amount of keys at the same time
  • Surprisingly affordable (to be confirmed, we've received news that it'll fall under RM400)
  • The metal wire stabiliser is slightly bended and touching against the switch
  • Macro action cannot be triggered as parallel action
  • Limited option in customising lighting profile