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Tesoro Excalibur review: An RGB-enabled keyboard for the budget-conscious

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 18, 2016
Alternatively: An RGB keyboard minus (the rest of) the frills.

So you want to buy an RGB-backlit keyboard without going over-budget, and you can’t stand the look of Tesoro’s faux-industrial Lobera model. Understandable. That’s where the Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum comes in: This bare-bones RGB keyboard lists for $120 and generally sells for even less on Amazon.

Not bad.

Business casual

Count me among the Lobera detractors. I’m not totally averse to keyboards that aim for the mid-2000s “eXtreme” gaming look, all weird edges and fake exposed rivets and the like—but in general it’s not something I want sitting on my desk.

The Tesoro Excalibur, though? Yeah, I could use this in the office. It’s a simple matte-black rectangle, that most generic of keyboard designs. So far, so good.

Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum

Okay, there are still some issues. Namely, the typeface Tesoro uses on both the Lobera and Excalibur keys, which is a pseudo-Consolas bolded until its nearly illegible. It wouldn’t have looked out of place 10 years ago, but with even Razer abandoning this type of “game-y” typeface for lightweight sans-serifs, the Excalibur’s branding doesn’t quite match its office-friendly shape.

Two other complaints: For some reason the chassis is emblazoned with the words “Break the Rules” under the Home block, like a bad tattoo someone received on spring break. And the Escape key is replaced with the Tesoro logo (I’m pretty sure it’s a mask).

Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum

“Hey man, are you sure you’re sober enough to get this tattoo?” “Yeah, no regrets.”

The Excalibur still looks a damn sight less conspicuous than the massive trapezoid that is the Lobera, but there’s room for aesthetic improvement.

Not so luxurious

The Excalibur model also ditches a number of the Lobera’s high-end features, which is a shame considering the two are priced about equal on Amazon (though the Lobera’s list price was initially $20 higher).

You’ll find no USB pass-through here, nor heaphones/microphone pass-through. Worst of all, you’ll be taunted by this fact when you look at the back of the keyboard—there are clearly designated areas where those features could’ve been machined into the plastic but were not.

Oh well.

You also lose dedicated Game Mode and Macro-Record keys, which are relegated to secondary functions on the Pause and Home keys, respectively.

Five keys for on-the-fly profile swapping make it onto the Excalibur though (mapped F1 – F5) and every button on the keyboard is programmable, with settings stored in onboard memory. Not too shabby.

And like the Lobera, the Excalibur’s backlighting is fairly impressive. Tesoro’s using the same lighting method as Razer—an LED lens embedded above the switch. Lighting is bright, color accuracy is solid, transitions are smooth, and the keyboard’s a sight to behold in spectrum-cycling mode.


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