Keyboards

Tesoro GRAM Spectrum RGB Gaming Keyboard Review

Article Pages: « Introduction and Packaging | Software Overview and Performance Summary »

Closer Look at the Tesoro GRAM Spectrum RGB Mechanical Keyboard

Using a full-size 104-key ANSI layout, the Tesoro Gram Spectrum measures 445 x 136mm and is 24.5mm tall before raising the legs at the back.   This is not a light keyboard, weighing 1.05kg in total which is about 2.3 lbs. The majority of the weight is contributed by an iron plate that holds the keys and back plane together. That’s right, iron. The design of the body itself takes a simple approach, having no extra ports or pass-through although the USB connection cable is detachable. It holds in place sturdy on a table with the added heavy iron plate and rubberized feet for traction.

In addition to having shorter travel keys, the keycaps are also low profile and expose the base of the switches that are mounted on the plate. The bottom row follows a non-standard 1.5x, 1x, 1.5x, 6x, 1.5x, 1x, 1x, 1.5x layout.

The legends on the keys are positioned at the upper area of the keycap as that is where the LED on the switch is located, thus it is the optimal location. Tesoro did well marking the shifted values side by side with non-shifted values so they are equally backlit. This is something simple which many keyboard manufacturers with backlit keys fail to do properly often.

 

The secondary features are accessed via combination keys triggered by the Fn key located where the right side Windows key usually is. This function can be combined with the Function keys at the top-most row for profile switching, win-lock, and multimedia control or with Insert/Delete to toggle NKRO/6KRO.

The Kailh agile switches are manufactured by Kaihua Electronics and use a standard Cherry MX mount. Although the LED is located at the top, the transparent body of the stem in addition to the diffused LED cover distributes some of the glow around instead of just concentrating it at the top area.

Disassembly and Modding Options

Removing all the keycaps are not really necessary for access to the rear but some of the screws on the front are only accessible when certain keys are removed.

The back plane of Tesoro GRAM has a protective rubber layer that insulates the PCB from the back and also adds a bit of cushion. Once removed, the back can easily be painted if modding, although to repaint the actual plate, each switch has to be desoldered from it or simply tape off all switches.

The PCB is very clean and there aren’t any excess solder or any dried up flux spots.

 

There are total of three LED drivers on this board and they are by Macroblock.(MBI5042GP) MBI5042GP offers 16 current channels and able to provide 16 bit color scheme. With use of these controllers, the Tesoro GRAM’s RGB color output is smoother with no delay or flickering.

On board micro controller is an NXP 32 bit ARM Cortex-M0 (LPC11U35F) which handles all the functions of the Tesoro Gram and right beside it a Macronix 512KB onboard memory for storage.

 

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Alex Lusakhpuryan

Alex has been part of the media scene for about 15 years now. As a Sr IT Systems Engineer by day and media reviewer by night, Alex brings his expertise in networking and storage aspects of the technology as well as in overall knowledge of the latest technologies.
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