We’re usually accustomed to seeing huge mainstay brands for gaming peripherals such as Logitech, Cooler Master, Corsair and so on. To add more diversity we’ve decided to expand our selection beyond mainstay brands. Today, we’re taking a look at the Tesoro Gram Spectrum Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.
Starting off from the looks. The thing that we usually see with OEM manufacturers are that their products usually resemble one another and at times it’s normal when a product from one company is mistakenly thought to be made by another. While it is good to have a lot of affordable alternatives to mainstay brands, these companies also have the opportunity to create an image from themselves. Similar to what Logitech has done to their G lineup. Tesoro has just went through a complete re-imaging and I hope they’re heading towards making their own unique image.
For the Gram, it shares close to no physical similarities with other and is trying to offer something unique in their image. It features a super low-profile design that appeals to a lot of gamers who fancy an overall low-profile design alongside fast and light switches. The floating key design is one of the more interesting physical trait as it seems like the keys are floating on a sea of RGB colours. They have opted for fully mechanical Kailh switches branded as their own AGILE key switch which is designed to have a fast and accurate response. It’s housed in a semi-translucent cover to provide optimal transparency for its RGB lighting and capped off with low-profile key caps. It has a total travel distance of 3.5mm with its actuation point at 1.5mm compared to Cherry MX switches which have a total of 4mm travel distance with an actuation point at 2mm. Overall it feels really quick and tactile. The keys are also placed much closer together compared to a generic mechanical keyboard as they no longer need to space the keys for the RGB lights to shine through. Perfect for RTS gamers such as Starcraft II and Red Alert.
Despite its low-profile design, it’s in no way light or flimsy. It’s decked out with a metal top plate for the switch mounts and the top external plate. I weight just a much as any generic mechanical keyboard out there. The Gram just shrugs off any attempts to flex and bend it mainly due to the well-reinforced design despite it’s thinness. The key caps feel really good as well. They are laser etched ABS double shot keycaps. They’re coated as well to give them a smooth and soft finish.
The Gram also has built-in on-board memory to store all of its profiles which are accessed using the FN + F1-F5 keys. These usually stores all the custom layouts and macros. There aren’t any dedicated media controls. But, one can access them using the FN+F6-F12 similarly to the Ducky series of keyboards. There also a Windows lock feature so you won’t be taken out of your game by accident. In all, this is a fully featured mechanical gaming keyboard despite lacking dedicated keys. Those whom have accustomed themselves to dedicated keys may not prefer this keyboard. On the rear of the keyboard lives the micro-USB port that’s used to connect the detachable cable. I love to see this on keyboards as it’s easy to store it for travelling and it’s easy to replace should we lose it by accident. Finally, on the bottom, we get for rubber feets and the bottom and a pair of wide kickstands with their own rubber feets.
Now, how does the Gram stack up to generic mechanical keyboard designs that don’t feature a low-profile design? Well, it matters more if you’re into ultra-fast reaction timing and competitive use. The difference between pressing down and actuating a full sized key and a low-profile one is just milliseconds apart, but it makes a whole lot of difference. Trying it with Overwatch, I’ve noticed that I’ve gained an improved reaction timing and I like the fact that I don’t need to press down very far to actuate the switch. They are clicky, responsive and they return much quicker compared to regular Cherry MX switches.
There is also a software made for the Gram. It’s nice and simple to use despite having that old generic interface look. Here you can access all your profiles, macros, lighting settings easily. Like I mentioned before, the profiles can be stored on-board. So, you won’t need to download the software all over again and you can head straight to your LAN party with ease.
Overall, the Tesoro Gram Spectrum doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. It’s priced competitively and has the features and specifications to boot. They are also available in Cherry MX Red and Blue switches as well should you not prefer the Kailh (AGILE) mechanical switches. They look sleek and stylish and they perform very well. For people seeking the competitive edge in FPS games like Overwatch and CS:GO, MOBA games like DOTA, Heroes of The Storm, and League of Legends and RTS games like Starcraft II, you’ll appreciate the low-profile design, the quick and responsive switches. It’s well designed with all the features that you will need (including RGB lighting) and has good build quality. They may not innovate like the other brands but this shows us that the age where markets are dominated by mainstay brands may start to come to an end as companies like this rise with products that are fairly unique to them.