Tesoro is a longstanding favorite here at Chalgyr’s Game Room and with good reason; over the last few years they have consistently put out excellent hardware at incredibly competitive price points. With the latest Tesoro GRAM SE Spectrum, the optical switch technology that they are using that is similar in feel and responsiveness to more traditional mechanical keyboards is light, tactile, and has a few quality of life changes that really make the GRAM SE Spectrum look and feel a cut above the competition.
Though I would hesitate to call out the GRAM SE Spectrum as my favorite Tesoro keyboard, it comes mighty close; where it really wins out over my personal favorite, the Excalibur Spectrum, is in those few quality of life changes. For one the GRAM SE Spectrum has a detachable braided USB cable. Silly as it may sound, this little feature is a godsend, especially if you are like me and tend to haul around your laptops and utterly despise the chiclet keyboards. Being able to simply unplug both ends of the keyboard, rather than wrapping the cord around the hardware, helps reduce the wear and tear on the cord itself, not to mention makes it FAR easier to carry (with the GRAM SE Spectrum there is no bulge in my laptop backpack where the cord is wound around the keyboard).
The detachable keyboard is not the only QoL update though, as Tesoro ships the GRAM SE Spectrum with a couple of extra optical switches and a key-puller, both are welcome additions, especially if you have small humans, pets, or other soda-spilling hazards near/around your keyboard. Popping keys off is a breeze and though it is possible to do so with your fingers, I would recommend using the key-puller; better safe than sorry. Replacing a switch is plug-and-play simple, though with only a few switch replacements in the box and no place to purchase them on their store, you may need to reach out to them directly to see if you can order a few extra. Personally I would not mind having a mixed-switch keyboard, one where certain keys are the delicious clicky blue switches and others are the soft, luxurious, and incredibly sensitive red switches. The review unit that Tesoro graciously sent me is a red, so pressing a key is butter-smooth and whisper quiet … until that is I get angry and start slamming on the keyboard as my WPM just from 90-110 to over 9000; then there is a satisfying solidity to each smashed key and I love it.
Though the Excalibur SE Spectrum is a standard mechanical keyboard and, all things considered, relatively low-profile, I was quite shocked at the new case on the GRAM SE Spectrum, with its beveled edges and thin metal frame really do cut down on the overall footprint of the keyboard. I do find, at times, it does feel slightly odd since there is very little frame surface area so it will occasionally trip me up when I do not feel the actual keyboard under my hands, then add to that the incredibly light actuation weight (seriously, breathing heavily on the keyboard seems to want to set keys off; this is not a bad thing) and it more often than not feels like you are typing on air. It does take some getting used to and switching back and forth between a traditional mechanical keyboard with blue switches and the GRAM SE Spectrum really accentuates just how EASY it is to type on this keyboard.