For the past few years the only thing that membrane keyboards still had over mechanical keyboards has been the ability to run full RGB backlighting. Well this is no longer a problem, nearly everyone has their own RGB mechanical keyboards in the works or coming out now. A great example of this is the new Tesoro Lobera Supreme. Tesoro has had a few variations on their Lobera but up until now they all just had a single backlight color. Today I’m going to see if going full RGB is worth it. Additionally this will be the first time I have had the chance to check out a Tesoro keyboard, we can see how they compare to the competition.

Product Name: Tesoro Lobera Supreme

Review Sample Provided by: Tesoro

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

Switch type

Kailh

Switch Colors available

Brown, Red, Blue, Black

Actuation force

45g

Key shape

Cylindrical

Lettering

Laser etched

Cable length

1.55m (braided & shielded)

Dimensions

44.4x20.6x4.4 cm / 17.5x8.1x1.7 in

Weight

1.17 Kg

System Requirements

Windows® XP / Vista / 7 / 8

Available USB port

Warranty

1 Year defect warranty

Package Contains

Tesoro Colada G3NL mechanical gaming keyboard

Quick installation guide

 


Packaging

Tesoro packaged the Lobera in in a purple trimmed box with a large sword on the cover. Also on the front of the box is a window in the shape of their logo, giving a peak at the keyboard inside. There isn’t much for information across the front other than a note that this is a full color illumination mechanical keyboard. Around on the back Tesoro highlights a few key features of the keyboard with photos all around a large photo of the entire board. Along the bottom you have specifications listed in a wide variety of languages. Along the edge of the packaging you will also find a small listing showing the four different keyswitches available, here they mark exactly what model is in the box, in this case they went with browns in a US layout.

image 1

image 2

image 3

Inside the box the keyboard sits with foam on each end to keep it protected as well as a clear plastic panel over the top. This keeps things protected while still keeping them visible for the front window. Up under the board inside of a piece of cardboard is a pouch with the documentation and also a USB cable to provide additional power for the USB hub if you need it.

image 4

image 5

image 6

 


Photos and Features

The Lobera Supreme falls in between the crazy gaming mechanical keyboards and the cleaner enthusiast keyboards. The design is clean but there is still a focus on gaming with the macro keys. The overall shape does make the keyboard a little over an inch wider than a standard keyboard, this is mostly before of the wider bezels on the left and right sides. The purple trim might chance a few people off, I think a more neutral color might have been a better choice there. 

image 13

image 8

Beyond the RGB backlighting, one of the other unique aspects of the Lobera Supreme are the three small macro keys below the space bar. They aren’t mechanical keys but it is a very interesting place for macro’s. I’ve complained many times in the past that putting macro keys an inch to the left of the rest of the keyboard really makes them hard to use, it’s always great to see companies trying new ideas. I will talk about how well they work when I get into performance testing. Also in the same photo we can see the weird almost diamond plate looking design molded into the wrist wrest area. In the second photo we can also see that same design in the purple area above the number pad. The rest of the keyboard has a finish that is exactly like what a machined aluminum would look like only the entire keyboard is made of plastic.

image 9

image 10

Tesoro did go with a non-standard font on the Lobera. It is thicker and similar to both the old font on Cooler Master’s Quickfire keyboards and also Razer keyboards. If you aren’t particular then you won’t have a problem with it but given how vocal some people are about both the Razer and CM fonts I can expect some of the more particular people to be concerned with it. It does have the same problem that I had with those other boards, the W and M are exactly the same where a more standard font would have the W angled and the M with vertical bars, just like here on our website. Beyond the font the Lobera Supreme does make use of a function key to give you media controls in the F1-F6 keys. F8-F12 also let you hot swap between profiles should you need too. Using function with the 8 and the 2 over on the number pad lets you flip between four levels of brightness and then to two modes that light up WASD and other gaming related keys. Sadly you can’t set the gaming mode and lower the brightness.

image 14

image 15

image 16

On the edge of the keyboard behind the number pad you will find all of the Lobera’s connections. For starters have to remove the warning label letting you know that the USB ports aren’t designed for changing, they are more for hooking up your USB devices. So of course you get two USB 2.0 connection. Next to them you have a small power connection to help support the power they draw, the keyboard itself pulls basically all of the power off of its single USB connection on the main cable. Speaking of the main cable, it has microphone and headphone connections that pass through to the two connections here on the back.

image 17

image 18

To take advantage of the power plug and to fully utilize the built in USB hug Tesoro does include a USB cable that feeds additional power to the keyboard. This is actually a little surprising, a lot of keyboards have a power plug but you are on your own for actually finding a power cable.

image 7

One of the Lobera Supreme’s unique features are the light bars on the sides of the keyboard. They match the lighting colors that you set the keys too and they will light up both sides of your keyboard. This is nice if you need a little light around your mouse especially.

image 11

image 23

On the bottom in the center you have a sticker with the serial number and all of the CE and FCC logos. Over the rest of the bottom you have a total of five rubber feet, three on the front and two on the back. For those of you who prefer to angle your keyboard Tesoro did include flip out feet to angle the Lobera. In fact each side has a double foot design that gives you two height options. Both feet also have rubber on the end as well so you won’t lose any traction when using the feet.

image 19

image 20

image 21

So our Lobera Supreme has brown switches, as I mentioned earlier. What I didn’t point out, Tesoro was careful to not mention Cherry at all on the packaging because they didn’t go with cherry switches for this model. This isn’t a huge shock, Corsair still has exclusivity with Cherry RGB keyswitches, so everyone else is left to design their own or use Kailh switches. This is the same company that makes Razers switches. Their MX switches have also been seen in a few other keyboards like the Poseidon Z from Thermaltake. Their switches share a very similar design to Cherrys included the same functionality for each color switch as well. That means you can expect these browns to still be tactile like Cherry browns. Is there a difference between Kailh switches over Cherrys? In my experience they have been a little looser side to side, but otherwise they do still get the same job done. Most people will never know or care about the differences honestly.

image 24

image 22

What kind of keycaps do you get with the Lobera? Well they are made of ABS and are very similar to other keycaps on other backlit keyboards. They are molded in a transparent white for the backlighting and then coated in black. This does mean over time you can wear through the finish. This is on par with what we would see with all but the highest end keyboards though. As much as I would love to see doubleshots, this board just isn’t in that price range.

image 25

The keys follow a standard key layout. The top two rows are the same keycap mold and then things angle down to the middle row and then angle up on the bottom two rows.

image 12

 


Software

Standard keyboards really don’t need any software, it isn’t really until you add macro keys that you have to worry about it. Well with the Lobera Supreme the software is even more important. That is because on top of macro’s we also need to be able to control the LED backlighting. Unlike some of the big names Tesoro doesn’t have an all-encompassing program to control all of their products, the Lobera Full Color has a program designed specifically for it. So once I had everything installed I booted up their software. The software is actually in the same shape and purple color that the Lobera is in person. Directly in the middle is a photo of the keyboard and up top are all five of the profiles as well as a PC Mode that lets you program macros that won’t be saved on the keyboard, perfect for when you are trying out new things. Overall the weird shape of the software and the skin on the software made things a little harder to navigate. It actually reminds me of earlier Razer software, they did similar things back in the day. I would personally prefer to drop some of the theme and keep things a little simpler. I don’t care so much if my software looks amazing, or if it matches the keyboard. My biggest concern is that it be easy to navigate and that it have the features I need.

software 1

A great example of the difficult to find features in the software was me trying to find where I could even change the lighting. I had to ask for help. As it turns out the purple light on the right side of the software, when clicked, opens up the LED controls. Here you can select any of the five profiles to adjust. You can set the lighting to be a single color, give it a breathing effect, or have it flip between colors in a loop. Once you select one you can also click on the color itself and pick from 228 colors. It isn’t a full color spectrum but it is still better than a single color. Tesoro mentioned on their packaging that they will be adding full color spectrum with a future firmware update. I was fairly disappointed here though, when I saw the Lobera was an RGB keyboard I was really expecting to be able to individually set the color of each key but at least currently this isn’t an option.

software 2

software 3

One nice thing about the software is the fact that it lets you select any key at all and rebind it to any other key, to launch a program, or you can program a macro. Like the rest of the software the macro recorder took a little more time that I would like for me to figure out. In the end it was fairly simple, once you start recording it records your key presses. You manually set the delay between keys and you can also set them to repeat a number of times or even infinitely.

software 4

When trying to set the three macro keys you will notice that you can’t just click them and change them like all of the other keys. You have to open up the thumb key setting page and from there you can set macro’s to each key. This was a small but interesting quirk in an already quirky piece of software. I know that software is extremely expensive to develop, it’s just a shame that it is holding the Lobera Supreme back in this situation. On the plus side of things, once you set everything up you won’t need to run the software in the future. The five profiles are saved directly onto the keyboard, making swapping from computer to computer much easier.

software 5

 


Performance

Performance testing the Lobera Supreme consisted of both office and gaming use. This is easy to do in the LanOC office though, I tend to spend all night working, all day sleeping, and all evening gaming. One of my big concerns was with the Kailh switches, especially after the Razer switches were a little wobbly. Surprisingly I had no issues at all with the brown switches in the Lobera. Had I not known there were different switches I would never notice. To test this Adam spent the weekend with the board and actually talked multiple times about how great the switches felt. I would call that a success!

So how did the three macro keys work out in that unique location? Well for starters I had no issues with them getting bumped over any of our testing. With there location that was originally a concern for me. When I tried to press them they worked perfectly although they did take a little more force than I would prefer. This could also be why we never had any miss clicks on them. Training yourself to actually use them is by far the hardest part, it’s an easy to use location, but I’m not used to pushing a key there.

The slightly wide bezel on the Lobera was noticeable when gaming. I found it to be just thin enough that putting my wrist on it wanted to push the keyboard back. Slightly thicker or thinner would correct that issue by giving my wrist a nice place to sit or by giving room to put my wrist on the table.

In the software section I talked a little about me being disappointed about not being able to go crazy with the RGB lighting. You are only able to set one color for the whole keyboard. That isn’t all bad though, it is still way better than being locked in with a single color for the life of the keyboard. So how did the lighting perform? Well it is more than bright enough in any color and you do have a half way decent selection of colors available, although it will be nice when they implement the full color spectrum. Anyhow with a few colors I did notice a couple keys were off a little. This was the most noticeable on purple but also yellow. A few keys are darker and a few are lighter, this was a little concerning. I don’t know if it was a quality issue for our keyboard, an overall quality issue with the LEDs used, or a software issue. In most colors it did look great, I was just a little bummed because the best part about having color options is having the option to do colors like purple. Not to mention the purple looked great with the keyboard!

lighting 1

 


Overall and Final Verdict

Currently the market for RGB mechanical keyboards is a little thin. Corsair still has the Cherry branded RGB switches on lockdown so there really are only options from Corsair, Razer, Logitech, Rosewill, and Tesoro. Logitech went with their own switches and Razer and Rosewill are using Kailh made switches just like Tesoro although the Razer switches are a little different. That said the Kailh switches performed great in our testing. On top of that, having the option to be able to set your backlighting to different colors is great, I hate having to consider the backlighting color when picking my keyboard.

The Lobera Supreme wasn’t perfect though. In my testing I ran into some inconsistencies with the backlighting, a few of my keys stood out when running purple and yellow backlight colors. The biggest issue I ran into though was the software. While it did have most of the features I wanted, it was hard to navigate making setting up the Lobera a little frustrating. Speaking of setting things up, not having the option to be able to change LED lighting key by key is a step down from options from Logitech, Corsair, and Razer. If you are hoping to get creative with your lighting you are barking up the wrong tree with the Lobera.

Really the best feature of the Lobera is its price point. Tesoro priced the Lobera $30 less than the competition. Taking into account the software they couldn’t really ask the same amount as those keyboards, but if you are just looking for a nice mechanical keyboard that doesn’t lock you into any specific backlighting the Lobera Supreme is perfect.

fv4v2value

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

Log in to comment

garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35806 31 Oct 2014 22:48
Today I take a look at our first RGB Mechanical keyboard, we have more sitting here so expect more reviews soon. The Lobera though looks like it will offer the cheapest entry into a mech RGB.
elguapo's Avatar
elguapo replied the topic: #35807 01 Nov 2014 18:27
I thought the polished aluminum looked fantastic until I saw the wrist guard and logo, I really think they missed an opportunity for some slick looking laser etching there.

We have 1824 guests and one member online

supportus