Photos and Features

Beyond the Gram Spectrum coming in a bright white, the keyboard is completely different than anything else you are going to find on the market. It is a full sized layout meaning you get a full number pad and it has a traditional key layout with the exception of the bottom row having the 1.5u Ctrl and Alt keys leaving the windows and function layer keys to be smaller at a 1u size. What is different about it though is Tesoro designed the Gram Spectrum with almost no bezel all around the outside edges and even in between the sections there aren’t big gaps. On top of that, the keyboard has a floating keyset. We have seen this with a few boards like the Corsairs but with the Gram Spectrum the base of the keyboard seems to be thinner and it doesn’t have a natural angle to the base. This makes the keyboard a little more compact and this is exaggerated even more with a keycap design that is a little shorter and without the slight curve you normally see. In person, the board looks amazing but in my photos, the white backplate ended up with shadows due to issues with my lighting that doesn’t really show how bright white the entire keyboard is.

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The front edge of the board angles down so you don’t have any part of the keyboard touching you under your hand when typing and from this point of view we can kind of see how thin everything is for being a mechanical keyboard.

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Like I said before it is a full sized keyboard so you do get all of the traditional keys. I would prefer if it also had a standard bottom row to allow for easier swapping out of the keycaps, but I know in Tesoro’s target audience (not keyboard enthusiasts, mostly gamers) that is less of an issue. I was disappointed that Tesoro made such a beautiful keyboard only to go with a font that takes away from the clean look and is frankly hard to read. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal but remember finding replacement caps that have that bottom row isn’t going to go well. The shadows from our lighting really show just how much the keys are floating and I promise it looks nothing like that in person, it's just all bright white. Over above the number pad they slipped in the Tesoro mask and put in pinhole lights for the status indicators but they put larger labels under them. I think without the logos, labels, and with a simpler font, this might be one of the best-looking keyboards I’ve ever had come in.

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For the function layer, the F keys have audio controls for mute and volume. There are also play/pause, and skip buttons for your music. We also have a window key lockout option and then four different macro and lighting profiles that you can quickly swap between using function and F1-F4. Not in the photos below, but the direction pad also has function layer controls to turn the brightness up and down and to flip between some of the included lighting profiles.

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Along the back edge, you won’t find any USB hubs or audio passthrough ports that rarely get used on other keyboards. This time around Tesoro kept things simple and went with a detachable USB cable and it plugs in along the back using a Mini USB plug.

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The included cord is bright white as well and has a nice white sleeving on it. This along is really unique, most white keyboards get a basic white rubber cord, the sleeved cords are almost always exclusive to the black keyboards simply because there aren’t many white keyboards sold and it has to cost more to do a small run of them. The cord has matching white ends with Tesoro branding in them. The cord is thick but flexible and more than long enough for most situations. The best part though is because it is removable if you need a shorter or longer cord you could get one and swap it out.

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The bottom of the Gram Spectrum is as bright white as the top and is just as simple. In the middle is a black sticker with all of the normal regulation logos as well as a barcode for the serial number and the model information. For feet, the bottom of the Gram Spectrum has four corner pads in white for grip when you want to lay the keyboard flat. Then the two flip out feet are wider than normal and have rubber all along the touching edge.

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So rather than doing what everyone else is doing and using the Cherry switches or the knock off brands, Tesoro changed things up completely and have designed their own switches. They look like a Cherry switch but they did shorten the overall throw and also raised the actuation point up so they activate quicker. The throw is 3.5mm where a normal switch is 4.0mm and the actuation point is 1.5mm down where most switches are in the 2.0mm range. This should cut a small fraction of time off your times when you press a button, but I’m not sure anyone will be able to notice or not.

Officially the switches are branded Tesoro and with that, I don’t know if they were manufactured by any of the normal switch manufacturers but they do look a lot like Gaterons and they also feel like them as well. Gaterons have a little less drag than a Cherry switch and these feel really smooth. You can notice the shorter throw when typing on them, especially if you recently came from a normal cherry or cherry equivalent keyboard. The switches come in two colors and as you can see the color code the bottom of the switch, not the stem. You can get a red and a blue. The blue looks to be similar to a Cherry blue according to Tesoro’s graphs and the red similar to the reds. The documentation mentions a green switch in place of the blue as well so I’m not sure if they actually went with blue or green but our sample has the red switch. The force graphs provided seem to imply that our red switch is a linear switch like the Cherry red but I can say for sure that they feel a lot more like a Topre or a brown with less of a bump but they don’t completely feel linear. For me that is great, my preferred switch is a Cherry Clear or a Brown. For stabilizers, they went with a Costar style. This means you have the metal bar and the keycaps are a little harder to remove for cleaning, but a lot of people prefer the Costar style for noise.

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For keycaps, Tesoro really upped their game. For starters, like I have mentioned earlier they didn’t go with a standard OEM profile or a Cherry profile. The keycaps are a completely unique design that is flat front to back but with a cylindrical profile on top. This makes the keyboard similar to the Cherry 3.0 and some non-mechanical keyboards with its flat profile. The caps are also shorter as well, similar but slightly taller than a DSA profile in height. They also went with a double shot design and I can’t understate how awesome that is. Double shot means they used two different plastic molds to make the legend rather than painting the keycap and then etching the legend off. This is important because the paint will wear off but this will never lose its legend or start to shine through. Sadly they went with that awful font for the legend, but at least it will never need to be replaced. I’m not sure if that makes me happy or sad. 

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #38213 14 Oct 2016 18:33
Today I take a look at Tesoro's new Gram Spectrum

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