It’s not always easy for new companies to break into the gaming hardware market. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty damn hard. With industry goliaths such as Corsair, Razer, Logitech, and others all vying for the top position, it has to be daunting to think you can compete with the big boys. Cue Tesoro, a US based company that’s only pushing four years old but are determined to produce high quality gaming tech for PC gamers. It’s way too early to speculate how they’ll do in the long run, but if the Lobera Supreme RGB mechanical keyboard is any indication, the big boys should be prepared to up their game.
The first thing to mention is that the Tesoro Lobera Supreme doesn’t use the traditional MX Cherry switches. Instead, it’s opted for the Kailh switches which is enough to earn some undue hatred from some mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. Kailh, for a while, could have been seen as a cheap knockoff of the Cherry MX Switch, but they’ve really come into their own. Kailh does have a slightly higher actuation force than MX Cherry switches, but it’s really going to come down to personal preference if one is better than the other.
The only thing that concerns me is the lack of true long term testing with Kailh switches in real world scenarios. I’ve seen nothing during my time with the Lobera Supreme to make me think that it’s going to be an issue anytime soon, but outside of using it for the next five years, I don’t know what else I could personally do to attest to it.
The Lobera Supreme features three macro thumb keys right under the space bar. Personally, I think this is plenty, but then again, outside of testing machines I never use macro keys. However, if you’re the type to keep an abundance of macros at the ready, you may end up having to jump through the five available profiles. If that’s not your style, you can rebind any key on your keyboard to fit whatever need you’re really looking for.
The keyboard body features with a 1.8 meter braided cable, which contains multiple USB connections for the keyboard itself, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and a microphone/headphone jack. The cable itself feels very sturdy and definitely looks like it’s high quality. I wouldn’t suggest swinging your keyboard around by it, but I imagine it should be able to survive for quite a while. My only real complaint with the cable is that it splits into four different connections at the end to handle both the audio jacks and the USB hub. I can’t really imagine a situation where I would want to unplug my speakers to run a pair of headphones through my keyboard, and so at least in my situation it just amounts to more clutter dangling uselessly behind my tower. A minor complaint to be sure, but if you’re OCD about your cable management or working in a really confined space, it’s something to keep in mind.
Aesthetically, the keyboard itself looks great. The plastic casing really pulls off the brushed aluminum look perfectly, and the keys themselves seem of pretty high quality, especially with the illumination behind them. The illumination settings for the keyboard are fairly robust as well. While this doesn’t boast quite as many color combinations or illumination options as some of its competition, the Lobera Supreme covers all of the basics pretty damn well. You can light up the entire keyboard to three different intensities, or use the two “gaming” modes which illuminate just the WASD keys, F8 through F11, space, enter, and the arrow keys, or you could add in shift and the number keys as well.
The colors themselves are on the whole pretty good, but certain colors just don’t seem to come out quite as well as others. The only real complaint I have is that the LED on the side of the keyboard seems to tint the colors just a bit. It’s a minor thing, and quite honestly I didn’t notice it until someone else pointed it out to me, but some people may be bothered by it.
From a physical standpoint, the Lobera Supreme is a pretty badass keyboard. However, where it completely fails to live up the hype is the software. Simply put, the software here is abysmal. It feels that that Tesoro was so set on building a pretty program that they forgot to build a functional one. A mechanical keyboard that partially sells itself on its backlighting options should make it simple to take advantage of this feature. Instead, it took me a good fifteen minutes to figure out how to change the damn colors since there’s no reason at all that the tiny triangle that appears to be part of the frame should be the button for that.
On top of that, the loading times for your changes to be set in the keyboard are laughable. I don’t pretend to know just how the software is coded or the limitations in place, but even hitting apply without making any changes to the keyboard took us around 45 seconds. The keyboard is still fully usable during this time, but this seems like an egregiously long time for what should be a core part of the experience.
At the end of the day, Tesoro’s Lobera Supreme mechanical keyboard is still a fantastic product, just not without its faults. If you’re willing to live with some less than optimal software and some very minor issues with lighting though, then this is a great buy.
This review is based on a piece of hardware given to us for review purposes.
Tesoro may still be a young company trying to find their position in the marketplace, but this is a fantastic effort that deserves your attention.