Tesoro Lobera Supreme Keyboard Review
I already have an award for this next product the Tesoro Lobera Supreme, it gets the pcG Most Wanted award, as I (pcG James) have been waiting to get my hands on this product for almost a year! Why? Mainly because it was the first time that I saw a keyboard that was going to allow the user to choose any colour of illumination that they wanted (cool eh!). Of course this is now just about to become common, as we see multi-colour keyboards inbound from the likes of Corsair, Ducky and others.
But the Tesoro Lobera Supreme has still managed to be the first to turn up at pcG Towers, so what is it exactly? The Lobera Supreme is a mechanical keyboard with Kahli mechanical switches (you may not of heard of them, but they’re pretty much the same as Cherry MX), in this case they are Black switches. Red, Blue and Brown switches are also available. The keyboard features full LED multi-colour back-lighting, has a powered USB hub and audio ports for headphone and microphone. In addition to this the Lobera Supreme has support for N-Key Rollover, has a 1000MHz polling rate and also has 3 additional Macro keys beneath the space-bar.
Please note that this review sample features a US layout, a UK layout is available though.
As is the norm for Tesoro the Lobera Supreme came in a black and purple box, with a small Tesoro logo shaped window allowing you to see a section of the keyboard within. The front of the box gives very little else away…
The back of the box show a beautiful picture of the Lobera Supreme (now can you see why I wanted it so bad!?) showing off its multi-colour back-lighting. In addition to this the following features are also highlighted:
The sides of the box highlight other features of the Lobera Supreme as well as show the switch designation (in this case Black).
As you can see the Lobera Supreme was well packaged with the keyboard sitting in a plastic cover and further protected by soft-cell foam.
Within the box other than the keyboard itself we find a Tesoro wallet and a DC power cord (used if you wish to power the built-in USB hub). This is used so you can use the hub as a charging dock for tablets, smartphones etc.
Within the wallet we find a Quick Start Guide and a Tesoro catalogue, but no CD. I say no CD as the packaging and the wallet itself suggest there should be one!
At the time of writing the Tesoro Lobera Supreme keyboard is retailing at for approximately £95 and comes with a 1 year warranty.
courtesy of Tesoro
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
All of our products come with one year warranty.
UPC CODE (U.S.A)
First impressions of the Tesoro Lobera Supreme are very good, it’s a solidly built keyboard and seems very well made, it’s heavy too, which is no bad thing. I like the look and the design of the keyboard, although I’m unsure about the purple accent in the top right corner (although I appreciate that this is Tesoro’s colour). Those three Macro keys beneath the space-bar, look well placed too…
In fact, they really are well placed and I think I prefer them to having a bank of five keys to the left of the keyboard as it stops the keyboard from getting to wide. And it also stops me accidentally hitting Macro keys when I was wanting to press, Tab & Shift etc. This extended section that features the Macro keys has also had the knock on effect of creating a wrist-rest (ish) at the same time, again no bad thing as an additional one is not supplied.
In the top right corner of the keyboard your eye is naturally drawn to the purple (not the best Gaming colour IMHO!) metal plate with its Tesoro logo. This houses a fair bit of functionality to say the least.
Reading the warning label allows us to understand why the Lobera is shipped with an additional power cord. This power cord supplies additional power to the USB hub to allow it to act as a charging port, without it too much current is likely to be drawn…
With the label removed we can see the two USB ports, DC-in port and the Headphone and Microphone ports, what more could you want!?
Looking at the back of the Tesoro Lobera Supreme there’s not too much to see, other the the model details. But worth checking out all of those nice rubberized feet. There’s five around the outside edge, for when the keyboard is flat on the desk, and…
there’s the dual height feet, although these don’t seem to feature rubber sections. But with the weight of the keyboard I think it’s unlikely to move around during those frantic fire-fights.
Overall everything that I have seen so far indicates that Tesoro have produced high quality Gaming keyboard. But what about those Khali Black mechanical switches, how will they perform in game, how will they stack up against the industry stalwart the Cherry MX…
Wow that seems like an awful lot of connections for a keyboard! And, don’t forget there’s the optional DC-in power cable too! 😉
The bottom line is that the for full functionality of the Lobera Supreme you actually have to plug in the x3 USB cables and x2 audio cables. Of course this is all optional though as the keyboard alone (no USB and no audio) will work by just plugging the main USB plug in. So I guess it’s up to you to decide if you want full functionality or not. I rather like the idea of at least having those x2 USB ports close to hand…
The Tesoro Lobera Supreme was tested on my Intel Test Rig, A fresh installation of Windows Home Premium 64bit (service pack 1) was performed prior to testing.
The following games were used during testing:
- Survarium (BETA)
- Divinity: Original Sin
With full power flowing into the Tesoro Lobera Supreme (courtesy of those three USB cables) we can begin to take a look at the Lobera’s lighting, nice it is too, bit it’s not what I was expecting! Now here’s the rub (although this is down to my incorrect expectations), I was under the impression that I could illuminate any key with any colour. For Example I could have the WASD cluster in red, the numbers 1-5 in blue and all of the other keys off! But no! 🙁
All you can do with the Lobera Supreme is change the colour of the back-lighting of the full keyboard. But there are some predefined Profiles that do come to the rescue, these are detailed below:
These Profiles can be accessed by holding down the Tesoro/FN button and using 2 & 8 on the number-pad.
Now as I said this may be down to my preconceptions, but looking at the image on the back of the box seems to give the impression (well it does to me) that you can do more, than you actually can. This means that on face value the Tesoro Lobera Supreme is no worse than pretty much all of the other backlit keyboards that we have seen, and at least with this one you can choose your favourite colour.
Unfortunately if your favourite colour is red then you are also going to have to like pink a little too! That’s because the side bar illumination (that’s really rather cool by the way) seems to be pink when you choose the colour red in the software. You cannot adjust the colour of the sidebar lighting on its own. Any other colour other than Red seems to work fine. Which is a little bit of a shame as red is probably the most popular colour!
Anyway that’s enough about the back-lighting it’s very good, but it could have been so much better…
So no Cherry MX switches here then! The Tesoro Lobera Supreme uses Khali switches (Black ones in this case), these mechanical switches with a 45g actuation force, 2mm actuation point and a total travel of 4mm are very similar to the Cherry MX Black equivalents (READ: copy!).
In Gaming and while typing the Black switches are noticeably stiffer in operation, requiring more force than say a Cherry Red. But that’s no bad thing and could prevent those accidental fumbled key-presses. The Khali switches feel good in operation though, with no noticeable difference in operation to its Cherry counterpart. I know that I would not worry (as of today) whether my mechanical keyboard has Khali or Cherry switches that’s for sure. And I also know that for me the Cherry (or Khali) Red switch is still king in my opinion…
The software that was so say supplied on CD was missing, but it can be downloaded here. The Lobera software definitely has a distinct look and feel, and I guess it’s in keeping with the Tesoro brand. I’m not a fan the deign as it’s form over function in my mind and really the software needs a makeover. But don’t get me wrong, what is here does seem to work perfectly well. That’s once you’ve found it… 😉
In fact it took me ages to find out how to even change the colour of the back-lighting (image above left). It’s accessed via a small white arrow on the far right of the software, I thought it was just part of the image! The Macro section is also a littler hard to work with, although once you’re accustomed to it, it’s easy enough to use. As I said the functionality to be fair is here, accessing it though is at times a little too confusing and a little frustrating…
Now at the time of my final thoughts I’m in a position to appreciate the Tesoro Lobera Supreme for what it is; and that’s a damn good mechanical Gaming keyboard. But I’m still a little disappointed it’s not what I thought it was going to be…
The Tesoro Lobera Supreme came well packaged and presented and out of the box the Lobera looks good. The combination of great build quality and good aesthetics, means that the Lobera Supreme is desirable. I liked the half wrist-rest and its associated Macro buttons. The keyboard was surprisingly (given the lack of a full wrist-rest) comfortable to use, even during those long (4+ hour) Gaming sessions. I feel the Macro keys are better placed here for me than on the left of the keyboard, where I just find myself accidentally hitting Macro keys instead of Tab, Shift etc. The inclusion of a powered USB hub, along with the audio ports (headphone & microphone) is also a welcome addition.
From a pure performance point of view I was very impressed with the Tesoro Lobera Supreme and its Khali Black switches. Not my first choice in switch (Red, Blue & Brown also available) due to the high actuation force, but to be fair I’d be more than happy to Game on this keyboard all day long. For me I would opt for the Khali Red switch with its lower actuation force. I would also say that from a switch point of view I would never worry whether my Gaming keyboard was using Cherry or Khali switches, there really is very little difference.
The weakest feature of the Lobera Supreme is its Lighting and the software. The lighting while very good is not as good as I had hoped as there’s no ability to customize individual keys, which is a shame. And the lighting also seems to struggle a little with the colour red. The software is also a case of form over function, it works well enough, allowing you to change colours, manage Profiles and add Macros, but it’s all a little clunky. In my opinion the software needs a visual overhaul, in an attempt to improve its usability.
As I’ve said I was maybe expecting too much from the Lobera Supreme, I guess that’s what happens when you end up waiting almost a year to see a product that you liked! But in the end the Tesoro Lobera Supreme is a great Gaming keyboard and at approximately £95 it’s priced fairly too, it’s just let down by its approach to illumination and its software…
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Silicon Gaming UK
Tesoro Lobera Supreme G5NFL Full Color Illumination Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Cherry MX Brown
Many thanks to Tesoro for providing this sample for review