Tesoro 360 is new software for Tesoro, and the Gram XS is one of the first supported products. Opening it up, you get a welcome screen that allows you to cycle through any compatible products you have connected.
Hitting the Quick Start option takes you to a basic lighting screen, where you have nine different colour options. The settings here apply automatically and very quickly, and profile switches made on the keyboard are reflected immediately in the software and vice versa.
You’ll find the four profiles along the top, and clicking any one of them will bring up the Advanced menu (or just click the Advanced button); I’m not really sure the initial Quick Start option is necessary, as its functionality is replicated here with only a tad more complexity. It also adds a second tab for custom lighting settings where you have deeper control of the effects and can also layer them and group them per-key. However, the multi-layer programming didn’t work properly for me, failing on occasion to respond to colour changes.
The actual quality of the lighting varies based on what you’re looking for. The speed and smoothness of transitions are both good, but some colours aren’t quite where they should be. White is often hard to get right, and here it’s on the blue side. The lower symbols, where used, also receive a lot less light despite the clear housing beneath.
The Assignment screen presents a button map, and clicking a button brings up a drop-down menu of available custom functions, which include program launching, Windows functions, media keys, mouse commands, and macros. Macro recording offers all four playback options and all three methods of recording (or not) delays, which is a bonus, and the recorder itself is responsive and functional. Saving settings to the board only takes a few moments, and afterwards keys with custom commands applied are helpfully highlighted in purple.
I can certainly see the appeal of a low-profile mechanical keyboard; once you get used to not having to step up or down as you move between rows of keys, it’s a real treat. I said as much in my review of the SteelSeries Apex M800, too. However, the Tesoro Gram XS is a miss for me. The switches just aren’t quite up to scratch – this applies only to the Blue ones, of course – and the software, too, while an improvement for Tesoro, still has a few bugs and lacks the polish (understandably) of the suites of larger competitors. Tesoro is on the right track here in many ways, and I applaud the pursuit of more unique designs, but the Gram XS needs a few tweaks to become a real winner.
February 6 2020 | 16:30