Setup, Design & Observations
Some found that with the older Tesoro keyboards that the software was rather unintuitive and difficult to use, and so Tesoro has opted to make the Excalibur SE Spectrum driverless. This is likely to be good move as there are many people that prefer driverless setups anyway. So all you need to get going with this keyboard is a spare USB port.
In use we found that its height allowed for comfortable use without needing a wrist-rest, and its relatively compact frame didn't take up an excessive amount of room on the desk.
After much thought of playing around with the Excalibur SE Spectrum, we felt that the Fn command layout could have been more efficient. For example, having the F1-F4 keys as macro keys seems a little pointless as they could have allowed any key to be set as a macro, which could then be enabled via a 'game mode' (maybe paired with the Windows Lock (Fn + Windows Key)) or by swapping to dedicated 2nd or 3rd profiles. We can also question the usefulness of having the adjustable repeat rate saturating F5-F8 when these could be placed on one key as a 'toggle'. These keys would better serve the majority of people as media keys (skip/previous, play/pause) or as shortcuts (web, system, calculator). It would have been nice to have had all the lighting controls grouped together too (colour, brightness, mode, record).
Moving onto the macro record function, it didn't seem as straight forward as we had hoped. To record a macro, firstly you must press the macro record button (Fn + Home), on entering this mode the 'R' light will flash quickly. You then need to assign one of the macro keys you wish to record to, (select one of F1-F4), the 'R' light will now flash at a slower rate. You can then input your keystrokes, once done, press Fn + Home to stop recording. Afterwards, I was unable to replay the recorded macro, either my pressing the F key to which the macro was saved, or by pressing Fn + F1. On several attempts, trying on different profiles, I concluded that somewhere in this process I was making a mistake, and this is inevitably down to vague instructions (it's okay, I can manually play Invoker anyway, everyone loves my sunstrike + meteor > alacrity combo, its game changing /end DOTA2 reference.)
Testing the anti-ghosting with Aqua's Keytest, we found the Excalibur SE Spectrum does what it says on the tin, with 6KRO being 6 keys pressed, and NKRO allowing for as many keys we could press at once using our hands, feet and face, so gamers don't need to worry about that. We also ran several typing speed tests, with our average WPM (words per minute) at a rather sedate pace being around 65, the Excalibur SE Spectrum neither hindered or made any dramatic change to typing speed. However, we also decided to do a reaction test. This particular reaction test allows you to use the space bar as well as the mouse click. After normalising our reaction speed with the said test by spending several minutes getting accustomed to it, we found that we could heighten our alertedness and reaction times, and so the best way to combat this from skewing the results is to remain relaxed but alert. After averaging 5 mouse clicks we managed to score 212ms, compared a keyboard with Cherry MX Brown which scored an average of 306ms, and the Tesoro optical switches scored an average of 253ms. This is clearly representative of the response rate improvement with optical switches, especially when considering that the debounce latency adds around 30ms to the mechanical switch. The difference of 0.05-0.1s is within the realm of human awareness and could give some the competitive edge they need in game.