The Spectre Pro is another excellent bang for buck mech from Tecware
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Tecware has been making a name for themselves in the budget market with the likes of the Phantom and their PBT keycaps sets. Today we’re looking at the Tecware Spectre Pro, which is a full-sized mechanical keyboard featuring a volume wheel and side lighting. The Spectre Pro is available with Outemu Red, Brown or Blue switches. It has the expected 1000Hz polling rate, N-key rollover and comes with double shot ABS keycaps. This board also features the updated v2 stabilisers and Tecware’s new keycap font.
A standout feature of the Spectre Pro is the attractive case design. The case has a plastic bottom piece with a smooth black top cover, giving the keyboard a sunken key profile as opposed to the more common raised profile. Between these two pieces there is a thin RGB strip that runs around the entire chassis. I’ve reviewed a few boards with rather extravagant side lighting, and what I like about this design is the subtlety – not too conspicuous. The bezel is fairly big, but still looks good with the curved corners. I absolutely love the Spectre branding on the front left, and the font choice is just perfect. On the bottom we have four rectangular rubber feet, as well as rubber-tipped foldouts. The USB-C port sits on the back in the middle, and nice to see a detachable cable. Build quality is good, and the keyboard weighs a hefty 1.15kg. The Spectre Pro features a metal alloy mounting plate, which is where most of the heft comes from. The top cover piece is made of thick ABS, giving the board a sturdy feel.
So you can get the Spectre Pro with Outemu Red, Brown or Blue switches, and I went for the tactile browns here. These switches have an actuation force of 55g, and feel quite similar to Cherry MX Browns. While not as smooth as Gateron Browns, these Outemus offer stronger tactility, and I really like these switches for typing. I use linear switches on my main board, and I definitely make less typos with these tactile Outemus. The Spectre Pro is hot-swappable, and just remember that these sockets are only compatible with Outemu switches. Outemu have a growing line-up of switches though, and there are quite a few that I’m eager to try in the future. As we saw with the updated Phantom 87, the v2 stabilisers are very good, however there was some rattle on the right area of space bar. I wanted to do a little mod, however I couldn’t remove these plate mounted stabs. I think the PCB and mounting plate is just too tight. It might work with excessive force, but I didn’t want to risk damaging the stabilisers. So you’re gonna have to disassemble the board here.
The Spectre makes a very nice sound, partly thanks to the pre-installed foam in the case. There is quite bit of metal ping unfortunately, but I wouldn’t say it was a dealbreaker for me. If you’re sensitive to this kind of thing, just take note of this as it might be vexing. There are of course many ways to reduce the metal ping, so it’s not a lost cause by any means. The Spectre Pro features 12 lighting modes that can be accessed with M1-M6. The RGB looks really vibrant, and the mounting plate is painted white so there is a potent underglow as well. Then of course you have the side lighting, and there is even an RGB zone around the volume wheel. You can control all the zones via the Fn layer.
In addition to the RGB controls, we have all the expected functionality on the Fn layer. The F-Row features media controls and quick access to things like the default browser and media player. There is a Windows lock, even though there is no Fn icon indicating this. The white LED on the top right corner will usefully show when Windows Lock is activated. There are also LED indicators for Num Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll Lock. I love the look of the volume knob, and it has a tactile feel with individual steps. It’s extremely convenient to have quick volume control, whether I’m gaming, playing media or video editing. The knob is used exclusively for volume control, and you cannot change its behaviour with the software.The software is very basic, but has all the essential features. You can do some key remapping, with the options of single key, macro and media. You also have some RGB controls, however all of this stuff can be accomplished with the keyboard’s Fn layer.
These are Tecware’s double-walled keycaps, so the transparent piece of plastic inside the keycap extends all the way to the bottom, forming the second part of the wall. The total width is around 1.5mm, so very good quality. These keycaps are also double shot, so no need to worry about durability or the legends fading. But with the ABS material you get that pesky shine on the keycaps, and I would have liked to see PBT on this board. If you’re willing to fork out an extra $20, you can grab one of Tecware’s PBT keycap sets. The white sets looked really good on here.
The Spectre Pro is another excellent bang for buck mech from Tecware. There really aren’t many full-sized keyboards boasting all these features at only $70.