Tecware Spectre Pro – A Stunning Budget Mechanical Keyboard

Tecware Spectre Pro – A Stunning Budget Mechanical Keyboard


About a year ago I reviewed the Tecware Phantom
RGB TKL, and I really thought that it was, and still is a great solid budget mechanical
keyboard. And Tecware gained more attention after showing
off this board at Computex this year, the Spectre Pro. I say it over and over again. While high end customs are amazing, I have
a massive soft spot for budget mechs, as it just makes it more accessible and means more
people have the opportunity to get the mechanical experience. And the better the lower end gets, the better
it is for everyone. Also, keep in mind that this is an early batch
unit, so changes will come which I’ll mention. And here’s the keyboard. Feels nice and solid, coming in at just over
a kilogram. And with the internal steel plate, there’s
minimal flex. But let’s get this plugged in because this
is when it shines. The included USB type C cable is nicely braided,
and fits snugly into place. But I always hate how these cables come folded,
because they look terrible. Fortunately the hole is big enough for my
JUJU cable. And I absolutely love the design of this board. This is straight up the nicest looking enclosure
on a budget mech, and possibly even all plastic enclosure mechs in my opinion. But yep, it has a plastic enclosure which
is this sweet nearly matte finish. Satin I guess. The lines are clean and simplistic. The top edge is quite sharp, but it is just
plastic so it doesn’t cut you or anything. We have rounded corners with a sizeable 1cm
bezel. The sides angle outwards slightly until it
hits this stunning sideglow piece. And they nailed it. It’s somewhat thin at about 2mm thick, but
it shows off the light perfectly. The diffusion is on point, and hides the screw
bosses really quite well, but at the same time it’s bright and vibrant, and because
the bottom plastic piece comes inwards, it gives that aesthetic glow on the table. We can change the lighting with FN plus pause,
which also includes individual colours which is nice to match a theme. And the bottom is pretty plain. Just a couple of rubber feet, and two flip
up feet that are also nicely rubber tipped. Back to the top. The LED lock indicators are also on point. They’re flush with the plastic, and use
white LEDs. Not everything is perfect though. So the knob next to it. Right now, it’s just a volume knob. Personally, I find it really convenient and
useful, but that’s all it is for now. Whether you like how it looks is up to you. It is quite big. The top looks nice, but the sides are a bit
cheapish. It does have a ring of light around it, which
we can also change the colour of which is a nice touch. The main thing is that it doesn’t really
follow the rest of the keyboard design. And on my particular unit, it’s quite difficult
to turn. It hits a spot where there’s too much resistance
on each rotation, so that made it quite annoying to use. But that should be quite easy for them to
fix. And of course the font on these caps are pretty
bad, and do detract from the overall sleek aesthetic. However, they did tell me that they will improve
the keycap legends in future batches. They’re made from 1mm thin ABS plastic,
so not great, but they are doubleshot, so the legends are another piece of plastic and
won’t fade away. In addition to the sideglow, we do have customisable
RGB backlighting. So there’s a bunch of effects and patterns
that we can play around with. And we can also individually customise the
colour of each key. We can also play with the lighting in the
software that we can download from their website. So we have our 3 profiles that we can edit. In the LED editing mode, we have access to
all our effects and patterns, as well as brightness. And there’s also our sideglow and volume
wheel colours. We can also customise each key with another
key. There’s also a bunch of media functions
that we can assign. And then finally macros which we can record
with delays and cycles, and such. In the manual, I didn’t see a way to switch
profile onboard. So you have to do that through the software. Fortunately, it is a full sized, so I guess
you can sacrifice a few keys if you wanted to assign stuff. It’s a very basic piece of software, much
like many other budget mechs. But that’s fine, because it works. Now to the other feature that Tecware have
had in some of their other boards. It has hotswappable Outemu keyswitches. I have Outemu Brown switches in mine, so a
light tactile switch with a mild bump halfway. Don’t sleep on Outemu switches. I mean, they’re obviously using them to
keep the price down, and that’s absolutely fair on a budget mech. But these Brown’s in particular are more
tactile than Cherry MX Browns. That’s not saying much, but that goes to
show, that these aren’t bad at all. They also said that they’re going to change
to the dustproof variant of the Outemu keyswitches in the future. Anyway, they are using the Outemu hotswap
sockets, meaning that we can pull out the keyswitches without desoldering. However, these are super tight as always. And I’ve never liked the keyswitch pullers
that come with these boards, and yeh, you can see for yourself. But that’s not the worst part. Because they’re so tight, pretty much they’re
compatible with just Outemu switches. So that means, Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh,
Durock, whatever keyswitch, are not fully compatible. So first of all, you need to have a gap for
the SMD LED, as it does protrude from the PCB. And if you have 5 pin switches, you gotta
cut off those prongs. But basically the pins just don’t fit properly. Apparently you can file down the pins, but
I’ve never bothered. And you can make them work if there is enough
contact, even though the pins will be bent. But really, it’s just Outemu that will fit
properly. With all that being said though, it’s better
than not having hotswap at all. So it’s still easy to replace your keyswitch
for whatever reason. But with Outemu only. Anyway, here’s how it sounds. Now this was the bit that killed me. The switches sound fine, the stabilisers aren’t
great, with a bit of rattle, which is to be expected. But it’s the metallic ping. It’s crazy on here. I’m pretty sure it’s the worst ping I’ve
experienced on a modern mechanical keyboard. So this is that ping sound that lingers after
each key press. This is something that I’m quite sensitive
with, and I do specifically look out for it with every keyboard I test. So it may not be much of a concern to you. But it is pretty bad. I did try and put some foam inside, but it
didn’t really help. Hopefully they can get this fixed, and I did
tell them about, so maybe there is a chance. But please, fix this. To open up the keyboard, there’s a bunch
of Philips head screws on the bottom, as well as under the feet. Here’s the bottom plastic piece. Very simple with a bit of ribbing on the bottom
surface. It’s pretty low profile, so there’s not
much room in here, so I’m not sure what’s making that noise. I couldn’t take off the sideglow plastic
piece as mine had 2 stripped screws. But we can see why the sideglow is so bright
and even, and that’s because there is a bucketload of sideblasting RGB LEDs all around
the edge. We can also see that the RGB SMD LEDs for
the keyswitches are completely on the otherside, and therefore protrude from the top which
is annoying for keyswitch compatibility, but that doesn’t matter anyway with these Outemu
sockets which are soldered in. The plate is made from steel, and is probably
the standard 1.5mm, so nothing too out of the ordinary from what I can see. So yeh, not sure what’s going on with the
ping. By the way, the keycaps do look pretty nice
with the backlighting off. But, it’ll look even better with some new
keycaps. Ok, so this keyboard is an absolute looker. I think the enclosure design is as good as
it gets for prebuilt plastic case mechs. It’s clean, sleek, and the sideglow is just
perfect, again, as good as I’ve seen. The volume wheel is useful, but I understand
that it may not be for everyone, and it could have been nicer. And that brings up the idea of having a tenkeyless
version of this. How good would that be. Just chop off the numpad and I think we’ll
have an absolute winner there. Anyway, the big disappointment for me with
this at the moment is the horrible ping sound when typing. Again, this is from an early batch, and I
really do hope they fix that, because sound is such a huge part of a mech. And it does fail here. And as mentioned before, they’ll improve
on the keycaps. Also, blank keycaps would look amazing on
this. Surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to have
a stealth version. And thinking about it, imagine a stealth TKL
version, how good. But I digress. One of the biggest features of this mech as
with many of their others, is the budget price. The recommended retail is only $65. It may even be cheaper at some stores. And that’s just awesome. You get a really nice looking mech at a budget
price, with all the features I’ve discussed. But to Tecware, just take on my advice, and
get this stuff fixed, and you have a winner.

54 thoughts to “Tecware Spectre Pro – A Stunning Budget Mechanical Keyboard”

  1. Damn. Already a minute into the video and I kinda wanna nab this. I hope there’s a TKL version? My main worry is that wheel.
    Edit: nvm god damn that ping

  2. Got this in browns as well. I gotta say the only thing i hate is the font. Going to replace it with double shot pbt by hyper x soon! Gorgeous!

  3. The ping is from the switches, i have an outemu red switch keyboard and it pings hard. I dont think they can fix it but its better to wait for an "elite" version(kailh hotswap sockets) maybe.

  4. Those keycaps are exactly the same ones you get on every Tecware Phantom and Phantom Elite model. Given how much keycaps can somehow add to the cost of a pre-built board, I guess Tecware has to cut costs somewhere. If they're improving the font, hopefully it'll apply to the rest of their keyboard lineup too. That or maybe they just slapped on Phantom keycaps on the pre-production review unit since the production caps aren't done yet.

  5. This is an early unit, so probably hold off for a bit if you're thinking of getting it. I've passed on my feedback, and they've said that they'll work on improving the keyboard!

  6. I tried using the switch puller on my Tecware Phantom so I could lube the switches (brown), but I ended up breaking some of them since they're so tight. Instead, I just used a small flathead screwdriver and pried the switches up from the bottom right and left corners. I lubed them with Tribosys 3203 and replaced the couple of broken ones with the included replacements. The metallic pinging completely disappeared after lubing.

  7. I was looking at the Phantom RGB, and came upon the Spectre Pro. Pretty sweet and this can be bought for $46 here. I do wish it had a lower profile though as I'm looking at the K589 Shrapnel and the K591 Parvati which are low-profile with Outemu Reds though reviews are hard to find.

  8. seems like a nice enough keyboard except for those oem caps. i literally have like 4 sets of those exact same caps from different chinese boards ive bought and sold. otherwise seem like a really good value and the design is nice. Hot swap is always appreciated

  9. I just don't like the fact that they reverted back to outemu hotswaps only. They already did a universal swap board with the Elite TKL and I don't really get why there's a need to revert back. Still, the keyboard looks nice.

    Still waiting for the time Tecware will release a compact board, maybe 60-70/75% boards with the same aesthetics and enclosure as this. The keys hidden, not the "floating" ones that is actually on trend. I'd gladly buy one even on a bit of a premium price, especially if its a universal hotswap board.

    Was a fan of tecware even when they only released budget cases. Heck, I still have their Raiden Elite Case from way back when.
    Kudos still to Tecware for releasing budget boards/peripherals to the market.
    And kudos to you as well TaeKey's as you always do a good job on this reviews.

  10. I really love what tecware does but that ping is rough, Ive used the full and tkl versions and my tkl has some ping. If they do fix it please do an update video to let us know! If they fix the ping I’m getting one

  11. If they could make a version with kailh howswap PCB, maybe it wouldn’t be so budget, but at least we can use other cherry switches on it.

    I love the case design, it looks better than some custom keyboard cases, but I’ve used outemu browns on my prev tecware keeb and really hated it

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