Tesoro Develops Ultra-Thin Mechanical Chiclet Keyboard

Tesoro isn’t a household name in the peripherals world, but the young brand is eager to innovate. It’s already announced an optical switch keyboard, the Tesoro Gram Spectrum SE, and at CES the company showed off a super-slim mechanical keyboard prototype.

The as-yet unnamed device is a chiclet keyboard with ultra-low-profile Kailh Blue switches on board. (A Kailh Red offering may be coming, too.) That makes Tesoro one of the only companies we’re aware of to make use of Kaihua’s slim switches.

To be clear, these are not the desktop Kailh switches we've seen on numerous keyboards, nor are they the low-profile, Kaihua-made “Agile” switches Tesoro popped onto its Gram Spectrum keyboard; this is a different switch altogether. These Kailh switches have the same characteristics as their deeper desktop counterparts--linear, tactile, and clicky, respectively--but they have a substantially smaller travel and actuation point.  

Tesoro is mum on details, but if these are indeed the switches we think they are, they don't have a special name yet. The part number is CPG135001DXX, and they were designed specifically for laptops. Tesoro, which is not a laptop maker, figured it makes some sense to skip the laptop part altogether and offer a slim standalone keyboard with these switches on board.

You can see a comparison of these switches in the table below--again, assuming these are the switches we believe them to be. Note that the ones inside the Tesoro prototype have a 3mm travel and an actuation point of 1.5mm.

It’s also worth noting that Tesoro and Kailh have a competitor in this space: Razer has its own (take a deep breath) "Razer Ultra-Low-Profile Mechanical Switch," which it first teased on a throwaway iPad Pro case. Those, too, have chiclet caps. What we’re seeing here is a bit of demand from the market for a switch with the low profile and shallow travel people like on laptops and standalone chiclet keyboards that also offers a true mechanical option.

Tesoro’s prototype low-profile keyboard is just 12mm thick in total. The keyboard pictured here is a handmade prototype, but Tesoro expects the final, shipping version in Q2, by the time Computex rolls around this summer.


Kailh Laptop SwitchKailh Low-Profile SwitchStandard Kailh Switch
TypeLinear, Tactile, Clicky
Actuation Point1.5mm (+/-0.5mm)2mm (+/-0.6mm)
Actuation Force60g (+/-10g)45g (+/-10g)-Linear (Red): 50g (+/-15g)
-Tactile (Brown): 50g (+/-15g)
-Clicky (Blue): 50g (+/-15g)
Total Travel3.0mm (+/-0.5mm)3.5mm (+/-0.5mm)4.0mm (+/-0.4mm)
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