Retro Typewriter Inspired Keyboard

Brand: Azio
Model: MK-RETRO-01
EAN: 0851104001277
Category: Gadgets & Tools
Price: $108.19  (127 customer reviews)
Dimension: 1.60 x 17.90 x 5.80 inches
Shipping Wt: 2.30 pounds. FREE Shipping (Details)
Availability: In Stock.
Average Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Bring a little old school charm to your modern setup with this retro typewriter inspired mechanical keyboard. This water and dust resistant keyboard features typewriter style rounded keys with a chrome plated body and key caps. [Read more]

Features

  • Chrome plated body & keycaps
  • Full NKRO
  • Water & dust resistant
  • Clicky mechanical switch (50G)
  • Piano-black top plate

Top Reviews

Form over function
by AJ (3 out of 5 stars)
June 18, 2017

The design of this keyboard is awesome, however it's build quality leaves a bit to be desired. A few of the keys on my keyboard get stuck when depressed and requites a bit of fiddling to get it pop back up.

If your a Mac user, keep in mind you will lose the command key located to the right of the spacebar; which may or may not annoy you depending on how often you find yourself using keyboard shortcuts
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Completes my retro desk with full modern function.
by Andrew Cutter (5 out of 5 stars)
March 23, 2017

Looks great, sounds great, feels great.
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Oodles of Cool, but not perfect
by Colin MacKie (4 out of 5 stars)
December 19, 2016

Bought this as a group buy on a different website, but wanted to leave a review.

Overall, if you're looking at this keyboard, you probably fit into one of three categories:
1. This would be a cool additional keyboard to grow my existing mechanical keyboard repertoire!
2. I am excited to buy my first mechanical keyboard with blue switches, and this has great style points too!
3. What's a mechanical keyboard? I just love how this thing looks!

If you are in the first or third category, I'd say go for it. If you are looking to add to your collection, this one is cool, for sure, although not the best typer. If you don't know about mechanical keyboards and don't care and you're just looking for a cool keyboard, this will be (a) very distinguished and cool and (b) type better than any keyboard you've probably owned, ever. (It does NOT type as well as other blue keyboards, which I explain below).

If you are in the second category...get a different mech first, because I'd hate to have this one effect your experience or expectations regarding the feel of Mech keyboards. Having owned three different blue mech's now, I can honestly say this has the worst feel (NOT bad, just not as good as the other blue mechs I've had).

This is DEFINITELY an attention-grabbing keyboard. It has a unique look and for those who are in the know, the switches are Kailh's, which are probably the best of the Chinese switch manufacturers. For the users, this means increased reliability and more consistency between switches.

FIRST: the switches feel a little heavier than the "Gateron" keyboard I recently purchased. Haven't used my "Cherry" cooler master keyboard in a while but it feels heavier than I remember that as well. However, with a listed actuation force of 50g's, compared to Gateron's 55g's and Cherry's 60g's, it should feel much lighter. I believe the reason they FEEL heavier is because these switches are embedded in the keyboard face, meaning the keycaps can rub the sides of the little port to the switch, increasing the force required to actuate. I have smallish hands for a guy and this was a particular problem for me. Perhaps it is due to the angle I hit my keys at? Dunno, but this thing slowed my type speed (from other blue switch mech's; it is still faster and more comfortable than rubber dome keys) and increased my hand fatigue. I talk about this problem in the attached video.
(note, for those who are not mechanical keyboard junkies: Kailh (China), Gateron (China), and Cherry (Germany) are all switch manufacturers. Cherry is the oldest and arguable the 'best' in the biz, and cherry keyboard prices reflect that. Others have recently sprung up through the far east, including the other two listed above plus a few others like "Outemu", who is one of the newest and produced at the lowest costs. Other less common brands include "Alps" (or Matias, made in Canada) and "Topre". Logitech, Cooler Master, and Razer all decided to make their own switches rather than depend on third parties so some of their products have their own branded switches. This keyboard uses "blue" switches, a standard designator for a key that 'clicks' halfway through the actuation. They are typically the preffered typing switch type).

Second: The key faces themselves look good...BUT the letters and numbers appear to have been painted on. Don't know if they were etched in as well which would give some extra durability but I would expect these to start rubbing off after a year or two of solid use. Also, they were not molded using the highest quality technique so the bottom edges of some of the caps have unfinished marks where they were snapped off the mold, and some of the larger keys are a little misshapen on the edges. See picture. You should note this is definitely not visible during normal use; I'm being picky because I like good keyboards. Positive note about the keys: they are cherry compatible stems, so any cherry-compatible key caps will work if you ever feel the need to replace them due to the above comments (why you would, given that their style is the reason you'd buy this keyboard, is beyond me).

Third: the high-shine surface is a total fingerprint magnet. For $110, they could've sprayed an oleophobic coating on here. It does come with one of those little microfiber cloths you get with your glasses, so kudos for that, Azio.

Fourth: Don't know if its because of the embedded keys, but these have a muted click compared to other blue switches. You might find this to be a plus; I do not. I actually like the heavier tapping noise of a switch bottoming out, but for an office/dorm/shared space this might be preferable.

Some positives:
-The embedded-switch setup I was complaining about earlier is actually intentional: it keeps water out of the keyboard. You could splash this thing and you'd be pretty unlikely to get any liquids down there. Great for offices where coffee might be floating around a desk. It also keeps dust and dirt out. See pics.
-The keyboard looks fantastic, even covered in my sticky fingerprints (just got my 5 lb gummy bear in the mail), and is definitely an attention grabber. One of my buddies called me a hipster f*** after seeing it, which I'd say is a plus in style points, or at least means its a departure from the standard. (I am not a hipster f*** for those who are concerned.)
-The back rubber legs are plenty grippy and the angle adjustment is pretty cool. By rotating the feet, they drop in and out about half an inch each, which is pretty much what other keyboards do, except these have the bonus of stopping in the middle or anywhere else in between. This is a bit of a gimmick, but if you're typing for hours on end it could be a lifesaver for you wrists (to have the perfect type angle, I guess?).

I'm bad at conclusions, but I think this review started with one. If you're not sure whether to buy this, refer to the top. Which category do you fit in? It's very cool, very distinguished, and if you're not into mechanical keyboards, you can totally ignore the negatives I listed because this keyboard will still blow your cheap keyboard out of the water in terms of quality and feel. If you want it because it will type amazingly and last forever and don't care all that much about looks, look elsewhere. If you want it because you want a cool gadget with a bit of a steam-punk vibe to make your desk a little more interesting, GO FOR IT. This has enough cool to be on MI-6 desks, I'd wager.
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Beautiful, but....
by James G. Owen (4 out of 5 stars)
November 3, 2017

11/3/17. It is a thing of beauty. But for ~$115 or so, there are notable shortcomings:
1. The ridiculous manual. It is the same as the PDF one available online. It is without information.
2. The "W" LED, as I found-out after half an hour googling, can be turned-off by FUNC+Windows key. Which disables the Windows key. That's why it has a little picture of a lock on it, beneath the Windows logo. Of course. Since I disable the Windows key routinely by other means, I remain unharmed. And of course the keyboard initializes with the key enabled, and the "W" LED bright.
3. The two feet on the back of the keyboard are adjustable, but I still have no idea *how*. When it came, it wobbled, and I wiggled the feet somehow until it stopped and I'm afraid to touch it now.

As I note, if it were one of my typical $15 keyboards, I would give it back its fifth star. But it isn't.

However, it *is* wonderful. The little dots on the "F" and "J" keys are actually detectable, so I can avoid the amusing streams of drivel which occasionally erupt on lesser keyboards. And it makes merry clacking noises. And the space band is not an atavistic remainder of a once great function, but actually works every time I clack it. ... Truly marvelous.
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Bad quality
by Maerlyn (2 out of 5 stars)
June 27, 2017

The keyboard looks pretty nice but there are some serious quality issues. The keys themselves feel really cheap and flimsy and the switches do have an ok clicking sound but no where near the quality of cherry switches. Also most of the keys are upside down and one was double printed as you can see in the photo. Going to return this.
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Perfect for a touch typist
by Nancy L. Morefield (5 out of 5 stars)
January 7, 2018

If you know what a touch typist is then you probably learned to type on a typewriter and this may be for you. It is substantial, it does not move around the desk when I type, I do not need the keys to be back-lit because my hands know exactly what to type without me thinking about it. Added bonus, it looks really cool! It does make a noise when keys are pressed, about the same loudness as my memory of an IBM Selectric and quieter than a Smith Corona electric portable. Since I spent early years typing letters on both of these typewriters, this keyboard is perfect. My typing speed has started to return to to pre flat-flimsy-plastic -keyboard speed of years ago. The keys for computer functions, well, I have been using computer keyboards since they came out and the position of the keys is standard, so there is no learning curve. I purchased two of these, in hopes it would be great and I could give one as a gift. Both arrived in perfect condition and I have high hopes the recipient will be as pleased as I am.
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*KEYS WEARING OUT* A lot better than the Armato
by Neil (5 out of 5 stars)
December 22, 2017

A lot better than the Armato. I tried both.

MK Retro

really precise and smooth typing

very click keys

very responsive and accurate

sounds really really nice

elegant and nice design

the feet on the bottom never fall because they arent stupid folding feet! they are pad that expand and they are amazing

Armata

LEDs but they dont shine through the keys.... whats the point? it looks tacky

Volume knob is awesome but the media keys are the cheapeast plastic you could imagine

Cheap hard plastic palm rest - rather pointless - MK Retro has a great soft one

Keys arent as fast and clicky as the MK Retro - feels more like a highschool keyboard than a typewriter. MK Retro really feels precise, clicky, and smooth.

Weird font on the keys - the letters are also way too large

design looks pretty tacky compared to the MK Retro

The feet are foldable and fall down each and every time you push your keyboard back.... cheap cheap cheap.
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Brilliant rendition of a retro keyboard. Works perfectly on LINUX (Linuxmint Release 18.1 Serena).
by Richard Punter (5 out of 5 stars)
February 15, 2017

Magic.This arrived in New Zealand this morning and was plugged into my LINUX desktop. It worked instantly - excellent. I am normally very cynical/suspicious about companies selling retro product, too much of it is tacky junk. This keyboard however is a work of art. I will not repeat all that has been said in other reviews about the holistic effect of all the small design details such as concave keytops, font colour, etc etc. Yes the piano black and chrome is a fingerprint magnet - who cares. It looks magic and types like a dream. I have fairly thick fingers but its no problem from the get go, a few mishits but that will improve.

Ok - for the absolute purists the switches are not Cherry Blues or Alpes, so only time will tell, but this replaces a Cherry Blue and sits alongside an Matias/Alpes keyboard, so we will see but right now it feels excellent.

The only request I would have is that they sell a variant with a "TAB" key where the "NUM LOCK" is, as on my Matias Tactile Pro, then I would use it for spreadsheet and accounting work as well.

And for the price !!

Go on...buy one..you know you want one.
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Gorgeous, but one really major flaw
by Stefanie IHeartBritishTV (2 out of 5 stars)
September 9, 2017

I really wanted to love this keyboard. It's easily the most beautiful keyboard I've ever used, but it had one major flaw. The space bar had to be pressed very firmly in the middle because it had just one switch in the middle of the long key. I tend to hit the space bar just to the right of center, so roughly 50% of my key strikes weren't registering - leaving lots of words with no spaces in between. That's a pretty huge flaw that I've never had with any of my previous keyboards (mechanical or otherwise), so I had to send it back.
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Super happy with it, my fingers fly happily above the beautiful keys!
by strangeways (5 out of 5 stars)
May 15, 2017

UPDATE: I've been using this keyboard for 6 months now and love it. Noise: satisfying and not too loud. Key action: excellent! I do find the reverse order of the shiftable keys more annoying that I thought they would be.

I researched mechanical keyboards for use at my desk because I wanted to try something different. I am also a casual gamer, but didn't really buy it for that reason. My eyes bugged out when I came across the retro look of this one, but was unsure due to mixed ratings. So I purchased it thinking I'd try it and return if it bugged me. Sound: quite excellent. This may sound weird picky, but the click clack is great, except for the space bar - it has a much higher toned click that I'm now used to. First-world problem AF! The click clack does seem loud at night when others are sleeping. Typing action: oh my gosh, my fingers can fly on this thing. I haven't timed myself, but I think it really has increased my speed quite a bit. I typed up a friend's resume in under 5 min. The look: quite excellent. However, some keys are already showing slight fading. I just tried cleaning the T with a damp qtip, didn't work, then alcohol, also didn't work, so the frequently used white letters are coming off a little. I don't care really, because I love the black and silver. As others have stated, some of the shiftable keys are confusing because they're printed on the key in reverse order. I'm really happy with it overall and look forward to whenever I have a hunk of text to type - like this!

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