If you’ve seen the unboxing video of the Azio’s MGK L80 RGB mechanical keyboard that I reviewed a few weeks back, I mentioned that there’s a special sample from Azio that I will be reviewing soon as well. Well, here it is, the Azio’s MK Retro Mechanical keyboard.
The name says it all. Azio MK-Retro keyboard is a typewriter-inspired full-sized mechanical keyboard. What makes it so unique is the design of the keyboard. Instead of standard rectangular keycaps, the keycaps on the MK-Retro is rounded and concave, just like the one we used to see on a typewriter back in 19’s. And what would be a type-writer inspired keyboard without blue switches right? So yes, the Azio MK-Retro keyboard also features Blue switches to give you the best nostalgic feeling. Enough with the intro, let’s have a look at the quick unboxing of the keyboard and dive deeper into the review.
Azio MK-Retro Unboxing:
Azio MK-Retro Closer Look:
For such a keyboard, I feel like just unboxing isn’t enough, so let’s have a closer look at the keyboard with some quality pictures.
So, this is how the keyboard looks out of the box, the top frame is covered with plastic as it’s glossy, which means it’s also a fingerprint magnet. The company also provided a microfiber cloth for cleaning purpose.
Here’s a closer look at the keycaps of the keyboard. Each keycap is rounded and in black color while the outer most part of the keycaps is covered with chrome plating. And to add more to the aesthetic, the writing on the keycaps is also in silver color. The overall theme of the keyboard is very appealing and I’m pretty sure this is what makes this keyboard a highlight around others on the shelf.
And one more interesting feature about this keyboard is that the two feet. To extend the keyboard, you need to rotate it anti-clockwise and to bring it back to its normal position, just rotate it clockwise.
Some more interesting photo’s that I took of the Azio MK Retro keyboard.
|Cable||6 ft. / 1.8 m / Braided|
|Keyboard||17.5 x 1.37 x 5.4 in / 455 x 147 x 40 mm|
|Weight||2.3 lbs / 1060 g|
|Switch type||Tactile & Clicky (Blue)|
|NKRO||Full Key Rollover|
|OS support||Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10|
|Warranty||2 Year Limited|
|Thank You Card.|
Azio MK-Retro Function keys:
The function keys on Azio MK-Retro is present on the top from F1 to F12. Since there are no LEDs on this keyboard nor does it support macro recording, there are no other function keys on this keyboard. The F1 key has the Web browser, F2 the file explorer and F3 the email shortcut functions. From From F4 to F11 we have the multimedia keys like back, forward volume etc. And the last function key that we have on this keyboard is the F12 for Calculator. All these functions keys are accessed by pressing the Fn key present at the bottom along with the desired function key from the top row.
The keyboard, however, does support NKRO, and this feature can be accessed by pressing Fn + PrtScr key
Azio MK-Retro Blue Switches:
The Azio MK Retro is using mechanical blue switches however the brand isn’t mentioned anywhere on the website or the user guide. Also, what’s somewhat suspicious about the keys is that the keys aren’t even in Blue color, rather in Green color. What hides the brand name over the switches is the top frame which only makes the stem of the switches visible. After a little bit scouting on the internet, I was able to find out the switches being used in this keyboard are provided by OARMY. Having used the Cherry MX Blue switches for a long time, I immediately felt that these switches don’t exactly offer what a Cherry MX or Kailh Blue does. The switches are tactile and produce a good amount of sound however the sound produced by the switches just isn’t satisfactory. The sounds seem a little dampened which could be the result of covering the switch with the top frame. This could be a seen as a good feature for those who prefer a little less sound from the tactile switches, but this left me somewhat unsatisfied with the switch. However, the typing performance of the keys is similar as that of other Blue switches you’ll find on the market.
Azio MK-Retro Typing and sound test:
Azio MK-Retro User Experience & Conclusion:
I’ve used the Azio MK-Retro keyboard for a few days and I’ve mixed thoughts about it. Firstly, you need some time to get used to the circular keycaps which will surely give you trouble in the beginning. But you’ll get used to the keycaps real soon. Secondly, the keyboard doesn’t support macros which may be an immediate let down for people who use them often. I think Azio skipped on some of the modern functions like macros to keep the nostalgic feel to the keyboard.
When it comes to typing, as you can see in the video above, I scored WPM speed of 79, but of course, that varies from time to time. And do note that the difference in WPM speed result from my previous take on the Azio MGK L80 RGB keyboard and this keyboard is only 5 WPM less. So, like everyone who comes across this keyboard and feel in love with the design immediately, put your mind at rest, the round keycaps wouldn’t affect your typing performance too much.
However, the highlight of this keyboard is surely the design. The Azio MK-Retro is available in 7 different colors and each sporting the same design of chrome plating around the keycaps and the frame of the keyboard. Azio has chosen some of the best accents, the chrome plating and the color on the body and keycaps, everything looks perfect. Every other keyboard from the Azio MK-Retro Line looks marvelous. Everyone I’ve shown this keyboard to have shown interest in the type-writer inspired design.
As for the switch, as discussed in the paragraph above, the switches don’t really feel like a full-fledged blue switch, with the dampened sound. However, the switches still have the clicky and tactile feel that of a Cherry MX or Kailh switch we’re familiar with. If you’re not sure about the switches on this keyboard, as there’s a chance you may not have heard the name OARMY before, make sure to give the keyboard a test driver at a store before you make your final decision.
In the end, it all boils down to the price tag of the product. And the Azio MK-Retro is available on Amazon for $89.99. At this price range, you can find yourself a regular full-sized mechanical keyboard with other special features like macros and LEDs. So, this leaves the Azio MK-Retro in a difficult spot with the unfamiliar switches used in the keyboard. However, what Azio is offering is not a regular keyboard that you see every day on every other PC. What Azio is offering you, is the 19’s type-writer experience embedded in your modern keyboard with a beautiful design. The Azio MK-Retro is something we don’t often see in the market. Nor does many steampunk or retro build enthusiast get many chances to fulfill their desire out of the box like this. Azio is offering you a gateway to nostalgia and it is clear that Azio is targeting a specific audience with this product.
But even in this market, Azio have some competition and looking at that competition, the price could have been better.
Overall the keyboard seems like a great deal if you’re looking for something that’s eye-catchy and will be used every day unlike some other things 😉 So, I would like to rate the Azio MK-Retro 4 out of 5 stars and give it our “Recommended Buy” award.