Mechanical keyboards are one of the most popular items for advanced PC users nowadays. Their reintroduction into the main consumers market was nearly a decade ago but their market growth was slow because of the initially high cost and low availability. Slowly but steadily, ever more manufacturers introduced new products, bringing new features and/or lower prices to the consumers.

Nowadays there are dozens upon dozens of mechanical keyboards available, for every user and budget. Even if the user is not a heavy gamer or typist, having a quality mechanical keyboard is often considered to be a sign of prestige, leading to a market overgrowth that everybody wants a piece of. New companies are being founded on a monthly basis and old names who never even marketed peripherals before introduced mechanical keyboards into their product catalogues.

In this review we will be having a look at a product from Azio Corp, a fresh face here in AnandTech. Azio is an American company, based in California, US. The company was founded back in 2005 and ever since then specializes on the design and manufacturing of PC keyboards, mice, and audio products. Recently, after a very successful crowdfunding campaign, the company released a new series of mechanical keyboards dubbed the “Retro Classic”.  The Retro Classic is one of the few mechanical keyboards that is entrusting its success almost entirely on its unusual aesthetic design. On the technical side of things, it also comes with new mechanical switches from Kailh that we have never seen before.

Packaging and Bundle

Azio supplies the Retro Classic in very thick and sturdy cardboard boxes. The design on the boxes is minimalistic, with just a picture of the keyboard itself on it. After all, it would be quite the paradox if the artwork on a box were to be more attractive than a keyboard basing its success on aesthetics.

The Azio Retro Classic doesn't have any advanced technical features so, as you might expect, there are not any special items bundled alongside the keyboard. We found only a basic manual and a warranty card inside the box. Meanwhile the keycaps of this keyboard are not meant to be removed, so Azio does not provide a keycap puller. Typical keycap pullers will not work with the round shape of the keycaps anyway, only some wire pullers might but these might also scratch the paint off the keycaps.

The Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard
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  • moblues29 - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    Holy Retro, Batman! Did we just forget about words like "comfort" and "ergonomically designed"? Because that beasty-stiff-sore-eye looks painful just to use! I'm sticking with my $24.95 Microsoft wireless ergo-comfort keyboard, thank you.
  • Danvelopment - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    Looks like these guys got themselves a pretty sweet contract.
  • supdawgwtfd - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    So how does one delete their AT account?

    I'm done here with the completely 0 coverage on this massive CPU bug that has come out.
  • Phiro69 - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    >It is a standard 104 keys keyboard that does fully adheres to the ANSI layout.

    English no so good.
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    Whoops. That one was my bad.
  • AdmrlAhab - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - link

    When will this company's evil reign of terror and creating crappy, overpriced keyboards end? Nobody in their right mind would purchase from them.
  • koin123 - Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - link

    wow this keyboard is very good style

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  • Findecanor - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    I find it more likely that the edges of the keys are vacuu-metalized. It is difficult to get such a good result with paint.

    This is not Kailh's first switch with a centred LED. Steelseries QS1 switch was made by Kailh and is very similar but not exactly the same model.

    Making the space bar heavier is an old convention. Additional springs under a key don't add stability - the stabiliser bar does that. Most of Cherry's own keyboards have only a heavier variation of the main switch under the space bar. (blue->green, brown->clear, black->grey etc.) Many rubber-dome keyboards have additional metal springs under the space bar as well.
  • hazydave - Saturday, March 23, 2019 - link

    The main problem with this keyboard is the keys. I have one, I like it's feel quite a bit. The keys, however, are simply painted, not molded through. So depending on your level of use, they don't last long. I'm lots a few keys after about six months, tops completely worn off. If you write ASIO and ask nicely, they'll send replacement keytops -- or did so far. Still, the original HP portable calculators from the 1960s had properly designed keytops. This isn't rocket surgery.
  • MQBlood - Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - link

    I bought it on a deal $49.99, and have been very happy with it. Is it a $200 keyboard? No. But for $50, it looks good, has a nice solid feel and with 2 years on it, it's still working nicely.

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