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AZIO MK Retro Typewriter Mechanical Keyboard Review

By: Chad Sebring | Keyboards in Peripherals | Posted: Jan 31, 2017 1:48 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: AZIO

Inside the MK Retro

 

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Wire key cap pullers work to remove the rounded keycaps, but we would not suggest the plastic ones as it will likely scratch the chrome on the ends of the caps. Under each cap is a green stem poking through the shiny plastic top section of the MK Retro, and the torsion bars are hidden, and dummy holes are used to help support wider caps.

 

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These caps are molded in black plastic, and each key is then surrounded with a separate chrome ring to encircle the caps. The stems used to attach the caps to the switches is beefier than in moist designs, but will fit quite a few switch types, OARMY, Kailh and Cherry MX included.

 

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There are 22 screws that keep this keyboard together along with quite a few clips around the edge, but it is relatively straightforward to open things up once you realize the feet need to be removed as well. Inside of the lower section we do find ribs to support the PCB, and looking inside of the top section, we see holes for the switches and the same technique of applying the chrome ring to it that the caps use.

 

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You may think this image is inverted, but this is the orientation in which the switches are installed in the MK Retro. Note that there are no LEDs installed in any of the switches, and now we can see the OARMY name and logo present on each of these green tactile and clicky switches.

 

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The PCB inside of this keyboard is bright red, but we took this image for another reason. Notice that all of the solder work is tidy and that there are no signs of any residue left from the flux. This goes to show that even on parts many will never see, AZIO cares about quality and cleanliness.

 

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Without much more to do than to send the keystrokes off to the PC, AZIO chose the Holtek HT68FB560 MCU to drive this MK Retro. This is an 8-bit RISC architecture IC, and is more than enough power to do what this keyboard asks of it.

 

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Once powered, not much changes with aesthetics; that is until you activate the locks. While all of the keys are not backlit as most users enjoy these days, there is a brilliant white glow from the lock LEDs at the top right corner when active. So bright in fact, it can be picked up in the periphery if you accidentally press the Caps lock, for instance, you will know you did so right away.

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