Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Ever since the invention of the typewriter in the late 1800s, writing moved from the pen and pencil realm, and also took nuances of individual styles of handwriting out of the equation for readers around the world. If you happen to have been born early enough, you may even recall doing some of your schoolwork on this sort of device, where mistakes in writing required a bottle of White-Out, a few heavy breaths of air to the page being typed upon, and then you could continue on your merry way. Of course, we can also recall getting fingers pinched in the keys, the inevitable ding from the keyboard at the end of a line, and needing to swing your arm up to a large lever, shifting the page back to the left edge to be able to continue your work.
While the typewriter had a great run in the history of writing, it was replaced in the 1980s with word processors, and then into PC keyboards in the mainstream, and has ever since made writing anything from a novel to an IM message, as easy as it could get.
While most makers of PC keyboards are driving their attention to backlighting, RGB effects and customization of the LEDs under the keys, Macro keys, Profile keys, and a Windows lockout feature, AZIO took a nostalgic approach to mechanical keyboards. While most of the keyboard is the same as one would expect, with a two-piece frame, adjustable feet at the back, a 104-key layout, and the use of mechanical switches, aesthetics here are something we have only seen done in steampunk modifications to a PC. Never has someone came out with such a device to be enjoyed as it is, right out of the box.
We have you all together here today to discuss the latest creation from AZIO, and their keyboard development team, the MK Retro Typewriter Inspired Mechanical keyboard. What sets this device apart from all others is that not only does this design get back to the basics, for those who tend actually to use a keyboard for writing rather than for gaming, but more importantly have used a set of key caps that are very reminiscent of what we can recall from our childhood.
Rounded keycaps are used on the MK Retro, and each cap is concave across the top of them, and each is surrounded by a chrome ring, leaving open areas between all of the switches, allowing for the smooth, shiny top used in the MK Retro to shine through in all areas. If nostalgia is your thing, you don't care for all the fancy do-dads that come with today's mechanical keyboard offerings. If you are more of a typist than a gamer, the AZIO MK Retro will not only look amazing but will most certainly set your peripherals apart from anything most people have seen on the desk in this day and age.
In the specifications chart provided from AZIO, we see this keyboard is named the MK Retro – 01, which almost makes us think more versions of this idea will come along in the future. It connects to the PC via USB, more specifically USB 2.0, and is at the end of a 1.8-meter cable which has been braided. The switches used in its interior are Tactile and clicky, resembling the action of Cherry MX or Kailh blue switches, but are not made by either company. The stems of these switches are olive green and are branded with the name OARMY. There is an option built into the MK Retro to enable either 6-key rollover support or NKRO, it works with any Windows operating system, and is backed by a two-year warranty against defects.
The MK Retro is 147mm from the front to the back, 455mm from side to side, and with the feet in the lowest position, stands only 40mm in height. As far as weight is concerned, the MK Retro is a relative lightweight at just 1043 grams, because the entire design is made of plastic. Aesthetically, every key is either round or rounded, the entire top of the keyboard is made of shiny black plastic, the lower section of textured black plastic, and just like how the key caps are ringed in chrome.
The outer edge of this keyboard also sports a thick chrome trim which unifies the design and makes for a keyboard that is stunning to look at as well. Another trick we have not seen before is that the MK Retro is supported with large round feet, almost what you might find supporting a chassis. However, that isn't the best part of it. The back feet are still adjustable, but use a set of grooves in the feet, to allow them to twist counterclockwise to be extended, and clockwise to be lowered.
At this point, locating the MK Retro is quite easy, just type the name into any search engine and the listings of where to obtain this device pop right up. In our search, we found that Amazon does carry the MK Retro, and currently is asking $109 for it. You can save a couple of dollars and choose to look at Newegg for the MK Retro, though, where we found it listed for $106.99. Right away we see that the pricing is not that bad for this keyboard, but we do also have to consider that outside of its flashy historical design, many features we find in PC keyboards today, are left out in this design.
However, it has been our experience that not only do we wholeheartedly appreciate the design and enjoy being unique, anyone who has seen this product during our testing has straight away asked if they could have it. It is just that amazing, that even without using it, those old enough to recall a typewriter in the first place seem to be drawn to the MK Retro like a moth to a flame, almost as if they cannot believe what they are seeing.
Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS X99-E WS - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 5930K - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Corsair H100i GTX - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: KLevv Cras DDR4 3000 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Video Card: ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Intel 730 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: SilverStone TJ11 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
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