AZIO goes back to the old-time when typewriters were still a thing with the MK-Retro mechanical keyboard, without of course being a true typewriter. I was interested from the start on out to find out if you should buy this special keyboard, or if there are better options out there.
Disclaimer: Although Aukey provided me (Jeffrey) with the keyboard, they have had no influence on the editorial outcome of this review. The keyboard was tested connected to my OptiPlex 790 desktop PC running the latest build of Windows 10.
- Blue mechanical switches (brand not specified)
- N-Key rollover (or 6-key rollover)
- Pillar-style feet for easy height adjustment
- Dust and water-resistant switches
- Support for all major operating systems, no specific drivers required
The AZIO MK-Retro keyboard feels like a block of concrete once you take it out of the box, which at the same times gives the keyboard it’s strong feeling. The keyboard is mainly made of plastic, with an enormously heavy inner shell.
With all the plastic on the keyboard, you might think that the it feels cheap, but none of that is true. Every bit of the keyboard feels strong and well crafted, from the upper glossy plate to the matte black plastic plate underneath the keyboard. When trying to flex the keyboard, it doesn’t give in at all. If you use this keyboard normally there shouldn’t be a way to get it damaged.
AZIO also did a great job on making the top plate easy to clean for dust collected on it. On top of that, if you do end up throwing some water on your keyboard, rest assured that you don’t damage the keyboard with it; the switches are both water and dust resistant.
You’ll either love or hate this keyboard for its design, more so than with the ‘standard’ mechanical keyboards I’ve seen in the past. When I showed the keyboard to others, they all seemed to like look of the keyboard. What’s the most important thing here is that the keyboard looks different from all the keyboards out there, made without any creativity in mind.
The round keycap design with chrome on the sides, and the entire chrome-looking edge of the keyboard is something truly unique to the keyboard. It not only lets the keyboard pop nicely in your setup, it brings a true designer piece to the table. The status lights for the keyboard is something I’m not quite sure about what to think of it. In some way I do like it, but on the other hand I wouldn’t have mind it if AZIO would’ve just made the lights sit flush with the backplate.
The backplate looks nice when you first take it out of the box and you peel off the plastic, after that it’s just waiting for the dust and smudges to arrive, but like I said in the build quality part, due to the spacing of the keys there’s enough room to easily clean this up.
From time to time it’s nice to have such a keyboard in my office; it’s so easy to annoy my brother with this keyboard, just connect it to my PC and type a full review on it… The blue mechanical switches used in this keyboard are just like almost all other blue colored mechanical switches, though these did feel slightly more premium than the switches in my Aukey Mechanical Keyboard which used Outemu blue mechanical switches. It’s a bummer that AZIO doesn’t mention the company of which they’ve bought these switches; I expect that they’re coming from KAILH like on some of their other mechanical keyboards, take this as an assumption though. Overall, I really like the feeling of the blue switches used in this keyboard, and I can easily type away more than 1000 words on it, though the spacing and height of all the keys did give me some headache at the beginning.
AZIO added N-Key rollover to this keyboard, with also the option to switch to 6-Key rollover. The added functionality means that no matter how many keys you would press, they’ll all be registered by the hardware. This is something normal keyboards are limited at, due to the hardware not being able to process all the keys at the same time.
The last added functionality to this keyboard is the Windows lock, which is the most useful for gamers, though I’m questioning myself if gamers would actually buy this keyboard. You can simply activate it by pressing FN + the Windows key, and it can be deactivated in the same way.
The AZIO MK-Retro mechanical keyboard is an extremely fancy looking keyboard, whether that’s something you’re looking for in a keyboard, is for you to decide. What I can tell you is that it looks extremely good in most setups. The build is phenomenal, as is the typing experience on the keyboard. If you’re typing 8 hours a day in an office, and you’d like your colleagues to stay friends with you, I’d advise you not to use this keyboard as it’s simply way too loud for such environments.
The keyboard is available for $99.97 on the Amazon International store, do note that you’ll need to pay import taxes if you buy and let this keyboard ship anywhere else than inside the US. Even if you pay the import taxes, and you end up paying somewhere around $140-150, you’re getting an amazing mechanical keyboard that’ll bring you back to the past. If you’re going to pick one up, do let me know in the comments below.