UNBOXED: Reviewing the Azio Retro Classic Bluetooth Keyboard
When we look at keyboards and other computer peripherals for UNBOXED, they typically fall into the gaming realm—flashy keyboards with lots of lights and programmable hot keys. And when Azio reached out with the opportunity to look at some of the their product, we were pretty convinced it was going to be more of the same.
But then the Azio Retro Classic Keyboard showed up.
Unlike really anything Azio has ever produced, their Retro Classic Bluetooth Keyboard is a luxurious, high-end model that is constructed out of classy materials, and is built to resemble (and feel like) an old school typewriter.
As someone who’s long wanted to own a classic typing machine—what writer wouldn’t?—but have never been able to pull the trigger on one that I actually like, the Azio Retro Classic is a solid backup plan.
Up front, it’s important to note the $219.99 price tag on this thing. That’s for the Bluetooth model; it’s $189.99 for the USB-only version. It’s a hefty cost for a keyboard, and might seem higher than any consumer looking for a non-gaming keyboard would ever be willing to spend. But getting hands on with the keyboard is really the only way to understand why those prices make all the sense in the world and might actually be a bit of a bargain.
Azio crafted these keyboards with some of the finest materials I’ve ever come across on a keyboard. Each model weighs around three pounds—heavy for a keyboard, but it adds to the authenticity and level of class that this product exudes. You’ve got four different color options: Onyx (black leather with chrome accents), Posh (white leather with copper matte accents), Artisan (black leather with copper matte accents), and Elwood (walnut wood with gunmetal matte accents). The design might come across as a little aggressive, but the way Azio describes it, elegantly fierce, really speaks to the craftsmanship and edgy look of the keyboard.
Their attention to detail with these keyboards really shines through in other facets as well, including the placement of the nameplate, the unique and compact design of the “kickstands,” simple switches at the top of the keyboard for alternating between Mac and PC computers, and the complete set of key caps that can be swapped out for the different keyboard setups.
A product can look amazing, but if it doesn’t perform well it’s all for naught. The Azio Retro Classic keyboard excels from a performance standpoint. The Azio Typelit mechanical switches, which were developed in collaboration with Kailh (the other Cherry), perfectly mimic the classic typewriter experience. They require a little extra force to press down on, but not so much that it hinders the user’s workflow.
If there’s one area that Azio could improve upon, it’s the height of the keyboard. Sitting more than an inch off the desk, I found my wrists getting a little fatigued while trying to type for long periods of time. Azio could solve that by releasing similarly-crafted wrist rests, otherwise the user could use their own to help alleviate some of the physical discomforts there.
All in all, the Azio Retro Classic is a gorgeous keyboard that immediately classes up any computer desk.