The Azio Retro Classic is different than what we usually see around here. We’re used to Cherry switches, macro keys, and RGB aplenty, so we weren’t exactly sure what to make of this unconventional design.
This is very much NOT a gaming keyboard. It’s a highly stylized, looks first board with an emphasis on design and a unique, retro aesthetic that’s sure to be very polarizing.
For some it’s going to scratch an itch they may not even know they had, for others the look might be a bit much. Either way, there’s no denying this “elegantly fierce” keyboard is very much doing its own thing.
You can pick up the Azio Retro Classic here for $190.
Retro, yes. Classic?
This keyboard is defined by its design. Bold is an understatement here.
The Azio Retro Classic is designed to bring to mind a typewriter. A typewriter set in white leather, with a rose colored zinc aluminum alloy frame and round, old-fashioned keys. It’s very sturdy, heavy even, with the substantial metal frame adding a weight and stability that suggest longevity and durability. Four large, round rubber pads sit on the bottom to keep it elevated and to make sure it doesn’t slip. The luxury aesthetic is not just a facade; this is a genuinely well built, meticulously designed keyboard that’s reflective of the price.
The look may be a gimmick, but it’s a gimmick Azio took to heart, and fully embraced.
What I thought would be an impractical design turned out to be a well built, all around high quality keyboard.
And it’s certainly a statement. You’ve probably already decided if you like the design of the Retro Classic, and if you don’t, I don’t think Azio has any interest in changing your mind. It’s a brazen look, like a Rococo keyboard pulled from the 1730 Parisian abode of Juste-Aurele Meissonnier. It’s a strange counterpoint to flashy RGB keyboards, or the Spartan custom keycap boards that are all the rage right now.
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s unique, and that’s an accomplishment that shouldn't be undervalued.
If you don’t like the rosé and eggshell coloring, it’s also available in black leather, or a lovely black and copper combo. These are a little more my style, but on the other hand, if you’re going Tory Burch luxury maybe go all the way.
People are going to buy this board for looks, not because they need fifty million macro keys. It’s fairly straightforward as far as features go, but there are a few worth mentioning.
Firstly, the backlighting. This isn’t RGB, it’s a soft orange, but it totally works for the design. The illumination adds an underglow to the keys, and it looks awesome in the dark. Check it out-
It’s simple, but well implemented.
The braided USB cable is remarkably high quality, though I wish it was detachable.
There’s also a variety of shortcut keys accessible with the function button and...that’s about it. I’d imagine that’s more than enough for the target demographic, but if you want bells and whistles, there’s more feature rich keyboards out there in this price range.
This is where things get a little weird.
My original assumption was that this keyboard, as well built as it is, would not be fun to type with. The strange, round keycaps immediately made me think of slipped keys and typos, and the thought of gaming with it made me straight up anxious.
Imagine my surprise then, that I had almost no trouble adjusting. It took a few seconds to get used to the tactile difference from Topre switches to...whatever these are, but I grew comfortable much faster than I ever would have thought.
Part of that is the layout. The keys are round, sure, but they’re well placed, and the resistance of the switches is perfectly in line with what I’m used to. Typing this up, I’m having no more errors than I was with my go-to board.
Typing is one thing, but how about gaming? I understand that the crossover between hardcore gamers and people who want a white, leather keyboard is probably not huge, but I was curious.
Again, I was surprised. I played some Overwatch, initially against bots because I was concerned the keyboard would affect my performance. It didn’t. I moved on to a few ranked matches and actually did fairly well. I’m not going to replace my gaming setup with the Retro Classic any time soon, but it speaks to the design that I was able to get Play of the Game with this fancy board.
The Retro Classic, with all its focus on design, is also highly functional.
I’m more surprised than anyone.
The Lap of Luxury
The Azio Retro Classic is very conscious of what it wants to be, and though I’m probably not the target audience for a keyboard like this, I can’t help but be impressed by the gregarious styling and unapologetic luxury aesthetic.
What I am sure of is the build quality. It’s all around well built, with as much focus on constructing a high functioning keyboard as was placed on the visual design. The ease of use was a surprising and welcome revelation as well.
It seems I underestimated you Azio Retro Classic. What I thought would be an impractical design turned out to be a well built, all around high quality keyboard.
I’m not sure it’s going to replace my RGB Topre board, but if you like the look, the Retro Classic is an easy recommendation.