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Azio's Retro Classic keyboard is luxurious, but imperfect


The first thing to say about the Retro Classic is that it looks like it was built in the 1920s by a coterie of cloth-hatted civil engineers. If you're looking for something quiet and lightweight, this is the opposite, weighing in at a pinely heavy four pounds, clad in zinc aluminum with either a gunmetal or copper top. It's sufficiently hefty that I'd be tempted to use it in self-defence against an armed burglar. There are four chunky rubber feet below the keyboard itself and the back two can be twisted to lift it up.

As the name implies, the Retro Classic is modeled after vintage typewriters with a mechanical hammer action. The switches in this case are produced by Kailh, aping the style and technology of the more well-known Cherry MX. Purists prefer the latter for serious, heavy-duty eSports, but Kailh's switches will do for pretty much everyone else. There's an excellent amount of travel and resistance, and a beautifully loud click when you reach the bottom of each key.

 

The first thing to say about the Retro Classic is that it looks like it was built in the 1920s by a coterie of cloth-hatted civil engineers. If you're looking for something quiet and lightweight, this is the opposite, weighing in at a pinely heavy four pounds, clad in zinc aluminum with either a gunmetal or copper top. It's sufficiently hefty that I'd be tempted to use it in self-defence against an armed burglar. There are four chunky rubber feet below the keyboard itself and the back two can be twisted to lift it up.

 

As the name implies, the Retro Classic is modeled after vintage typewriters with a mechanical hammer action. The switches in this case are produced by Kailh, aping the style and technology of the more well-known Cherry MX. Purists prefer the latter for serious, heavy-duty eSports, but Kailh's switches will do for pretty much everyone else. There's an excellent amount of travel and resistance, and a beautifully loud click when you reach the bottom of each key.

But like all luxury keyboards, it's a conversation piece, something that's distinctly nice to have, rather than something that's essential. You can pick up a decent keyboard for $10 -- but this is the thing you buy when you're making a statement. Do you need it? No, never. Do you want it? Of course you do, and it's a joy to type with as well. It's the same logic that applies to a first-class plane ticket or those limited-edition kicks you waited all night to buy. The question in all those scenarios is the same: Do you have that sort of money to burn?

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