Azio MK Retro Keyboard

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Backlit and Bluetooth

in 2017-12, they came out with backlit and bluetooth version.

Azio Retro Classic Bluetooth Onyx Keyboard d2c38
Azio Retro Classic Bluetooth Onyx Keyboard Buy at amazon

Non Backlit, Wired USB versions

azio mk retro keyboard 2017 75930
Azio MK Retro keyboard
azio mk retro keyboard pink 2448
Pink Gold version Azio MK Retro keyboard

The key switch is Kailh's blue, a variant of Cherry MX blue. It is clicky tactile.

[see Kaihua Kailh Switch]

[see Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms]

Here is a excerpt of review by Colin MacKie, 2016-12-19, on amazon.

key switch

… the switches feel a little heavier than the “Gateron” keyboard I recently purchased. Haven't used my “Cherry” cooler master keyboard in a while but it feels heavier than I remember that as well. However, with a listed actuation force of 50g's, compared to Gateron's 55g's and Cherry's 60g's, it should feel much lighter. I believe the reason they FEEL heavier is because these switches are embedded in the keyboard face, meaning the keycaps can rub the sides of the little port to the switch, increasing the force required to actuate. I have smallish hands for a guy and this was a particular problem for me. Perhaps it is due to the angle I hit my keys at? Dunno, but this thing slowed my type speed (from other blue switch mech's; it is still faster and more comfortable than rubber dome keys) and increased my hand fatigue. I talk about this problem in the attached video.

… Don't know if its because of the embedded keys, but these have a muted click compared to other blue switches. You might find this to be a plus; I do not. I actually like the heavier tapping noise of a switch bottoming out, but for an office/dorm/shared space this might be preferable.

The embedded-switch setup I was complaining about earlier is actually intentional: it keeps water out of the keyboard. You could splash this thing and you'd be pretty unlikely to get any liquids down there. Great for offices where coffee might be floating around a desk. It also keeps dust and dirt out. See pics.

key cap face

… The key faces themselves look good…BUT the letters and numbers appear to have been painted on. Don't know if they were etched in as well which would give some extra durability but I would expect these to start rubbing off after a year or two of solid use. Also, they were not molded using the highest quality technique so the bottom edges of some of the caps have unfinished marks where they were snapped off the mold, and some of the larger keys are a little misshapen on the edges. See picture. You should note this is definitely not visible during normal use; I'm being picky because I like good keyboards. Positive note about the keys: they are cherry compatible stems, so any cherry-compatible key caps will work if you ever feel the need to replace them due to the above comments (why you would, given that their style is the reason you'd buy this keyboard, is beyond me).


The keyboard looks fantastic, even covered in my sticky fingerprints (just got my 5 lb gummy bear in the mail), and is definitely an attention grabber. One of my buddies called me a hipster f*** after seeing it, which I'd say is a plus in style points, or at least means its a departure from the standard. (I am not a hipster f*** for those who are concerned.)


I'm bad at conclusions, but I think this review started with one. If you're not sure whether to buy this, refer to the top. Which category do you fit in? It's very cool, very distinguished, and if you're not into mechanical keyboards, you can totally ignore the negatives I listed because this keyboard will still blow your cheap keyboard out of the water in terms of quality and feel. If you want it because it will type amazingly and last forever and don't care all that much about looks, look elsewhere. If you want it because you want a cool gadget with a bit of a steam-punk vibe to make your desk a little more interesting, GO FOR IT. This has enough cool to be on MI-6 desks, I'd wager.

Azio MK Retro keyboard

Retro Keyboards