AZIO MK Retro Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅19-02-17
Performance Testing
Setup, Design & Observations
On opening the packaging of the MK Retro, we discover that the surface finish of the keyboard is piano black, and as feared, it was and despite the switches having dust protection, the surface itself is a dust/fingerprint magnet (as seen in the images).

At a little over 1Kg, it has a fair amount of weight to it, though the large feet on the underside will ensure minimal movement on your desktop surface. Though the overall aesthetic in our humble opinion looks fantastic, one has some questions about the longevity of its appearance due to the materials used. The key cap font is printed on the surface, and gives the impression that it will easily wear after a fair bit of use, while the chrome finishing is actually a coating on the plastic, which also could flake, scratch, crack, and peel away. Also, the actual body itself is glossy plastic and considering the actual price, one can't help but think that it could have been much more convincing if there was more use of actual metals. Sure, considering the dust/spill proof design, it would weigh considerably more, but typewriters themselves are incredibly heavy. As the main selling aspect of the MK Retro IS its aesthetic, the use of more authentic materials could have taken it to the next level.

Despite not knowing the brand of the mechanical switches used, in use they felt great, with good tactile feedback and a satisfying clicky response. Though, I also noticed that each key-cap felt very close together as the round tops did not have a familiar taper that would otherwise clearly distinguish on key to the next. Thus this resulted in a lot of mistakes and typos. This could be a matter of getting used to it because it is different, so I put myself to the test. My average WPM (words-per-minute) speed is between 60-80 (60 is my more casual/lax speed, while 80 is my forced/ in the zone speed). In my first typing test with the MK Retro I scored an abysmal 43 WPM, followed by a more respectable 58 WPM. So there was a learning curve in getting used to the keys, though I noted that my reliability/accuracy may also have been reduced due to it being a US layout (as I am used to the UK layout). After a while, I did find myself getting more accustomed to the key-caps, so it shouldn't really be much of an issue.

I also spend some time playing a few games, (CS:GO, Battlefield 1) and found that it feels great to game on, no different to what you would expect from any gaming keyboard, though I found that the larger key-caps actually helped with the in-game control.

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