Keys and Usage
The keys are round to match the classic design, which may initially create an unfamiliar operating feeling. However, this is of secondary importance in view of the extremely appealing design achieved by this very key shape.
The Kailh-Typelit-switches are located under the keycaps and provide acoustic as well as haptic feedback, which is pleasantly noticeable when typing on the keyboard. The switches trip relatively early – at about 1.6 millimeters – and require a tripping force of 50 to 60 grams.
The rather clear feedback provided by the switches reinforces the impression of typing on a real typewriter and is therefore rated positively by us. The tight arrangement of the keys makes targeted typing difficult at first, but also serves the design. After a short period of getting used to the new system there will be no more problems.
The keys are equipped with a white backlight, which can be adjusted in nine stages if necessary. This backlight is controlled via the FN key – more on this in the next section.
Software or Settings
Another special feature of the Retro Classic from Azio is the complete absence of any software. While most modern keyboards can now be adapted using software, the Retro Classic can only be adapted using various setting keys.
Since macro and multimedia keys are completely missing, the settings must be made using the double-assigned F keys. For example, the backlight can be controlled using the FN key. Here the user has the choice between full lighting, breathing mode and reactive lighting, in which the keys only light up briefly after a press. Furthermore, the brightness can be regulated in nine steps.
Individual commands can also be triggered via the F keys. For example, it is possible to adjust the volume or lock the Windows key to prevent unwanted access to the desktop.
Overall, the absence of software in the test is more positive than negative. Basic settings can be made via the keyboard. Unnecessary extras are eliminated. This makes it possible to make settings quickly and easily, which is not the case with many other keyboards. In addition, the claim to offer a basic model that is not overloaded with extras that are hardly needed in practice is underlined. The focus of the Retro Classic is clearly on design, not technical gimmicks. Thus, despite the integrated modern functions, it is a rather classic input device, which is rated positively by us.
Those who do not want to do without numerous extras, numerous possibilities of influencing and detailed information in a software, should refrain from buying the Retro Classic, which does not meet this requirement. Friends of an easy-to-use, aesthetically pleasing, by no means overloaded and yet modern keyboard, on the other hand, should have access to it.
Wireless or Wired to PC or Mac
The Azio Retro Classic is available as a wired USB version as well as an upgraded Retro Classic BT. These are the ones we tested.
With the Retro Classic BT you can switch between USB and Bluetooth as well as between PC and Mac. To make this possible, a 6,000 mAh battery is installed. This lasts loosely more than a month – without lighting even longer. The automatic switch-off, which occurs after 5 minutes of inactivity, also contributes to this. Pressing a key will reactivate the keyboard.
The battery is charged via the USB-C port. On the positive side, the battery can also be easily removed and replaced if it does not function properly after many years.