Azio Unfashionable Vintage Mechanical Keyboard Evaluate

Relating to product design within the tech international, maximum units have a decidedly graceful, trendy high quality that, even now, conveys a way of the long run. Have a look at a gaming computer someday if you do not imagine us. However some tech firms have every so often presented units with opposite, nostalgic designs that glance backward to the previous as an alternative of ahead. Wi-fi audio system and virtual cameras are two such markets the place we have now observed this pattern. What is sudden is this unfashionable fad took goodbye to turn up within the mechanical keyboard marketplace.

Then again, you’ll be able to now choose between a number of antique-styled, Forties Remington typewriter-esque keyboards, together with the Nanoxia Ncore Unfashionable Alu and the Qwerkywriter S(Opens in a brand new window) (the latter, with its operating knobs and go back lever, might give you the maximum visually trustworthy copy of a length typewriter but in spite of its heart-attack value of $399.) In our view, essentially the most sumptuous (and luxuriously priced at $189.99) riff in this concept to this point is the Azio Unfashionable Vintage mechanical keyboard that is the topic of nowadays’s overview.


Azio provides 4 keyboards in its Unfashionable Vintage line, alike in options however other in look. We will be exhibiting footage of them all, however the only we examined was once the Artisan (black leather-based with copper body). Here is a first look at it…

Azio Retro Classic (First Look)

The keyboard is designed with white lettering on black, round keys. Then again, Azio’s take features a plate lined with leather-based, and a body product of zinc aluminum alloy plated for a matte copper end, for a lush, tactile really feel on each and every key. It is even were given a hex-bolted producer’s brand plaque, if that sustains your whimsical fancy.

That is the Posh (white leather-based with copper body) model…

Azio Retro Classic (Plate).

General, the Unfashionable Vintage is a good-looking keyboard, without a doubt about that, however its good looks is not only pores and skin deep, with just a little of copper element skimming the highest edge. The copper element is in truth a part of the total body, as you’ll be able to see right here within the Elwood (walnut picket with gunmetal body) model…

Azio Retro Classic (Elwood Border

All that steel contributes each to the unit’s durability, and to its weight of three.8 kilos. It is not the heaviest we have now ever examined, however it is one of the vital heavier same old QWERTY keyboards and not using a wrist leisure or expanded genuine property to carry further keys.

The loss of further keys, then again, signifies that the Unfashionable Vintage’s serve as keys paintings double shifts in tandem with the Fn key at the backside row. Fn+F1, for instance, opens your Internet browser, and Fn+ F3 your e mail consumer. (Backlighting may be doubled up, one thing we’re going to duvet in our subsequent phase.) There aren’t any devoted media keys, which we’d have anticipated in a mechanical keyboard at this value, however a minimum of the serve as keys for media instructions are sensibly organized in combination, from F5 thru F11—in contrast to the Razer Cynosa Chroma, which for some reason why makes use of F1 thru F3 and F5 thru F7…

Azio Retro Classic (Media Keys

One of the most issues Azio does proper is ready the keys above the body, fairly than recess them into it. Take a look at the Onyx model (black leather-based with black chromed body, similar to the Ncore Unfashionable in genre) to get a way of this…

Azio Retro Classic (Above Frame

Here is a view from a special perspective of the Artisan keyboard…

Azio Retro Classic (Above Frame Artisan

The benefit to keys recessed in a body is that mild swimming pools properly round them. The far-more-serious drawback is that the rest small that unintentionally drops at the keyboard has a tendency to get caught inside of, in all probability without end. Against this, keys that sit down above the body have a lot smaller openings beneath for mud, dirt, water, or pork stroganoff to get stuck in. A can of compressed air can care for particles that lands on best of a body. In our revel in, you’ll be able to’t do the similar for recessed keys.

Every other level Azio will get proper is the location of unshifted key symbols underneath shifted ones (2 underneath @, for instance), which was once the normal association on typewriters and laptop keyboards for greater than 50 years till backlighting arrived. Then, the highest halves of keys have been higher lit than the ground halves, which led some firms to invert image placement. In consequence, on some keyboards it is all however unattainable to learn shifted symbols on keycaps. However at the Azio, the backlighting is completely even, and the symbols are clean to look.

As an alternative of the standard pinpoint LED signs for Caps Lock, Num Lock, Scroll Lock, and Win Lock, the Unfashionable Vintage has slightly huge and brilliant LEDs, which endure a passing resemblance (planned or differently) to Artwork Deco mild globes. It is a minor level, however we discovered the LEDs extra conspicuous at the Azio than on maximum different, an identical implementations. Right here they’re…

Azio Retro Classic (LEDs).

The Unfashionable Vintage has 4 huge, rubber-padded, pillar-style ft, which offer superb anti-friction…

Azio Retro Classic (Foot).

The rear pair will also be grew to become clockwise till they succeed in the similar 1-inch top because the entrance ones, or grew to become counter-clockwise to offer a spice up of as much as four-tenths of an inch…

Azio Retro Classic (Feet Boost)

Whilst we truly just like the “make a choice your individual top” means, we want Azio had equipped a bigger spice up for a complete inch. The theory is to boost the keyboard sufficiently in order that the arms don’t seem to be required to stretch to achieve the again rows. Stretching them tenses up tendons and contributes to repetitive pressure damage. You’ll at all times exchange a collection of mechanical keys once they put on out, in spite of everything, however neither Cherry nor Kailh can provide a brand new set of finger tendons.

After all, the Unfashionable Vintage comes with a thickly braided, 71-inch twine. Braided cords are for sure stiffer than rubber-coated ones, particularly when it is a excellent, commercial energy braid, like this one. Rubber-coated cords are some distance more straightforward to slash or damage, or just twist again and again till the wires inside of fray. With a Velcro tie, braided cords are our most popular way of USB connection.


The Azio Unfashionable Vintage has no configuration tool. That is a disadvantage since configuration utilities supply a centralized, easy-to-use interface for a bunch of alternatives involving key remapping, macro modifying, lighting fixtures, and different options. Missing that, Azio has fallen again on key mixtures for backlighting. Key remapping and macro modifying don’t seem to be even at the menu.

It is true that those options don’t seem to be as important in a productiveness keyboard as a gaming one. Nonetheless, macros are essential to a few industry other folks, and having the ability to remap keys is arguably simply as essential in Visio, Phrase, and Acrobat as it’s in Dota 2 or Crusader Kings II.

Azio does furnish key mixtures for white backlighting. The 2 modes, respiring and reactive, are natural fluff, however the lighting fixtures on/off and brightness adjustment mixtures are all helpful as a result of, in contrast to the Ncore Unfashionable, the LEDs shine throughout the keys. Because of this you’ll be able to paintings, recreation, or surf the Internet successfully in a rather darkish area, and regulate the level of lighting fixtures if you do not want to wake a slumbering partner or roommate.

And as we discussed in our closing phase, they shine frivolously from the middle, in order that shifted and unshifted symbols on keycaps proportion similarly within the limelight. Consistent with Azio, this necessitated going with Kailh switches; the LEDs in Cherry MX fashions are situated to mild the higher part extra brightly. Since Cherry began making unique preparations with most effective choose firms over the previous couple of years, Kailh’s popularity as a producer and co-developer of superb mechanical switches has incessantly risen. Whilst its rather new Field and Velocity traces are getting many of the consideration in this day and age, the corporate’s Blue switches within the Unfashionable Vintage are simply as efficient as Cherry’s MX Blue. There are minor variations between the 2, such because the MX Blue’s overall go back and forth distance of four.0mm and its actuation level of 2mm, as opposed to the Kailh Blue’s 3.6mm go back and forth distance and 1.6mm actuation level. However those internet out in exact use to the similar factor, and each possess an actuation drive of kind of 50g.

The one distinction shall we to find between the 2 in daily software is that the loud click on of the MX Blue is rather dulled at the Kailh style, spacebar apart. Whether or not that is an issue of transfer or keyboard development (or each) we will’t say, however you’ll be able to use the Unfashionable Vintage with out everyone else inside 50 ft being conscious about that reality.

Like any Blue switches, those have a tactile contact fairly than a linear one—equivalent to that of the gamer’s present favourite, the Cherry MX Purple. Mixed with a reasonably heavier activation drive than MX Reds, they are typically most popular in scenarios the place you want to do a large number of typing.

Azio Retro Classic (overhead view).

Consistent with Azio, the Unfashionable Vintage furnishes N-key rollover. Because of this then again many keys are pressed concurrently and in shut proximity to each other, all will likely be as it should be scanned. We examined this out on the Microsoft Carried out Science Workforce’s web page(Opens in a brand new window), however may just most effective get 6-key rollover. That is unquestionably excellent sufficient for many programs and video games, barring some tune systems and flight simulators, however it’s not what Azio claimed.

The tale does not finish there, then again: the Unfashionable Vintage comes with a key combo to change between 6-key rollover and N-key for some reason why. (In case your CPU can not maintain N-key rollover, exchange it, no longer the keyboard.) We are positive you’ll be able to expect what took place after we attempted Fn+PrtScn: The keyboard switched to N-key rollover, and we then accomplished 20 keys or above persistently. We will’t say that some other bought unit will arrive with 6-key rollover activated, however it can pay to set it as it should be first.

Finally, be aware that the unit on this overview is the USB style. Then again, there may be a $219.99 Bluetooth model of the Unfashionable Vintage to be had, carrying a 6000 mAh Lithium ion rechargeable battery. It is rated for one to 6 weeks of use with backlighting on and 6 months with the backlighting off. A USB port is furnished for recharging.


We examined the Unfashionable Vintage in quite a few programs and video games, with anticipated effects. As a productiveness keyboard, its Kailh Blue mechanical switches introduced superb efficiency in Microsoft Phrase and an identical systems. Like this keyboard’s body, they are constructed to closing; in accordance to a few estimates, as much as 10 years relying upon the surroundings (humidity, mud) and quantity of use. Shall we want for upper rear ft, so that there is much less tendon stretching to achieve the Unfashionable Vintage’s again row. However the keys really feel excellent below the fingertips, and the craftsmanship is actually cast.

However frankly it isn’t a gamer’s keyboard—if through gamer, we imply the one who enjoys real-time action-based titles, versus leisurely turn-based and pause-based ones. That is why linear Purple switches have transform the players’ favourite through the years. Blue mechanical switches are nice for pace typists, then again, for the reason that further level of pushback drive and a tactile “squeeze” level assist minimize down on stray key presses.

The absence of a configuration application does not assist promote this keyboard to productiveness customers, let by myself players. All of the options other folks have come to depend on from the Corsair Software Engine, Razer Synapse, Cougar UIX Machine, SteelSeries Engine, and different, an identical tool applications—limitless executable-specific profiles, key remapping, a macro editor, and extra—are lacking from the Unfashionable Vintage. Even Logitech Choices, meant for productiveness peripherals, provides intensive remapping of a rather small collection of keys. It is not that you just could not play video games or run programs with out those options. It is simply that doing so is a bother.

After all, we may have wanted for devoted media keys, and a quantity dial, for that subject. Whether or not you are operating up a document or enjoying a recreation, it is nice to have a unmarried regulate to straight away exchange the amount stage.


When Nanoxia launched the Ncore Unfashionable Alu no longer way back, we famous that we concept the corporate made a small tactical error through emphasizing video games (“recreation mode mild settings”). Azio does not make the similar mistake with the Unfashionable Vintage, however its MSRPs of $189.99 (USB) and $219.99 (Bluetooth) will carry eyebrows. There are unquestionably extra options within the Unfashionable Vintage than within the Ncore Unfashionable Alu—maximum significantly, adjustable ft top and white backlighting that shines throughout the keys—however is it price what’s successfully an additional $100 on the time of this overview?

We expect no longer, except you are looking on the Unfashionable Vintage as extra of a luxurious merchandise. Make no mistake, the Unfashionable Vintage is a great, cast (in additional tactics than one) productiveness keyboard, with nice Kailh Blue mechanical switches. However in our view, it is extra of an extravagance—an sudden present chances are you’ll give an individual who does a large number of typing however who additionally likes trendy issues, and would by no means dream of buying one for him- or herself. Or, after all, a present for your self, if you are feeling just a little self-indulgent.

Our point of view shifts if the Unfashionable Vintage is evaluated from the perspective of a luxurious excellent. Then styling turns into a big promoting level—because it was once for the now-discontinued anniversary version of PFU Restricted of Japan’s Satisfied Hacking Keyboard(Opens in a brand new window), a $4,200 mini-keyboard whose keycaps have been lined with 10 layers of Urushi lacquer and and sprinkled with gold mud. Granted, the Unfashionable Vintage has much more to provide the typical productiveness consumer, however the elementary concept is similar: proudly owning one thing that stylishly contains nostalgic parts of a cultural previous, but stays helpful. Azio achieves this in a stylish way, in all 4 of its Unfashionable Vintage incarnations. They might have executed extra with this keyboard from an ease-of-use viewpoint, however there is not any denying that the Unfashionable Vintage hits the entire fundamentals, and that you’ll be able to have it round to appreciate and revel in for a very long time.

Azio Unfashionable Vintage Mechanical Keyboard

The Backside Line

It is expensive, however the Azio Unfashionable Vintage is a particular and sublime tackle Forties Remington typewriters. With Kailh blue switches and a steel body, it is a productiveness keyboard that is additionally constructed to closing.

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