We recently took a look at the AZIO R.C.K., the Retro Compact Keyboard, which is a 75% form factor keyboard in the Elwood variant that features a wooden top plate and Bluetooth connectivity. Before this, a separate review was also given to the AZIO MK Retro in white and the newer Retro Classic in black. Funnily enough, the MK Retro uses plastic and the Retro Classic sample I had was a pre-production model with leatherette. So, fittingly, we get back to the Retro Classic again, but as an update that gets Bluetooth connectivity for the full-size keyboard, and this time in the fourth variant for the finish. Let's thanks AZIO again for providing a review sample!
As with the older USB-only Retro Classic and the RCK, the AZIO Retro Classic BT comes in four versions—Gunmetal, Posh, Artisan, and Elwood—which define the material and color scheme used for the top plate (leather or wood) and the frame. It otherwise retains the design philosophy of the rest of the AZIO Retro series of keyboards, and I have here the Artisan variant with a copper and black leather finish to round off our look at all our options. This is a 104-key full-size keyboard built with more luxury than performance in mind, with the company-provided image above leaving little to doubt as to the clientele this is being marketed for. We will go over the features in detail and begin with a look at the specifications in the table below.
|AZIO Retro Classic BT Keyboard|
|Layout:||104 keys in UN ANSI layout, language support based on region|
|Material:||ABS plastic bottom and keycaps, genuine leather or wood top plate, chrome (or copper) plated zinc alloy frame, steel plate|
|Weight:||1.6 kg / 3.8 lbs.|
|Media Keys:||Available as a secondary function|
|Dimensions:||147 (L) x 455 (W) x 40 (H) mm|
|Cable Length:||6 ft / 1.8 m|
|Switch Type:||AZIO/Kailh "Typelit" tactile and clicky mechanical switch|
|Backlighting:||Yes, White or Orange depending on version|
|Interface:||USB or Bluetooth 4.0|
Packaging and Accessories
If first impressions are all you get, the AZIO Retro Classic BT does a fantastic job with the packaging. A thick, hefty cardboard box with a plastic wrap all over greets us, with a colored render of the keyboard in action and the company and product name on the front in matching color. Another render and marketing features are on the back, and a contents list is on the side.
AZIO employs a two-piece packaging with an outer sleeve that can be slid off an inner box. This inner box has the product name again printed on the front in the same copper color to match the Artisan variant of the keyboard inside. Magnets fold the clasped side of the box, which can be opened to reveal the contents. This is most definitely a luxurious unboxing experience with layers being the name of the game. The keyboard is seen first up, albeit inside a waxy paper cover and underneath another plastic cover for further protection during transit. There is also a cardboard compartment which houses some of the accessories included with the Retro Classic BT.
This compartment contains the product manual in multiple languages, a microfiber cloth to wipe the keyboard, and a warranty card that just so happens to be in leather with a copper print, because of course it is! You will then have to take the keyboard out to access the rest of the contents, and we also see thick foam on the sides for further protection during transit. The remaining accessories are in another compartment above the keyboard and include the removable USB cable to connect the keyboard in USB mode as well as charge the internal battery. This cable is the standard 6' long and terminates in a male USB Type-C connector on one end, which hints towards the use of Type-C connectivity on the keyboard.
The final accessory is a set of spare keycaps that come in a taped shut bubble wrap container. These keycaps are for macOS users, which indicates the keyboard has Windows keycaps out of the box based on the product page and marketing and is in contrast to the RCK. These keycaps are fundamentally identically to those we saw before on the AZIO Retro series keyboards before, as well as a few other such typewriter-style keyboards, with a circular/oval top surface that is not contoured and instead has a light concave surface to rest the fingers on. The keycaps are made out of thin ABS plastic with laser etched legends for backlighting compatibility and have a copper-colored trim with a black base to match the keyboard.
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