While traditional luxury brands regularly tap old-world aesthetics for inspiration, electronics gear is almost always subject to the whims of the design vocabulary du jour (some audio equipment notwithstanding). However, California-based high-end technology manufacturer Azio is breaking from this pattern with the vintage-style, typewriter-inspired Retro Classic keyboard.
The keyboard’s frame is constructed from a zinc-aluminum alloy, which is then plated with either black chrome or satin-finished copper (depending on the version) and polished. The frame is lined with large hex screws, which add some structural support but are mostly there to lend the keyboard an industrial vibe. Adding a tony touch, its back plate is made from real leather in either black or white (once again depending on the chosen color scheme).
And while all these features certainly make for a beautiful device, the tangible benefit of the Retro Classic is found, appropriately enough, in its keys. Each of the buttons has a circular or rounded design borrowed from antique typewriters and are LED backlit. Unlike many modern keyboards, which utilize a membrane under the key to register presses, the Retro Classic is a mechanical keyboard, meaning each keystroke activates a physical switch. This gives the user reassuring tactile feedback and an audible click every time they press the key, leading to less mistyping. They also have a much greater travel distance than the shallow, don’t-know-if-I-actually-pressed-it buttons on most modern keyboards (laptops are especially egregious), resulting in a more confident keystroke.
The Retro Classic is available in three color schemes: Onyx (black chrome and black leather), Posh (copper and white leather), and Artisan (copper and black leather). It can be purchased either with a USB connector ($190) or Bluetooth ($220) and is available for preorder now (at a discounted price), with first deliveries expected to begin in October.