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Azio’s Retro Classic Keyboard Looks as Nice as It Is to Type On Azio’s Retro Classic Keyboard Looks as Nice as It Is to Type On
The RC Prestige mechanical keyboard from Azio has a bit of a steampunk vibe. Its backlit half-height keycaps — rounded squares with brushed silver... Azio’s Retro Classic Keyboard Looks as Nice as It Is to Type On


The RC Prestige mechanical keyboard from Azio has a bit of a steampunk vibe. Its backlit half-height keycaps — rounded squares with brushed silver edges — float above the faceplate and look like old-fashioned typewriter keys. The ebony version I tested has a black-stained wood faceplate; an ivory version swaps wood for white leather. The aluminum frame matches the color of the keycap edges and is secured with visible screws around the top. 

Despite the somewhat anachronistic design, the keyboard has a lot of the features you’d find on current mechanical keyboards: hot-swappable Gateron G Pro 3.0 mechanical switches, double-shot keycaps, wired or Bluetooth modes (for up to three devices), MacOS, Windows, iOS and Android support, and high-quality materials inside and out. 

The Azio Retro Classic Prestige full-size mechanical keyboard. The Azio Retro Classic Prestige full-size mechanical keyboard.

The shape of the keys is nice, but the font choice is not great. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

The bottom case is plastic, but it doesn’t detract from the design. It certainly doesn’t make it lighter: it’s a hefty 3.5 pounds. The base has large circular feet with rubber on the bottoms so it won’t slide around. A twist of the cleverly designed back feet raises the rear of the keyboard for a more comfortable typing angle. 

A close-up look at the rear foot of the Azio RC Prestige mechanical keyboard. The round foot can be rotated to raise and lower the typing angle. A close-up look at the rear foot of the Azio RC Prestige mechanical keyboard. The round foot can be rotated to raise and lower the typing angle.

Rotating the ring on the rear feet raises and lowers the typing angle. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

The keyboard connects by Bluetooth or USB cable (a nice USB-C-to-USB-A braided cable was included); there’s no 2.4GHz wireless option. With Bluetooth, up to three devices can wirelessly connect to the keyboard. The keyboard will go to sleep to conserve battery life when not in use, and it does take a second or two for it to wake and reconnect — not uncommon but still frustrating.

The back of the Azio RC Prestige keyboard has a USB-C port for charging and a wired connection to a computer. There are also switches to change to using a Bluetooth connection and changing the OS support between Windows or MacOS. The back of the Azio RC Prestige keyboard has a USB-C port for charging and a wired connection to a computer. There are also switches to change to using a Bluetooth connection and changing the OS support between Windows or MacOS.

Switches on the back let you turn on and off Bluetooth and change the keyboard layout for MacOS or Windows. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

Even though I tested an early production sample of the keyboard, the typing experience was wonderful. The keyboard Azio sent me had Gateron G Pro 3.0 Brown tactile mechanical switches, a good choice for typing. Azio also offers linear Red and clicky Blue Gateron G Pro switch options preinstalled. They’re hot-swappable too, so even if you don’t like your initial choice, you can change them later. 

The double-shot keycaps are smooth and the shine-through legends are increasingly a rarity on non-gaming mechanical keyboards. The font Azio chose doesn’t look as nice as the rest of the keyboard; it’s not particularly clean or sharp, so some of the keys are difficult to read. The legends on the previous version of the RC Prestige are much nicer. 

The Gateron G Pro switches are prelubed and move smoothly and quietly. The keyboard overall is fairly quiet and cushy, likely because of the internal structure and the use of Poron foam and a silicone damper. It sounds great too, with a pleasingly soft clack that shouldn’t disturb your coworkers too much. The Kickstarter page for the RC Prestige has a sound sample, but my keyboard has a deeper sound. 

Close-up of the Gateron G Pro 3.0 switches in the Azio RC Prestige keyboard. Close-up of the Gateron G Pro 3.0 switches in the Azio RC Prestige keyboard.

Azio offers a choice of tactile, linear or clicky Gateron G Pro 3.0 switches. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

The Azio RC Prestige keyboard Kickstarter campaign is fully funded and the keyboard is currently in production. A fully assembled keyboard is a pledge of $169 plus shipping, which varies by country. The campaign ends on March 15 at 9 a.m. ET and keyboards are expected to ship in July. This is Azio’s fifth keyboard campaign, and the company has shipped every time. Its Tera 75 keyboard it crowdfunded last year, for example, is now available to purchase on its site. However, before you contribute to a campaign, read the policies of the crowdfunding site — in this case, Kickstarter — to find out your rights (and refund policies, or lack thereof) before and after a campaign ends.





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