Last year keyboard maker Azio introduced the Retro Classic, a full-size luxury keyboard sporting typewriter-style keys and a real leather finish. Now the company is back with the R.C.K., a streamlined mechanical keyboard with a compact layout and Bluetooth support. There’s even a genuine walnut version.
I loved the look and feel of the Retro Classic, but my current working conditions don’t include the desktop space necessary to support a full-size keyboard, number pad and all. My current workspace is a keyboard tray mounted to a table built to slide over a hospital bed. The R.C.K. fits quite nicely.
Here is last year’s model, the Retro Classic:
And here’s this year’s R.C.K.:
They’ve gotten rid of the number pad and squeezed the arrow and some of the function keys in on the right side. If not for the row of function keys along the top, the R.C.K. would almost be sporting a 60 percent layout.
But it needs that space for the functions and its fancy nameplate, bolted onto the Walnut top plate of the “Elwood” version of the keyboard I procured from Azio.
The wood is just my preference, mind you. The R.C.K. is currently up for preorder via Indiegogo in four different models—Gunmetal Black, Artisan Copper, Posh White and Walnut Elwood. All four models feature a sturdy aluminium frame, swappable feet to allow users to adjust typing height, clicky blue mechanical switches and in-key backlighting.
Each version also comes with a matching palm rest, and Azio has created a leather-clad, wireless Retro Classic Mouse as well as a leather mousepad to complete the collection. Unfortunately there is no wooden mouse—my keyboard was paired with a standard black number.
But the Elwood does come with a matching walnut wrist rest, which is absolutely lovely.
It’s a fancy keyboard for fancy people who like to stand out. Those retro keycaps will never feel as nice as a solid set of PBT plastic caps, and its particular mechanical design means there’s no swapping them out. That said, no one is going to spend $150 on an R.C.K. if the retro look isn’t exactly what they want.
If the R.C.K. is what you’re looking for—a compact keyboard with wireless functionality, relative portability and that retro flair—I’d say it’s an excellent buy. Certainly beats spending $1,600 on the Seafarer.
The R.C.K. is currently available for preorder via Indiegogo for shipping in December.