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7 Best Retro Mechanical Keyboards (2020)
We live in these weird times of total nostalgia. We seem to reject current media and modern technology for that of the past like cassette tapes, VHS tapes, vinyl records, or just about anything from the 80s and 90s.
Surprisingly, the taste for ancient typewriters is emerging. At least, you can now be relieved that the clickety-clack sound produced by typewriters is coming into our keyboards.
The only difference is that you are connecting them to current technologies like tablets and computer monitors, which can display your writing instead of using a piece of paper.
Best Retro Mechanical Keyboards
In this guide, I will review the best retro mechanical keyboards. Later on, I will give our verdict on mechanical keyboards. So, let’s get started.
1. Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Retro Mechanical Keyboard
But you shouldn’t let that distract you because the new Qwerkywriter has several nice features that you wouldn’t find in many keyboards. It is an award-winning mechanical keyboard with patented design.
It has a newly wired USB mode with multi-device wireless connectivity.
This wireless typewriter-inspired keyboard features a cast metal macro-programmable return bar, all-metal build with a scratch-resistant aluminum chassis, round typewriter-inspired keycaps, German engineered Cherry MX Blue mechanical switches, an integrated tablet stand, dual scroll knob encoders, a wired USB mode with NKRO, and wireless Bluetooth connectivity that can accommodate up to three devices.
Another cool thing about the Qwerkywriter S is that it is compatible with popular devices. It can be used with iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android devices. On top of this, the S mechanical keyboard comes in four appealing colors: White, Pink, Mint, and Black.
Overall, the Qwerkywriter S is a best-in-class retro mechanical keyboard with patented design features that are exclusively available on Indiegogo. This model suits anyone who is fascinated by ancient technology.
If the current trend is anything to go by, you should get yourself this mechanical keyboard before going back to quill and ink on a sheet of paper.
- Cast metal macro programmable return bar
- All metal construction with new scratch-resistant aluminum alloy
- Integrated tablet stand
- Typewriter-inspired keycaps
- Wired USB and Bluetooth connectivity up to three devices
- German engineered mechanical switches for industry-leading tactile performance
- Dual scroll knob encoders that control volume and page scroll
2. Azio Retro Classic Bluetooth Mechanical Keyboard
As the names suggest, the Azio Retro Classic is modeled after the traditional typewriters with a mechanical hammer action. With wireless Bluetooth, you can run it on a wide variety of systems anywhere you need it.
It comes with custom-designed semi-transparent keycaps that are round and are spaced a few millimeters away from each other. They are tighter than old-timey keyboards.
You should keep in mind that the unit comes set up for a Windows device, so if you are planning to use it on a macOS, you will need some few minutes to set it up.
The task will involve pulling off the existing caps and replacing them. The good thing is that the package contains a bag of macOS related keys, along with a cleaning garment. Beneath the keyboard are four chunky rubber feet.
Besides having that ancient taste, the Retro Classic is sufficiently hefty that you may be tempted to use it as a self-defense tool against an armed burglar.
It is the kind of keyboard that a delight serious typist would admire. So, if you are looking for something lightweight and quiet, Azio Retro Classic is probably not for you.
- Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
- White LED lighting
- Built with Kailh keys
- 6-Key rollover
- Backlit mechanical keys with tactile feedback
3. Azio Retro Classic – USB Mechanical Keyboard
It can be a bit pricey, but its distinctive and elegant features justify the cost. The first thing that most people often notice is how solid the Azio Retro Classic keyboard is. It weighs in at about 3.5 pounds, thanks to its polished alloy frame.
The keys are backlit and are powered by LEDs centered under each key, which provide uniform light across the board. The keyboard is styled with white lettering on the circular keys. However, the lack of additional keys means that its function keys work double shifts in tandem with the Fn key.
In terms of compatibility, the wired Azio Retro Classic, just like its Bluetooth counterpart, is cross-compatible. Though its default settings for Windows systems, it includes Mac equivalents in the package. To switch to Mac, simply pop off each key and then change them out, and you have got a native Mac keyboard.
Generally, the Azio Retro Classic is quite appealing to the eye with some nice features. It might not have many advanced features as you might expect, but it comes with some new Kailh switches, which are unique. It also has a thick braided, 71-inch cord. Usually, braided cords are tougher than rubber-coated ones.
- Cross-compatibility for both Windows and Mac
- USB connectivity
- Sturdy build quality with chrome-plated body and keycaps
- Water and dust resistant
4. CHERRY MX Board Silent Retro Keyboard
As the name may suggest, this keyboard is designed to minimize noise from the keystrokes.
In terms of design, the Cherry MX Board Silent is simple as it gets, making it ideal for most office settings. The keys and keyboard surface are designed out of a lightly textured matte material.
The only adornments that this keyboard has are three small lights to help you know whether Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock have been activated.
The Cherry MX Silent keys, though not 100% silent, are generally quiet. You will still hear keys being pressed, but there is no click sound. Let’s just say the keyboard emits far less noise when compared to most mechanical keyboards.
The Cherry MX Board Silent aims to cut on the noise while offering comfy, responsive keys for quick and accurate typing. The only issue is that you will pay for the privilege.
Besides this, there are no media controls, either as keyboard shortcuts or discrete buttons, which appears to be a big missed opportunity.
- Precision key switches; Muted mechanical switches are quieter
- High-quality keyboard with laser-etched keycaps
- PC and Mac compatibility over USB connectivity
- Dust- and dirt resistant; Self-cleaning contact
5. Epomaker Ajazz AK510 Retro Mechanical Keyboard
Its keycaps are designed in granite gray and off-white with a hint of burnt orange. The stylish SA keycaps make it easier for fingers while the PBT covering offers a more delicate surface with a better touch feeling.
On top of this, the Ajazz AK510 is a professional keyboard. It has a built-in n-key rollover that supports fast typists. It also supports macro editing. The 90% PBT keycaps are designed through a dye sublimation process to ensure they can stay unfaded for a long lifespan.
Additionally, the lighting effect of the keyboard adopts a loop switching mode with a total of 14 light modes to switch. With Rainbow LEDs, your choice of color, and PBT shine through caps, you can customize your backlight modes.
Overall, it is an excellent full-sized keyboard with very high keys that offers a nice and clear stroke. If the size of the keyboard doesn’t scare you and you love the retro style, then Ajazz AK510 will be an excellent choice.
To personalize to your taste, you can adjust macros and change the backlight using the driver. You can also save presets or even switch between them.
- Multifunctional keyboard with 104 keys
- 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover on USB
- PBT dual-color injection
- Well-crafted SA spherical keycaps
- RGB backlight that can complement any desk setup
6. NACODEX AK510 Retro RGB Mechanical Keyboard
This gaming keyboard is fitted with German-made Cherry MX red switches that require less force to press. So, they are smoother and easier to use. Besides this, it is a 100% anti-ghosting keyboard with full-key flip function and accurate keystroke commands.
Just like the Ajazz AK510, the AK510 mechanical keyboard has 104 keys. The good thing about the keyboard is that it can achieve volume control and multimedia through FN + F1 – 6 combinations, not to mention Win key lock function, memory function, and micro editing capabilities.
Another nice feature of the NACODEX AK510 Retro keyboard is its wide compatibility. It supports various computer systems ranging from Windows to macOS. Also, the SA spherical PBT keycap has the highest height when compared with the original height of Cherry.
Given that the keycaps are designed from 90% high purity PBT material guarantees comfort and clear sound. Moreover, the double-injection process keycap produces clear characters.
- Cherry MX Red switches and 104 keys anti-ghosting
- Programmable macro function
- Durable and comfortable keycaps
- Cross compatibility
- SA spherical keycap with the highest height
7. Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard
Hyperkin is better known for its affordable gaming accessories and retro emulation consoles. Nonetheless, it designs appealing mechanical keyboards. Its Hyper Clack Tactile mechanical keyboard is perfect for retro gaming PCs.
The clicky feeling of the switches in this mechanical keyboard is very pleasing. Beneath the purple keycaps are Gaote Blue mechanical switches that provide a tactile click that is almost similar to the more popular Cherry MX Blue switches.
It features a pleasing combination of purple, black, gray, and lilac keycaps supported by an off-white plastic base. The LED lighting illuminates a striking purple stripe along the front section of the keyboard. Its function keys also work as media control keys. Unfortunately, the keyboard offers no customization software to bake extra functionality into it.
Generally, the Hyper Clack is a pretty standard keyboard with a distinctive look. It might not be the coolest mechanical keyboard on the market, but it will appeal mostly to old school gamers, specifically fans of the Super Nintendo. The good thing is that it is more affordable than most of the mechanical keyboards on this list.
- Iconic retro-style color match
- Clicky Gaote Blue Outemu tactile switches
- 6ft USB braided cable
- Customizable with Cherry MX-compatible keycaps
- Connects to PC through USB
Are Mechanical Keyboards Better?
When it comes to product development in the tech scene, most devices have become sleeker and conveys a sense of the future. But some companies have introduced gadgets, such as mechanical keyboards, with nostalgic designs that borrow from the past instead of the future.
The popularity of mechanical keyboards keeps rising every day. Their reintroduction into the mainstream nearly a decade ago was met with slow growth, mainly due to low availability and high cost.
But slowly more device manufacturers are new mechanical keyboards with unique features or at a lower price. That is why there are dozens upon dozens of these keyboards nowadays.
Membrane keyboards have won over the general users with their passable functionality and low prices. However, average typists and hardcore gamers are better off with mechanical keyboards.
Sure, there are some decent membrane keyboards, but, aside from price, there is no compelling reason to purchase them.
A good mechanical keyboard can last for years. While adding an extra $50 to get a quality keyboard might look like a lot of money upfront, it is not much when you consider the length of time it will serve you.
Some mechanical keyboards can last up to 50 million clicks per key. Most membrane keyboards tend to top out about 10 million.
Even if you are not a typist of a heavy gamer, having a mechanical keyboard is usually considered being prestigious.
Choosing a mechanical over a membrane keyboard is like choosing a Volvo instead of a Yugo. For some people, the louder the keys, the more enthralled they are.
While clicks and luxurious price tags aren’t for everyone, you will fall in love with nostalgic mechanical keyboards. They balance between modern tech and vintage good looks.
Finding a value proposition for luxury items can be challenging, but the features and performance of the above keyboards speak for themselves. You won’t go wrong with any of them.
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