The Azio/Kailh Typelit Switch

The center-LED “Typelit” switch is the technological highlight of the Retro Classic. The placement of the LED at the center of the switch allowed for the positioning of the characters at the exact center of the keycaps. With the round keycaps that the keyboard is using, backlighting would be very awkward without such a switch.

It is obvious that the design of these switches was inspired from Omron’s Romer-G switch, a product that Logitech has been using for many of their high-end gaming keyboards. We are unsure how Kailh circumvented Omron’s patent on the design but that is not up to us to scrutinize. The switch seems to be a hybrid between the Cherry MX and Omron Romer-G, using the core Cherry MX design for the housing and actuation but having a reformed stem for the LED to be placed at the center of it.

Azio needed a switch to emulate the behavior of old mechanical typewriters and an audible tactile switch is the obvious choice here. We feel that the Kailh “Typelit” switch is a good, yet not perfect match. It is a stiff, tactile switch, feeling much like a stiffer version of the Cherry MX Blue switch. The tactile feedback is clearly audible but not as loud as that of common Cherry MX Blue switches (and their copies). What we did not like is the shortened travel distance that makes the switches less comfortable. It also makes the experience less authentic, as the old mechanical typewriters it is trying to emulate had three to five times the travel distance (i.e. 12 to 20 mm, depending on the type and model) of a typical mechanical keyboard, not less.

The performance of the switch is very close to what Azio has posted in their website, with the minor exception being that our tests indicated the switches actuating quite a bit before their specified average actuation point. In all our tests, the switch would actuate at 1.3-1.4 mm down the travel distance. Azio/Kailh states that the actuation distance is 1.6 ± 0.5 mm, so that is technically within the switch’s specifications, but not very satisfactory. The manufacturer’s rating itself is the problem here, because the X ± 0.5 mm range actually covers nearly 28% of the whole travel distance. Stating that the switch would actuate “about halfway to the bottom” is just as accurate as that.

The Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard Per-Key Quality Testing & Hands-On
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  • Glock24 - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    Yeah, at least in the photos it looks like a $5 cheap no-name Chinese product.
    Even if the form parts were actual gold, I would not pay $200 for that, as it'll still be ugly and tacky.
  • mooninite - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    $200? LOL! They are trying to hard to justify the high markup with low-cost items like a stupid badge and fancy paper materials that you would just throw away after opening the package.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    "The flat layout of the keyboard makes it very difficult to press the bottom row keys with your palm, creating a major issue for all FPS and action RPG gamers."

    How do you hold your hand to do this? Admittedly I have rather large hands, but to touch the space row with the top of my palm while having my fingertips on the home row requires bending my last 2 joints of each finger to the point that I'd be typing with my fingernails. Trying to do the same with the bottom of my palm doesn't require as tight a bend but all positions I tried felt unnatural enough I'd expect them to become painful if kept for any length of time.
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Hah! I totally suspected you of having big hands! It's great to get confirmation and justification to have a victory Diet Coke.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Is AT going to be the last to report on intel's new huge bug?

    Taking all bets!
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Do you want your data now or do you want your data correct?
  • ddriver - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    It is not like pouring concrete, updates can be made as the story develops.

    Alas, the reason why AT is not reporting is not because it is "building up correctness" but because they are infusing pro-intel bias, various was to downplay the severity of the issue and whatnot.

    Intel shill dollars are already at play all over the internet. They even tried to sneak in a linux patch that unnecessarily hampers amd performance, even though amd chips are unaffected.

    Good old intel, as corrupt as ever. And when it pays, AT dances.
  • linuxgeex - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    AT hasn't had a habit of posting deep dives on zero-day exploits, because it takes time to write a meaningful article. We come here for meaningful articles, not rumours.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Oh wow, so now it is a rumor, is it? LOL

    AT has been posting pipeline stories about trivial nonsense with zero relevance nobody cares about, just because someone paid them for the promo.

    A bug that compromises kernel space memory and therefore security, that affects 2/3 of all x86 cpus sold the last several years, and whose fix comes with a hefty performance penalty - that's not worth mentioning. Lets hold off and give AT time to write a damage control article, that will involve a bunch of stuff the author copy-pasted with zero actual knowledge or even remote competence on the matter, just to buy some credibility to the conclusion, which will somehow twist it into a "it's no big deal".

    I will tell you why you come here - to play pretend you are smarter than you are :) You come to cheer at mediocrity, rampaging consumerism and bias toward rich corporations, believe that makes you intelligent and progressive.
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    You're only further proving the point: big stories require adequate preparation and research while trivial fluff stories do not. If this is truly a massive problem, then the wait will be worthwhile. Do us all a favor, keep yourself safe and turn off your computer until the problem goes away. Someone will mail you a letter when it's safe to come back online.

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