Azio Izo wi-fi mechanical keyboard overview: shape over serve as
I will not overstate the energy of the reactions the Azio Izo keyboard were given when folks noticed it sitting on my table. Now not many mechanical keyboards in the market have giant quantity wheels connected to their body, and less nonetheless genre them in a gaudy reflective gold to pair them with a gold spacebar and get away key. Get past the gold, and also you’ll spot that the remainder of its keycaps have a type of rounded form that just about makes them appear to be little items of sweet.
Azio is not any stranger to daring keyboard designs like those. Prior to now, its maximum notable keyboards were from its Unfashionable Vintage line. Those actually try to emulate the glance of outdated typewriters with flat round keycaps and steel frames. The outcome, as considered one of my colleagues identified, is a keyboard that appears find it irresistible may sink a U-boat and handiest helps coding in COBOL.
I’m curious about a work of shopper tech that’s prepared to include an crowd pleasing design like this, however while you’re spending $129.99 on a keyboard, it has to do extra than simply generate giant reactions from everybody that sees it. After spending per week the usage of the Izo as my major paintings keyboard, my influence is its capability doesn’t fit as much as its design. It’s launching on Kickstarter nowadays along an identical mouse and calculator, and the plan is to ship to backers in August. The keyboard’s MSRP is $129.99, however Azio may be providing early chook reductions with its Kickstarter marketing campaign that carry the associated fee right down to $79.99 and $69.99. For this overview, I evaluated it at its complete retail value.
From the pictures on the most sensible of this text and during the web page, you most likely already know whether or not you just like the glance of the Izo. In addition to blue, the keyboard may be to be had in crimson and white. However whichever glance you select, you get rounded white keycaps and a blingy gold get away key, house bar, and quantity wheel.
I’m a large fan of quantity wheels like this, and the Izo’s is not any exception. It’s were given a pleasing tactile really feel, and it labored flawlessly irrespective of whether or not I used to be the usage of the keyboard in its stressed or wi-fi modes. Urgent the dial down additionally works to mute and unmute your pc, whilst retaining down the Fn key as you flip it’ll alter the backlighting brightness. The quantity wheel’s capability can’t be remapped, on the other hand.
The one downside with a quantity wheel like that is that it takes up house, and house is a unprecedented commodity on compact 75 percent-style forums like this, which disregard the numpad of bigger keyboards however nonetheless come with a serve as row. The extra compact choice of keys approach you need to be smarter about which you come with, and Azio has made a few ordinary selections relating to the Izo.
Probably the most egregious of those is that there’s no devoted print display screen key. As an alternative you get, of all issues, an Insert key, which is a key that during my just about 30 years on the planet I’ve handiest ever pressed by accident. Its print display screen button, in the meantime, is hidden at the back of a serve as key. For me, this one small omission dominated out the usage of the Izo keyboard for necessary paintings occasions the place I’ve to take widespread screenshots. And not using a integrated give a boost to for key remapping, it’s no longer one thing that may be simply mounted.
The keycaps themselves are slightly of an bought style. Building-wise they’re advantageous: a double-shot aggregate of hard-wearing PBT plastic and clear lettering to let the keyboard’s white LEDs shine via (there’s no RGB give a boost to right here). However their rounded design takes a bit bit of having used to. I discovered my hands slipping off the rounded edges of the keycaps a bit as I typed, as I ignored the sharper raised edges you get on extra conventional keycaps. I didn’t have any problems putting in third-party keycaps, however excellent success discovering some that fit the original glance of this keyboard. There’s no perspective adjustment at the Izo.
Whilst maximum keyboards are designed with Home windows in thoughts and Mac as an afterthought, the Izo is at first a Mac keyboard. Its backside row options Possibility and Command keys, and whilst it does have Home windows and Alt legends published along them, they’re smaller and don’t let the backlighting shine via. It could were great to look Azio come with substitute devoted Home windows keycaps like Keychron does. You’ll be able to transfer between Mac and PC layouts through hitting Fn + House. Azio is handiest generating this keyboard with a US (aka ANSI) structure for now, but it surely says it hopes to liberate further layouts within the coming months.
The Izo works as each a stressed and wi-fi keyboard, by the use of USB-C and Bluetooth respectively, and a gold transfer across the most sensible of the board toggles between them. If you happen to’re the usage of it in wi-fi mode, there’s the strategy to pair it with as much as 3 units (just like Keychron’s keyboards), and turn between them with a key shortcut. The preliminary pairing procedure is slightly fiddly and comes to you deciding on probably the most 3 profiles first earlier than striking the keyboard into pairing mode. Keychron’s procedure is extra seamless.
Azio claims the keyboard’s 5,000mAh battery will have to opt for a complete yr on a unmarried fee for those who’re the usage of it with its backlight grew to become off, shedding to 2 weeks of 8 hours of day by day use with it grew to become on (which, accept as true with me, you’re going to). It’s not easy to at once evaluate, however Azio’s two-week battery existence declare interprets to round 112 hours of use, which is a bit upper than the 68 and 72 hours the Keychron K2 claims with its lighting on, comprehensible given the larger battery in Azio’s board. I wasn’t ready to run the Izo keyboard’s battery right down to 0 all over my overview length, however after two days of wi-fi use, the integrated battery indicator reported I had 60 % of fee left.
Quibbles apart, the sensation of in fact typing at the Azio Izo is ok as long as you favor your switches clicky. The keyboard is handiest to be had with Gateron Blue switches, because of this lovers of tactile or linear switches are going to be out of success. That’s nice for lovers of clicky switches like me, however for those who aren’t, or if you’ll’t manage to pay for in your keyboard to be a bit cacophonous, then Azio isn’t fascinated with taking your cash. The Izo isn’t hot-swappable both, because of this converting its switches will handiest be conceivable with a soldering iron.
I’ll simply pop out and say it: I believe Azio’s Izo keyboard appears to be like nice. It’s were given the type of loud, crowd pleasing design that I want extra shopper tech would include. It gained’t be for everybody, however for those who’re into it, you’re into it.
However you’re going to have to position up with a bit bother if you wish to revel in this keyboard’s appears to be like. The important thing variety is ordinary, it’s to be had with a restricted vary of switches, and the keycaps are an bought style. The Izo may glance the section, but it surely struggles to behave it.
Pictures through Jon Porter / The Verge