on August 27, 2012
I purchased this keyboard to replace my Logitech G15. Searching around I couldn't find any place nearby that had mechanical keyboards to test the feel of the different switches so I was left to blindly choose which one I thought would work the best for me. I went with the black instead of the reds to try to alleviate any accidental key presses. The blacks are very stiff. About as stiff as a normal membrane keyboard - which isn't really a bad thing. My first impressions of the keyboard were very positive. It looked nice, had a nice weight to it, the large rubber feet with multiple adjustments were great, you could customize the setup between the DPad and the num pad, overall it was an impressive keyboard.
Being able to adjust the location of the DPad for macro keys is a great idea. However, this removes the ability to use the function keys at the top of the keyboard. Most games don't use these, but things like Alt+F4 has it's use in certain situations. Being up so high I didn't find these to be in a great location. I stuck to using the macro keys to the left of the keyboard.
One thing I noticed quickly was the sharpness of the corners on the keys. When gaming I press the space bar with the side of my thumb. My old G15 had an oversized space bar so I simply just pressed down on the middle of the key. The Mech5 has a normal sized space bar. This resulted in me pressing down on the corner of the key. After a short while of gaming my thumb became sore and irritated. It was a simple adjustment to move my thumb a bit higher on the keyboard, but it was an unnatural adjustment.
Another thing I noticed was the markings on the keys were not consistent. The left shift in particular was very light - as if it had been used for a long time. How I place my finger on the shift key I don't press down on the lettering so it was definitely not from use.
I knew going into it that the Mech5 didn't have any backlighting and I was okay with that. Until I actually used it in dim lighting. I can type upwards of 80 words a minute and have no problems finding even the rarest of symbols, but it was natural just to glance down at the keyboard from time to time for whatever reason. The lack of backlighting isn't a huge deal but they included a bit of it on the macro keys with a really nice red - why not just use this throughout the rest of the keyboard? This also would have alleviated my above complaint about the cheap marking on the key caps themselves if they chose to have backlit keys.
After a few weeks of use I was still happy with the keyboard, but wasn't blown away like I was hoping to be. The sound and feel of the mechanical keys were great. Gaming on it felt more natural than a traditional keyboard as keystrokes could be performed faster. But again, with the Cherry MX Black switches being so stiff it didn't feel like a vast improvement. I ended up purchasing a Corsair K90 in order to see how big of a difference there was between the blacks and the Cherry MX reds. I have to say, I easily prefer the reds. The blacks are nice, but don't have too different of a feel of a traditional keyboard except that they are linear and travel downwards very smoothly instead of the uneven resistance of typical rubber membranes. The reds are very sensitive, but not to the point where you can't touch the other keys without them being activated.
I ended up returning the Azio Mech5 and keeping the Corsair K90. The K90 for the same price had a few added features like multimedia keys and a mute button. The large dial of the Azio was nice, but with the lack of a mute button it took several full rotations to quiet the noise. The K90 is an absolutely beautiful keyboard with the aluminum and tons of backlighting. The Azio is a striking keyboard as well with its massive frame and aggressive styling. The two are very different from every aspect and it ultimately comes down to a matter of taste. I was happy with the Azio Mech5 but for the same price the Corsair K90 is a slightly better product.
I would recommend the Azio Mech5 to anyone if they prefer black switches over reds. If the reds are too sensitive for you and you love blacks, the Azio is a great choice. Just know that it has a few shortcomings. If it would have had backlighting and better keycaps and a mute button I probably would have stuck with it. Many of the mechanical keyboards don't have any multimedia keys or volume dials and many don't have macro functionality so the Azio definitely has it's place. Unfortunately, it just wasn't for me. I really liked the keyboard, but I didn't $100 like it.
on July 26, 2012
This keyboard feel's very sturdy and strong. It really does remind me of the older, more indestructible keyboards.
Overall, I would rate this product a 4.5/5
Some of the really nice perks of this keyboard:
- The keys are very strong
- The volume knob appears to be more accurate than the Mech4 (it takes less turning to adjust the volume)
- You can detach the num pad and macro pad and use them individually
- There is a quick way to disable the windows keys
- It is nice and heavy, don't have to worry about it moving around
- You can customize every key on the keyboard using the software that comes with it
- The "\" and "|" key is above the enter key (and not beside the backspace key like the Mech4)
- The "Enter" key is in a normal position
Some of the shortcomings of this keyboard:
- Clackity-Clackity-Clack (It is very noisy)
- Nothing else that I can think of!
I would highly recommend this keyboard for both gamers and power users alike.
It is a GREAT keyboard!
on September 5, 2015
solid keyboard feels great to type on and game on(I write extensive scripts and game for long periods of time)
$124 is a little high since I got mine for sale over on newegg for around $70
on July 17, 2013
After doing a lot of research last year about buying my first mechanical keyboard, I finally decided to go with the Azio Mech5 due to the macro-keys and the adjustable volume. Having detachable parts was also very appealing.
The keyboard is still in fantastic condition despite heavy every day use for gaming, article/review writing and general use. Due to size constrictions, I've had to remove the keypad a number of times dealing with space constraints, and having it to the side attached via a cable is very convenient but may not apply to everyone.
The macro keys don't get much use but that's only because my mouse has 12+ programmable buttons on it. The Azio mapping program is not CPU intensive and doesn't slow down your computer. Very much unlike some other PC peripheral programs that I've used.
One thing you might have to be weary of (and the reason I'm giving this keyboard a 4 instead of 5) is it sometimes double presses. It mainly happens with my main enter key and I don't believe it is a common issue, but when I'm typing often times it will repeat my last line of text twice. For example, typing "gg" in a game's chat, it will actually type out and enter "gg" twice on two separate lines. Like I said though, it's probably not a common issue and it doesn't happen enough to actually make it a significant issue. That being said, it is still a flaw that could throw you off.
on October 27, 2013
This is a fine keyboard. I'm not using the little six button thing on the tactical rail thing and I've also got the numpad detached and thrown in a drawer.
They height of the keyboard is something to get used to. I'm coming from a Logitech G11 and Microsoft Natural Multimedia background for reference.
The keys are solid and, yes, rather loud. If you were alive and typing in the 1980s on a massive metal keyboard, this has that feel.
There's nothing I can say that other's haven't. But even if you aren't a gamer, I'd recommend this to those who do typing for a living. My wife who used to do medical transcription, though using a MS Natural (we've got three in the house) said that she'd definitely want to use something like this. (Also, users of non-standard keyboards like the Natural can't pass a typing test due to lack of muscle memory for the conventional keyboards, so even more incentive to get a quality keyboard for the professional typing crowd.)
If I didn't already have one, I'd buy one again. I won't be picking one up for work as it is too loud for an office environment.
That last sentence might have actually been the most significant addition to the reviews here. Wonderful, but loud.
on September 22, 2014
Well worth it. Software is easy to use and WORKS. Cherry Blacks. nuff said. Bolt on macro keypad is pretty sweet. Flips out of the way to allow access to the f keys. No issue with the number pad like some people were saying. Just make sure it is attached all the way.
Only con: Wish i would have found a blue. miss the tactile bump. But thats what you get with a cherry black. So no ding on this board.
You still reading? Buy the darn thing. you wont be sorry. Blows others out of the competition. Have tried ducky, logitech, and a few others. this one wins in software use (hard ware is a tie).
on November 28, 2013
One of the beat keyboards I have ever used for gaming. Wow, GW2, SWtoR all work great. I removed the 10 key from the keyboard so it sets closer to the top of my mouse, and placed the D-Pad over the escape key to make everything easer to reach. The 10 key I plugged directly to a open USB port on the back of my computer via a USB extendor and have the D-Pad and a small mic attached to the two on board USB ports.
I have used this for some hard core gaming in the past year, and it has held up better then every other keyboard by far.
As for regular keyboard typing this keyboard rocks as well. My wife wants to get one for her computer, just for typing in MS Word. Only reason I have not gotten her one is because I don't want to lower my cool factor for my rigs. I will be buying a backup and hiding it because with the quality, they might not sell these by the time mine wears out.
on January 6, 2013
This particular keyboard functions as advertised in the box description, and I can appreciate how the manufacturer points out a few obscure, slightly unintuitive dos and don'ts in the manual, but more on that later.
I'll start with the (relatively) bad, and then move on to the good.
Firstly, the modular design necessitates that the 'main' keyboard component is rather cramped, and given the placement of the 'A/B' function keys on the left side, it's easy to accidentally hit a key adjacent to the one you meant to hit as your hands adjust to being closer together than they would be with a more spacious, non-modular keyboard. This problem works itself out in time, though, so it's not too big a deal if typing isn't your livelihood.
Next is the absence of any backlighting for the keys, which is something I kinda got used to with my previous keyboard (Saitek Cyborg, first revision). I can understand the impracticality of adding backlighting to mechanical keys, but it would have been nice if Azio had added a lamp or something to be used on the top 'rail' that holds the 'D-function' pad.
Lastly, I'm a little disappointed in the lack of any microphone and/or headphone jacks housed right next to the two USB ports by the volume knob (one of which is already going to be occupied by the D-function pad, should you choose to use it).
Two words: Limitless customisability. At least as far as tagging macros to keys is concerned. This makes up for the lack of any dedicated media player or web browser command keys, since you can use the profile software to set those functions to either the A/B function keys, the D-function pad, or any of the standard keys. It's great for gaming, whether it be an old DOSBox game (DOSBox has an internal keymapper that can be used to tag joystick macros to keys, but it's a little daunting for users not familiar with editing .ini files and the like), or even MMO's (you can type in your own TeamChat lines for instant entry with the press of a button). It's also good for productivity programs like word processors (Tired of pressing ALT+#### just to make an umlaut? Tag it to a macro!).
Next let's talk about construction. Classic, sturdy-feeling, matte-finished plastic. No cheap, hollow plastics with gaudy gloss finishes here. The moment you press down on the first key you type with, you know you're using something well-built that's going to last. Add cloth-covered USB cords with gold-plated connectors, and you've got a winner.
I mentioned at the beginning how the manual points out some stuff that not many people think about. One of these is how you should only connect 'low-powered' USB devices, such as mice, gamepads, etc., to the onboard USB ports. This will save you a call to tech support when you can't get your webcam or external hard disk to work. You can't use the ports to charge a phone or use a USB headset with super-mega-high-fidelity, 24-channel uber-surround sound.
Bottom line: The money you spend on this is spent more on function than form. It's not got all the latest stuff like built-in LCD screen or whatever, but it's built to last, so you won't be spending a lot to replace it anytime soon. Provided, of course, that 'anytime soon' doesn't herald the introduction of a new HID standard.
on October 20, 2015
Good keyboard if you got it on sale. It's mx blacks, so dont buy this if you're just looking for typing quality. This is for a heavy handed gamer looking for control in their actions.
- FULL mx cherry black keyset (minus the stupid macro thing)
- 5 additional EASY to program macro keys
- removable 10 key pad, that you can completely program to be a gaming pad
- the software is VERY VERY VERY easy to use, very intuitive.
- It legitimately has a 1/4" steel plate the switches are mounted to! My corsair k70 is pcb mounted and then attached to the very thin aluminum frame. Not a huge deal, but for durability and stiffness, its quite nice.
- Double usb pass through
- Volume wheel very convenient and easy to use
- the calculator button is actually QUITE awesome
- azio customer service is very nice
- braided cable has been very durable for me.
- you can change which side your ten keys are on! I love mine on the left, which no other keyboard has!
- comes with legitimate rubber keycaps, which are extremely nice for FPS gaming.... but
- those rubber key caps are under sized just a bit, so they really really really suck for typing, as they sit below the normal level of the other keys.
- overpriced when not on sale (I bought mine for 79.99$, do not spend more than 100$ for this keyboard! There are other options at that point)
- the styling is horrendous. You may enjoy it, and I... "dont mind it" but its certainly not winning any style awards.
- the space bar cuts like a knife. I seriously had to take a razor blade and smooth the corner over when I got it.
- the space bar uses a bar support, which is pretty flimsy unfortunately (not obtrusive, just not as good as the mx switch support that corsair and the likes use)
- the macro pad is a good idea poorly implemented. It looks, feels, and reacts like a 5$ logitech keyboard from 1998 you found at goodwill. Waste of time and effort into that when they could have simply made another row of macro keys very easily
- its not back lit unfortunately. Not a deal breaker at 80$, but for 120+, its absolutely a deal breaker.
- I love built in wrist rests, but I know thats not for everyone.
- EXTREMELY difficult to take apart (not a huge deal for most people).
- I dont like putting this as a con, but I know some ignorant fools will read this and say otherwise... it has mx blacks. These are NOT for everyone. They take a good amount of effort to press, and they WILL tire your hands out. You also WILL get used to them fairly quickly, and when you swap to another, lighter keyboard, your WPM will be off the charts lol. Make sure you know what you are buying though.
Ive owned mine since november 2013 (black friday sale, first mech keyboard). It's been taken apart and beaten to death during these past 3 years (wow), and frankly its still going strong as new. I've spilled many a drink on it, and the design is laid out so liquid drains out of the keyboard without damaging components. My k70 has had a spill too, and when it happens , it shorts out and I cant use it for a couple days (VERY ANNOYING). The k70 is the "better board", but the durability of the mech 5 is really good.
Lets get something straight. This uses GERMAN MX SWITCH KEYS on a 1/4" metal plate. If you have a problem with "Sticky keys", you need to not smoke/eat/drink/slob on your keyboard. If the switches die, you need to contact azio and get them replaced. My "C" key broke (stem broke), and azio fixed it and returned it in 2 weeks for free (I didnt pay for shipping). 2 weeks may seem excessive, but it also wasnt under warranty!
Keyboards I own or owned and returned for comparison
- Corsair K70 reds (still own)
- Razer Black widow chroma razer greens(returned after just over 2 weeks due to faulty ghosting issues and phantom key presses [software issue? I didnt care enough to find out, it didnt impress me)
- Roccat MK Pro mx black (still own)
- Levetron mech 5 mx black (still own)
- Steel Series Apex QS1 switch (returned, absolutely horrendous key layout)
- TT Esports Poseidon Z "blues" (returned, the leds didnt work very well, and the typing feel was incredibly inconsistent. Ok for the price, but not what I was after is all)
on August 19, 2013
If you're a PC gamer, this keyboard is definitely for you. There are special red keys provided, and you can replace your "W, A, S, and D" with the red key covers. There is also an additional plug in set of six keys that you can program for specific actions in your game. He's very pleased with the keyboard...so much so that he got me one, too!