AZIO Launches Its New Mechanical Cascade Keyboard On Kickstarter
The AZIO Cascade Slim is not only beautiful, it’s also compact and feels so good to type on. PHOEBE
Computer keyboards hold a strange fascination for me. I type millions of words each year and each of those words is produced using a keyboard. A comfortable keyboard that’s robust enough to last a good while and as well designed to facilitate more accurate typing is vital, especially for someone who types so quickly.
Lately, I’ve been trying out several mechanical keyboards to see if they are any better than the more usual and more affordable membrane keyboards that are shipped with many desktop computers. Mechanical keyboards are more tactile because they use mechanical switches which can be swapped out for different grades of switch offering varying levels of resistance and travel distances. The switches also have clicking sounds that can range from near-silent to a deafening clack that has all the charm of a Gatling gun.
This month I’ve been testing the brand-new Cascade mechanical keyboard from AZIO. This is an 84-key device with a 75% layout. It’s mechanical and has a sleek and modern look. It’s being launched on Kickstarter today. The Cascade enables users to customize its feel and its aesthetics. With its trapezoidal profile, the Cascade has a compact layout that takes up less desk space that a full-size keyboard; and yet it still manages to retain all the essential function keys needed by both Windows and macOS users.
The typing experience of this keyboard can be customized suing hot-swappable switches, and interchangeable top plates, as well as a range of different-colored keycap options. AZIO says there will be more customizable options coming soon so the user can create a keyboard that’s as unique as they are.
The Cascade can be ordered with different switch types fitted, depending on whether the user wants a soft, medium or hard typing experience. The default switch fitted is the Gateron G Pro Brown switch which is normally quite loud. However, thanks to some silicone and foam dampers, the sound of the keyboard is lessened along with vibrations and rattles. All the switches can be swapped out with any MX-style switch, while the Cascade Slim model is compatible with Gateron’s low-profile switches.
The Bluetooth connectivity of the Cascade can handle up three devices at once. It’s possible to switch between each device simply by pressing a key. The multiple connections are ideal for anyone who uses a desktop, laptop and tablet on their desk and needs to switch frequently between them. As well as the wireless connections, the keyboard can also connect using the supplied USB-C cable.
Like any good keyboard, the Cascade has LED backlights on all the keys and there are four lighting modes: static, breathing, wave and reactive. The light level of the LEDs can be adjusted to suit the ambiance of the room, or they can be turned off completely to save battery. The internal lithium-ion battery on the standard Cascade can last for weeks between charges with the backlights disabled. With the LEDs turned on the battery should be good for a week’s worth of average use. The Cascade Slim has a battery with half the capacity of the standard model so it will need recharging more frequently.
Aluminum plates under the keys are also interchangeable so that the user can customize the look of the keyboard with more color options which are due soon. I tested the Cascade Slim which comes with a choice of Space Grey aluminum surround and Forest Dark keycaps. Alternatively, there’s an option to have the keyboard with a Bronze plate and Forest Light keycaps.
Extra sets of keycaps can be ordered from AZIO at a cost of $3o per set. This is great news should the 115 double-shot PBT keycaps ever get a bit shiny after a lot of use, it’s possible to simply fit a new set and return the keyboard to pristine condition. Mechanical switches will operate for millions of keypresses and because the switches can be replaced, this keyboard should carry on working for years.
The Cascade includes a toggle that can switch between macOS to Windows layouts and the keycaps can be swapped to suit the operating system. The keyboard even comes with a special tool for changing the keycaps and installing new key switches. AZIO really has thought of everything.
Verdict: Typing of the AZIO Cascade is pure joy. There are two adjustable legs underneath the keyboard to set it at a rake of up to 9 degrees. The spacing of the keys is perfect for me and, as a touch typist, I found my accuracy was very high when using the Cascade Slim and experienced fewer typos. The sound and feel of the keys is satisfying and is beautifully dampened. It feels like a high-quality product. The AZIO Cascade Slim is probably the most comfortable mechanical keyboard I’ve used so far and I much prefer its slim profile compared with the regular mechanical keyboards. The Cascade is available in a non-slim version with the traditional height keycaps. Highly Recommended.
Pricing & Availability: The AZIO Cascade mechanical keyboard goes live on Kickstarter from today and is priced at $109 / £80.19 / €95.78.
Source : forbes
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