Despite the mark on mechanical keyboards, not a lot of PC users have actually tried a classic mechanical typewriter, with round keys as well as the distinctive look, feel and sound. For those feeling nostalgic, Nanoxia this week introduced a keyboard with a retro look and round keys, which resembles the steampunk keyboards used by the Warehouse 13 characters in their office. One of the important things to mention is that this mechanical keyboard is also water resistant.

Despite its classic yet fancy look, the Nanoxia Ncore Retro is a modern keyboard based on the Kailh White switches (similar to Cherry Blue, with an operational force of 50 cN/peak actuation at 60 cN) and aimed at gamers. The keyboard is made of plastic but features chromium plating on each of the keys to give it a distinctive look. The Ncore Retro supports 15 multimedia keys accessed with the help of the FN key as well as typical features of keyboards designed for gamers, such as 6-key and N-key rollover, 1000 Hz polling rate, anti-ghosting and so on. The keyboard uses USB interconnection and is listed to be only compatible with Microsoft Windows. Each of the keys is rated to 70 million presses.

Nanoxia Ncore Retro General Specifcations
Number of Keys 104 105
Switch Kailh White
Multimedia Keys 15 (accessed with the FN key)
N-key Rollover Support Yes
Interface USB 1.1 with 1.8 m cable
Removable Keys Yes
Compatibility Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
Water Resistant Design Yes
Color Black
Color of Keys Black/Silver
Dimensions 465 × 150 × 69 mm
Weight 1300 grams
MSRP €109.99 (incl. 19% VAT)

One of the important features of the Nanoxia Ncore Retro, besides its extravagant look, is its water resistant design. The company did not mention whether the keyboard is IP-rated and thus is capable of withstanding water immersion, but Nanoxia did state that it can withstand a spill of a glass of water over it. In any case, water resistance also means easy and safe clearing.

The Nanoxia Ncore Retro is one of the first keyboards to use Kailh’s white switches to give users a different haptic feeling compared to other keyboards (and a little closer to that of actual typewriters). The Kailh White switches have an advertised tactile force of approximately 61 grams as well as a distinctive click. In addition, the manufacturer claims that its new switches have a life expectancy of 70 million hits per key because of the improved key shaft.

Comparison of Mechanical Keyboard Switches
  Kailh White AZ Linear AZ Tactile Razer Green Cherry MX
Actuation Point 1.9 mm 1.7 mm 1.7 mm 1.9 mm ± 0.4 mm 2 mm/2.2 mm ± 0.6 mm
Actuation vs Reset Point no data no data no data 0.4 mm no data
Total Travel 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm
Actuation Force 51 g 45 g 45 g 50 g 45-55 g
Actuation Feel tactile linear soft tactile soft tactile linear/tactile
Switch Lifecycle 70 million 60 million 60 million 60 million 50 million
Switch Color white olive mustard green red/brown/

Nanoxia will offer three versions of its Ncore Retro with a German (which means QWERTZ as well as some additional letters), a UK and a US layout. The keyboards will initially be available in retail stores in Europe for €109.99 (that's including 19% tax) this month. The company did not mention US availability, however we would expect it to do so in due course.

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Source: Nanoxia

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  • Holliday75 - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Looks pretty slick and comfy. I would love to try one, but probably won't buy it without seeing and trying first.
  • ddriver - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Nah, the left shift is too big for comfort :D
  • Paul Tarnowski - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Funny you should mention that. I was looking to build my own using the rounded key style, and ended up designing something that looks like this thing. Had the same problem with the left shift,as well.

    It also made me keenly aware of why round keys are not a thing. Each of those keys has much less surface area to interact with. Granted, that could mean less miss-types, but it could also mean more if you're missing your key entirely and hitting the next one over diagonally.
  • a50505 - Sunday, December 11, 2016 - link

    Dedicated to create something on your own; sounds like fun (though may more time and skill than I possess).
    Instead of the nanoxia shown above I'd be more inclined to buy something like this:
    If nothing else I like the shift key on the left; it looks suitably large.
  • MamiyaOtaru - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    that's obviously the same keyboard.. Made in the same place with a different name slapped on. I'm sure the US layout version of Nanoxia's has the same larger left shift key as the Azio version.

    Comes down to the choice of switch, and price
  • Morawka - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    no bumps on the J and F keys either
  • nathanddrews - Saturday, December 10, 2016 - link

    Can't wait for a US version, I'll be buying it ASAP.
  • a50505 - Sunday, December 11, 2016 - link

    Seems like this one has G & K bumps: 2nd picture @
  • DoctorWhoMetaCrysis - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    I'm still hung up on the reversed Y and Z.
  • Houdani - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Zoinks! That's some funky key arrangement. My first time seeing the German layout.

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