AZIO MGK L80 Layout and Features
All AZIO MGK L80 backlit Mechanical Keyboards share the same basic 104 key platform. As we stated with the L80 RGB edition last month, the smaller size is a good thing making for a compact and portable footprint. This is due to just how tightly the surface mounted keys are positioned as the keys are still full sized.
There is simply no wasted space around edges leaving a 147mm x 444mm x 35.5mm (5.8 x 17.5 x 1.4 inches) footprint without the wrist guard. This places it somewhere between a standard 101 size and a compact setup that would normally sacrifice the 10 keys.
A smaller footprint may lead you to think the keys are smaller or more crowded. They are tight but I found no issues with spacing under frantic gaming use. Placing all the functionality onboard does lead to some multi-tasking of the keys. There are some changes to the function keys from the L80 RGB edition. The first four function keys double as programmable Macro keys. The second set provide common Windows hot keys and the third are used for media control along with the print screen button. All are clearly labeled and quite intuitive to use.
The changes are to the multimedia area and the light control. Both still use of a large wheel for the dedicated on board volume control. This larger wheel is the primary reason for the new panel area over the 10 key and it is much easier to find by touch than the small roller found on the MGK1 series motherboards. The roller is tactile and can be pressed to mute. The extra space makes room for a game mode lock out and a macro button that triggers the onboard macro recording.
Gone is the macro button found on the RGB edition and in its place the Backlit Modes button. A total of 4 macros can be recorded and assigned to the first 4 function keys by pressing the Gaming mode button then the Macro Button you wish to use. Simply press it again when finished recording
The keys are raised off the top plate high enough to give the keys plenty of room for actuation and for the RGB lighting to provide a pleasing back light effect that is visible even under normal office lighting. If you look close you can see the LED lights set towards the top of the keys.
Back again is the magnetic wrist rest. The wrist rest attaches firmly to the bottom of the L80 adding an additional 36.5mm (2.5 inches) and features a slight texture for grip. The AZIO Elegantly Fierce slogan and A symbol look pretty awesome without getting gaudy. Using a magnet is clever and the rest is both functional and firm thanks to the rubber grips strategically located on the bottom side. This feature is really growing on me though I rarely take the rest off when not moving my PC.
Here is a closer look at those color coded back plates. They look pretty bright here but remember you will only see the framing bits normally. Each has four rubber feet to hold it in place. Two more are on the stands and they raise things about 1/2 inch. When using the wrist rest you will also have two much larger rubber feet to prevent movement.