Author Topic: Unicomp keyboards are underrated  (Read 4782 times)

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Offline VimLover

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Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« on: Fri, 15 December 2023, 08:50:55 »
I always find it surprising how few people talk about Unicomp. They make made in America keyboards with buckling springs for an incredible price. I have an original Model F and a modelfkeyboards.com reproduction, and I have found little difference between the tactile feedback between the three. I've also found it astonishing how expensive custom boards have become, with people putting in switches that feel far less substantial in keyboards that cost 4-10x the price of a Unicomp. I can definitely appreciate that form over function is not necessarily a bad thing, but for the price of the board, people can get such an amazing typing experience for the price of an accessory or backplate for another board.

Offline Rhienfo

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 15 December 2023, 09:32:00 »
What I really like about unicomp stuff is that they are a really easy way to get a nice feeling buckling spring board, which is really cool. It also is a great way to get replacement keycaps which is nice (they also have unix and apl style ones which are cool to see as well)

I agree that unicomp (and buckling springs in general) aren't as talked about than something like mx, which is a shame because BS is really nice. But I do understand it why though, in the hobby now pretty much everything revolves around mx because it was the dominant force in the mk space, which means there a lot more options in terms of different feels and ways to customise the feel of what you want, while also offering pretty much all of the customizability in the hobby.

Custom keyboards are really different though, it is mostly form over function but customs can offer great typing experiences, especially well designed ones. While mx is limiting and other switch mechanisms can be better for a lot of people (I prefer BS over pretty much all mx clickies for example) if modded right they can still feel great, stuff like blacks and browns broken in, lubed and spring swapped are feel great to type on.

It is up to the person whether they can justify spending a lot of money on a keyboard though, I can totally understand why someone wouldn't and honestly for most people, a keychron/hhkb/unicomp is the only thing they need and probably should get.

Offline mohawk1367

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 18 December 2023, 06:47:53 »
I always find it surprising how few people talk about Unicomp. They make made in America keyboards with buckling springs for an incredible price. I have an original Model F and a modelfkeyboards.com reproduction, and I have found little difference between the tactile feedback between the three. I've also found it astonishing how expensive custom boards have become, with people putting in switches that feel far less substantial in keyboards that cost 4-10x the price of a Unicomp. I can definitely appreciate that form over function is not necessarily a bad thing, but for the price of the board, people can get such an amazing typing experience for the price of an accessory or backplate for another board.

your ellipse board doesnt feel different than the unicomp one? i find that hard to believe because i love my unicomp but i hate my F62 repro lol
someone needs to make an aussie keyboard community called QMƎɹ┴⅄. get it? haha :D

Offline TWX

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 04 February 2024, 18:44:50 »
I had gotten interested back when they announced the new tenkeyless model and actually tried to order one.  But this was thwarted by their manufacturing/supply problems.

Ultimately I probably won't order one, coworkers were already unhappy listening to me pound away on my M13 but were too polite to actually say anything.

If the legacy of IBM buckling spring keyboards can't be used in cubicle farms then that limits how far they can go.  And even work from home is an issue if one's spouse also works from home.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 06 February 2024, 08:06:11 »

already unhappy listening


The floss mod will provide some slight relief.
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Offline TWX

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 06 February 2024, 13:25:56 »

already unhappy listening


The floss mod will provide some slight relief.


yeah, already did that and everything.  Still wasn't enough in the cube farm unfortunately.

I did get some rather strange looks as I was prying my keyboard apart at my desk and cutting lengths of that superfloss to put into the springs.
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Offline ClaireAbitbol

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 12 February 2024, 16:40:58 »
I was considering getting a Unicomp for a while (still might), but the truth is it just doesn't have the versatility and customisability of MX boards, I wanted to get a Mini M in the old beige and grey color scheme but it seems you're limited to only a rather ugly light grey caps on a black case color scheme.
Also from what I've heard they have some quality issues, from when I was looking into them they seem to have fixed some but more recent reviews seemed to also have some issues with the build quality, I can't speak on that with certainty but that's definitely one thing that makes me hesitant.
Also the fact that you're limited to full size, TKL or battleship is another drawback, though if they come out with an unsaver model it'd be hard for me to resist.

Offline Rhienfo

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 12 February 2024, 16:59:15 »
I was considering getting a Unicomp for a while (still might), but the truth is it just doesn't have the versatility and customisability of MX boards, I wanted to get a Mini M in the old beige and grey color scheme but it seems you're limited to only a rather ugly light grey caps on a black case color scheme.
Also from what I've heard they have some quality issues, from when I was looking into them they seem to have fixed some but more recent reviews seemed to also have some issues with the build quality, I can't speak on that with certainty but that's definitely one thing that makes me hesitant.
Also the fact that you're limited to full size, TKL or battleship is another drawback, though if they come out with an unsaver model it'd be hard for me to resist.

Yeah that is one of the only issues with buckling spring boards, there is little customisability. There are different caps on unicomps website where you can get blanks with different coloured mods, rgb mods for layout compat (there is also of compatibility like supers as well) and also full keysets with apl sublegends.

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 12 February 2024, 18:31:49 »

there is little customisability.


Yet there are deeper things you can do. Model Ms use the same boards for ANSI enter, ISO enter, and BAE with accomanying changes to surrounding keys. You can split various keys such as getting extras out of Shifts, breaking numpad Enter and + into 2 parts each, etc, if you are willing to crack it open and bolt-mod it to put it back together.
"It's 110, but it doesn't feel it to me, right. If anybody goes down. Everybody was so worried yesterday about you and they never mentioned me. I'm up here sweating like a dog. They don’t think about me. This is hard work.
Do you feel the breeze? I don't want anybody going on me. We need every voter. I don't care about you. I just want your vote. I don't care."
- Donald Trump - Las Vegas 2024-06-09

Offline ClaireAbitbol

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 13 February 2024, 06:17:52 »
Yet there are deeper things you can do. Model Ms use the same boards for ANSI enter, ISO enter, and BAE with accomanying changes to surrounding keys. You can split various keys such as getting extras out of Shifts, breaking numpad Enter and + into 2 parts each, etc, if you are willing to crack it open and bolt-mod it to put it back together.
Yeah you can change some stuff about it but it's definitely not close to MX style keyboards, can't really swap the switches or find hundreds of different keycap options, and you're out of luck if you want a more comfortable layout.

Offline Touch_It

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 13 February 2024, 08:34:14 »
I share a large office with 4 people.  I went from a topre clone to my Unicomp.  Said sorry, not sorry about the noise.  Buckling spring is so much fun.


Visit the Typing Test and try!

Offline mohawk1367

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 14 February 2024, 06:41:06 »
I was considering getting a Unicomp for a while (still might), but the truth is it just doesn't have the versatility and customisability of MX boards, I wanted to get a Mini M in the old beige and grey color scheme but it seems you're limited to only a rather ugly light grey caps on a black case color scheme.
Also from what I've heard they have some quality issues, from when I was looking into them they seem to have fixed some but more recent reviews seemed to also have some issues with the build quality, I can't speak on that with certainty but that's definitely one thing that makes me hesitant.
Also the fact that you're limited to full size, TKL or battleship is another drawback, though if they come out with an unsaver model it'd be hard for me to resist.

i feel like the only reason i need customization on mx boards is because the switches themselves are so underwhelming lol
someone needs to make an aussie keyboard community called QMƎɹ┴⅄. get it? haha :D

Offline ander

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 09 March 2024, 05:27:58 »
I was considering getting a Unicomp for a while (still might), but the truth is it just doesn't have the versatility and customisability of MX boards...
Also the fact that you're limited to full size, TKL or battleship is another drawback, though if they come out with an unsaver model it'd be hard for me to resist.

But dude, it's really apples 'n' oranges. Unicomp will never try to be a modern-style keeb maker... They're all about keeping the buckling-spring Model M tradition going. That's why a bunch of them, former workers at Lexmark's factory, banded together and bought the place rather than seeing it shuttered.

They took a big chance tooling up to make a TKL (the Unicomp "Mini"), considering how many fewer keyboards they must sell compared to IBM/Lexmark in their heyday. Philosophically, though, I think they felt justified, as IBM actually produced TKL M's.

A Unicomp M (or an original '80s/'90s M) isn't something most people get so they can customize it. It's more like a piece of history. Nothing feels or sounds like buckling springs, either. It's sort of its own animal.

Most of us have a bajillion keebs anyway, right? So why worry? I think everyone should buy at least one Unicomp, just to support those good guys in Kentucky. Then just accumulate all the other keebs you want too, and rotate through 'em... I think most peeps here will agree, that's the path to typing bliss. 😉
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Offline clay

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 16 April 2024, 03:16:21 »
They lack in marketing as well as website interface design. I know there will be people defending and saying that you don't need a good website to get good products, but majority of normies out there care whether or not a manufacturer markets themselves attractively or not. If they just step up their marketing and improve the website, then a lot of people will be willing to try out buckling springs

Offline funkmon

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Re: Unicomp keyboards are underrated
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 16 April 2024, 21:37:29 »
I think you're right. Unfortunately, Unicomp doesn't see us as a huge marketshare. Supposedly they make the vast majority of their money from business orders and we're just kind of fun for them.

They don't trust that investing in a more modern website will lead to more sales.

That being said, the mechanical keyboard hobby, as it is today, leans HEAVILY on customization aesthetically, which is difficult to do in the ways people like it on the Models M.