Unicomp Mini-M Model F Keyboard Review

The Unicomp Mini M mechanical keyboard boasts a design aesthetic that superbly blends nostalgia with modernity. It pays homage to the beloved IBM Mannequin M SSK (Area Saving Keyboard). It exudes a timeless appeal that can captivate keyboard lovers accustomed to the unique. In some methods, this was the unique “TKL” keyboard.

If you’re unfamiliar with Unicomp (official web site), the corporate was created when IBM discontinued its Mannequin M keyboard manufacturing. The workers of that particular keyboard enterprise and manufacturing plant bought the license and instruments to proceed constructing these great keyboards below the Unicomp model. (extra information)

Crafted with meticulous consideration to element, this keyboard has excellent construct high quality. From its strong plastic casing with a modern matte black end to its stable body, each side of its development exudes sturdiness.

You’ll be able to really feel the durability as you sort, guaranteeing a steady and dependable expertise even throughout intense gaming or work periods. The keycaps are thick and well-made, promising longevity and a satisfying tactile really feel in case you are into closely clicky keyboards.

Unicomp has flawlessly merged retro design with barely up to date manufacturing strategies (together with native USB-A assist), leading to a keyboard that matches model and sturdiness expectations. Get able to elevate your typing expertise with the Unicomp mini-M!

IBM Buckling Springs

The Unicomp mini-M mechanical keyboard makes use of buckling spring switches, identified for his or her legendary typing expertise. These switches supply a pleasant tactile really feel and a satisfying audible click on, making each keystroke a pleasure.

In comparison with different standard mechanical switches varieties like Cherry MX or Gateron, buckling spring switches present a singular and retro typing expertise. Whereas they could require a considerably greater actuation drive, the precise suggestions and the sheer nostalgia they evoke make the Unicomp mini-M a standout alternative for these in search of the typing really feel of the IBM Mannequin M.

Typing Expertise

The typing expertise jogs my memory of my earlier IBM Mannequin M keyboard. I owned two, and each have been manufactured within the early 90s (that are objectively cheaper to make than the 80s fashions).

New buckling switches do require numerous drive to actuate. Finally, that decreases slightly, however I’m unsure how lengthy it takes for the switches to turn out to be a bit much less “stiff.” No Cherry MX change I’ve examined can examine, not even the Kailh Field Navy or Black – not even shut.

Whether or not or not you’ll just like the keyboard’s tactile suggestions or sound is a matter of non-public desire, so I can’t know. Nonetheless, I can predict that individuals who get pleasure from “silent” keyboards or switches with a “mild contact” ought to most likely avoid these buckling spring switches.

Regardless of being a fan of the older IBM Mannequin M, I additionally wish to spotlight some nuances. I like utilizing this keyboard for coding, which I do quite a bit. Nonetheless, there are extra agreeable keyboards for heavy textual content typing, like scripting this assessment.

For instance, I personal a Keychron V1 with Khail Field White (clicky) switches, and now we have a Logitech MX Mechanical mini on the workplace. Each are considerably lighter to sort with, and it’s honest to say that the heavy typing model required by the Mannequin M could be a bit tiring should you’re a journalist (for me, coding tends to be “bursts of typing” relatively than “steady typing”).

Format and Keycaps

The Unicomp mini-M is an 87-key keyboard, and I’ve the ANSI US model. In comparison with the unique IBM, the Home windows and Menu buttons have been added, however every little thing else is just about because it was.

From the surface, the keycaps are the identical design as IBM used again within the day. The keyboard keys are 1-piece dye sublimated PBT keycaps, however Unicomp sells some 2-piece keycaps as “components.”

This keycap design is incompatible with Cherry MX and different extra broadly adopted requirements, so the keycap customization choices are nearly nil. Additionally, there’s no backlight, which could appear odd lately, however Unicomp’s purpose right here was to maintain the unique design.

Noise Stage

Be warned, this keyboard is NOT office-friendly and noisier than any MX-switches keyboard I’ve seen or used up to now couple of many years. The excellent news is that it doesn’t produce high-pitch noise, in order that’s one thing constructive. That stated, I’m constructive that colleagues inside a 15+ ft radius will almost definitely hate the noise and

Connectivity & Compatibility

Regardless of being a clone of a 36-years outdated keyboard, this Unicomp mini-M comes with USB connectivity and works similar to another USB keyboard. It has a USB-A port on the keyboard and expects to be related to a different USB-A on the pc.

The USB-A connector on the keyboard aspect might sound odd, however it’s sturdier than USB-C connectors, and that’s most likely why it was chosen. The situation of the connector mimics the unique keyboards, however I might have most well-liked to have it to the left of the chassis.

Every now and then, I expertise a small subject the place the keyboard is “frozen” (not lively), and all three LEDs (Num Lock, Caps Lock, Scroll Lock) are ON. To repair it, I’ve to disconnect/reconnect the keyboard. It appears to be like like I’m not the one one to expertise this. It’s not a giant deal, however this could not occur.

Customization and Programmability

As I beforehand hinted, don’t anticipate a lot when it comes to customization, as it’s practically inconceivable to search out customized keycaps and different customized {hardware}. Because of Unicomp, you gained’t lack spare components for repairs/replacements if wanted. Nonetheless, I couldn’t discover any fascinating and reasonably priced enjoyable keycaps.

That stated, I did order a Navy Blue ANSI Shade Key Set from Unicomp to provide this keyboard a glance paying homage to the gorgeous unique IBM “industrial” SSK keyboard with the blue keys. It appears to be like like the unique IBM Blue will not be accessible, maybe for copyright causes (?).

I even discovered a metallic IBM brand sticker on Aliexpress, which added a enjoyable little bit of nostalgia to the keyboard.

So far as I do know, the keyboard has no explicit programmability. For avid gamers, it’s best to notice that though key ghosting has been decreased by utilizing a extra fashionable controller, there’s no N key rollover, so though you’ll be able to sport with it – this isn’t an excellent “gaming keyboard.”

Conclusion, Value, and Worth

Simply a few years in the past, Unicomp keyboards have been promoting for simply above $105, however now, this Unicomp Mini M sells for $149 earlier than delivery and taxes. Is it well worth the worth? Effectively, “it relies upon.”

For somebody like me who actually loved the sooner Mannequin M, it’s inconceivable to re-create this expertise utilizing MX-based customized keyboard {hardware}, irrespective of the value, so I believe it’s value it (for me). I’ve even ordered some additional to make the keyboard extra enjoyable.

For somebody who doesn’t significantly search the Mannequin M expertise, you would want to strive one and see how a lot you prefer it. You could be tempted!

From a construct high quality perspective, I take into account this keyboard’s high quality to be far superior to a $99 keyboard like my Keychron V1, so even from a pure “construct high quality” perspective, this keyboard’s worth appears affordable, and the assist crew solutions comparatively rapidly by way of electronic mail or Fb.

Connection USB
Cable size 6 ft.
Variety of keys/buttons 87
Size 15.5 in. (395.4 mm)
Depth 7.5 in. (190 mm)
Peak 2.34 in. (59.4 mm)
Weight 3 lb. 4 oz. (1.47 Kg)
Gross Weight 4 lb. (1.81 Kg)


  • Wonderful IBM Mannequin M SSK replica
  • Superb construct high quality
  • Feels similar to the 90s Mannequin M


  • Cumbersome, heavy
  • Not best for gaming
  • Very restricted customization

Ranking + Value

  • Ranking: 8.5/10
  • Value: ~$149

Filed in Computer systems >Opinions. Learn extra about Keyboards.

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