Unicomp Model M Keyboard

Clickety-clack style keyboard

I have been using a Unicomp “Model M” keyboard on my Mac for 2 years now and would never consider going back to a quiet, squishy, rubberdome keyboard, including the Apple bluetooth keyboard. The trouble with those quiet keyboards, for me, and probably for most everyone, is that I am never quite sure when a keystroke has been recorded, so I have to carefully watch the screen all the time and press the keys to the bottom of their travel, just to make sure the computer agrees with my intents.

For those of us old enough to remember the IBM keyboards of the ’80s, the ones that came with the original IBM PC’s (and cost $400!), the Unicomp Model M keyboards are about as close as you can get to that same sound and feel, and they cost a whole lot less. In fact, Unicomp makes keyboards for IBM and has since 1996, employing many of the same people who made the originals. The technology used in the Model M’s is called “buckling spring.” In short, you know by sound and feel when a keystroke is recorded, so that there is no need to press each key all the way to the bottom. The pleasing clickety-clack sound is just gravy.

On the Mac you will sacrifice bluetooth mobility, as the Model M’s are connected via USB, but on the other hand, you can forget about replacing batteries, which my Bluetooth mouse seems to like to remind me every so often.

The company makes an array of keyboards, over 2000 models, according to their Web site. Mine is a Spacesaver M, Model UB4ZPHA and it costs $94.

Even better, Unicomp is an American Company, in Lexington, Kentucky.

-- Jim Shapiro 09/25/13

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