Unicomp - New Model M review

kmnov2017

31 May 2020, 12:41

Here's a much anticipated review of the new model M. Saw this posted on reddit.

https://m.imgur.com/a/Ple1PHU
Last edited by kmnov2017 on 01 Jun 2020, 12:38, edited 1 time in total.

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sharktastica

31 May 2020, 13:00

I quite like it. Imperfections on the back are a bummer but I'll likely be buying one for collection purposes at least.

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depletedvespene

31 May 2020, 13:50

The dye-subbing seems fine... until you notice the differing vertical alignment in Backspace/Enter/nav cluster. :-/

gianni

31 May 2020, 16:44

Can you replace the spacebar with a longer one, in order to remove that horrible button on the right that takes the place of the alt gr?

another question, is it possible to switch to ISO layout simply by replacing keycaps and stabilizers? In older models, it was possible because all the barrels and the pcb traces where there.

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depletedvespene

31 May 2020, 17:03

gianni wrote:
31 May 2020, 16:44
Can you replace the spacebar with a longer one, in order to remove that horrible button on the right that takes the place of the alt gr?
What are you talking about? The RALT key (Alt or AltGr) is in the correct position and is of the correct size (1.5u).

That 1.25U RGUI key, however, could well disappear or be put to better use.
gianni wrote:
31 May 2020, 16:44
another question, is it possible to switch to ISO layout simply by replacing keycaps and stabilizers? In older models, it was possible because all the barrels and the pcb traces where there.
I would expect Unicomp to maintain the Model M's duplicated 0xBF and low right 0x0D scan codes thingie, so a keyboard will support ANSI, ISO and BAE Enter keys without issue (not TIE, sadly, but few people will care for it).

gianni

31 May 2020, 18:52

gianni wrote:
31 May 2020, 16:44
Can you replace the spacebar with a longer one, in order to remove that horrible button on the right that takes the place of the alt gr?
What are you talking about? The RALT key (Alt or AltGr) is in the correct position and is of the correct size (1.5u).

That 1.25U RGUI key, however, could well disappear or be put to better use.


Yeah, probably it is the 1.25 u rgui key. In the past, unicomp would replace the spacebar with a bigger one with a small fee, thus bringing back the layout of the old model m.

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funkmon

01 Jun 2020, 03:19

They still do that on their other keyboards. When I bought this one, though, basically it was just take it or leave it.

I think they still have so few of these made they aren't doing anything funny with them yet. Mine had an April birthdate.

Let me know if any of you guys want photos of other stuff.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

01 Jun 2020, 04:23

gianni wrote:
31 May 2020, 16:44

is it possible to switch to ISO layout simply by replacing keycaps and stabilizers?
After cracking it open to move pivot plates and springs into the proper positions, that's what you meant, isn't it?

gianni

01 Jun 2020, 10:12

fohat wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 04:23
gianni wrote:
31 May 2020, 16:44

is it possible to switch to ISO layout simply by replacing keycaps and stabilizers?
After cracking it open to move pivot plates and springs into the proper positions, that's what you meant, isn't it?
Yes, and a pcb compatible with the new keycaps.

I don't know if it was in your review, or if I saw it elsewhere. I'm interested by the fact that switches are lighter than older model m, and that they are very similar to the old model f, can you confirm it?

kmnov2017

01 Jun 2020, 12:34

gianni wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 10:12
fohat wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 04:23
gianni wrote:
31 May 2020, 16:44

is it possible to switch to ISO layout simply by replacing keycaps and stabilizers?
After cracking it open to move pivot plates and springs into the proper positions, that's what you meant, isn't it?
Yes, and a pcb compatible with the new keycaps.

I don't know if it was in your review, or if I saw it elsewhere. I'm interested by the fact that switches are lighter than older model m, and that they are very similar to the old model f, can you confirm it?
There’s no PCB in a model M. These use a membrane for sensing. Also, there is no way a model M switch feel will be lighter than an F. And as for changing these to ISO by stripping out rivets and redoing the whole keyboard with a bolt mod, which in all likelihood will fail, will win you “dumb project of the year” award. Just wait until Unicomp comes out with the ISO option.

gianni

01 Jun 2020, 14:41

kmnov2017 wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 12:34
gianni wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 10:12
fohat wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 04:23


After cracking it open to move pivot plates and springs into the proper positions, that's what you meant, isn't it?
Yes, and a pcb compatible with the new keycaps.

I don't know if it was in your review, or if I saw it elsewhere. I'm interested by the fact that switches are lighter than older model m, and that they are very similar to the old model f, can you confirm it?
There’s no PCB in a model M. These use a membrane for sensing. Also, there is no way a model M switch feel will be lighter than an F. And as for changing these to ISO by stripping out rivets and redoing the whole keyboard with a bolt mod, which in all likelihood will fail, will win you “dumb project of the year” award. Just wait until Unicomp comes out with the ISO option.
Pcb, membrane, flexible pcb, for me it's just magic :-D

The new model m is really lighter than the older one, probably not model f light, but surely lighter, as this review says: "If you stayed away from Buckling Springs because of key weighting I think you will be pleased as I feel the weight is much more approachable and lighter than MX Clears."
https://www.keebtalk.com/t/unicomp-new- ... eview/9002

I own several model f and one beamspring. Can you believe it that I have still to use them one time? One year has passed, remodeling them is my next project.

kmnov2017

01 Jun 2020, 16:27

gianni wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 14:41
kmnov2017 wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 12:34
gianni wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 10:12


Yes, and a pcb compatible with the new keycaps.

I don't know if it was in your review, or if I saw it elsewhere. I'm interested by the fact that switches are lighter than older model m, and that they are very similar to the old model f, can you confirm it?
There’s no PCB in a model M. These use a membrane for sensing. Also, there is no way a model M switch feel will be lighter than an F. And as for changing these to ISO by stripping out rivets and redoing the whole keyboard with a bolt mod, which in all likelihood will fail, will win you “dumb project of the year” award. Just wait until Unicomp comes out with the ISO option.
Pcb, membrane, flexible pcb, for me it's just magic :-D

The new model m is really lighter than the older one, probably not model f light, but surely lighter, as this review says: "If you stayed away from Buckling Springs because of key weighting I think you will be pleased as I feel the weight is much more approachable and lighter than MX Clears."
https://www.keebtalk.com/t/unicomp-new- ... eview/9002

I own several model f and one beamspring. Can you believe it that I have still to use them one time? One year has passed, remodeling them is my next project.
Any brand new unicomp model will feel lighter than a used original model M that’s seen 30 years of use. Brand new springs make all the difference.

I believe anyone who says they can’t use an F or a beamspring as a daily keyboard. The model F is too loud for use in an open office environment and the beamspring is the least practical keyboard out there (too high, can’t type fast enough, loud).
From the IBM product line, the model M will always have its fan followers.

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zrrion

01 Jun 2020, 16:57

kmnov2017 wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 12:34
...redoing the whole keyboard with a bolt mod, which in all likelihood will fail, will win you “dumb project of the year” award. Just wait until Unicomp comes out with the ISO option.
No reason it would fail, bolt modding isn't all that difficult, just tedious.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

01 Jun 2020, 17:05

depletedvespene wrote:
31 May 2020, 17:03
gianni wrote:
31 May 2020, 16:44
Can you replace the spacebar with a longer one, in order to remove that horrible button on the right that takes the place of the alt gr?
What are you talking about? The RALT key (Alt or AltGr) is in the correct position and is of the correct size (1.5u).
They had every opportunity to fix the bottom row and managed to fail spectacularly. 5.75u space and 1.25u useless key? Come on now. Just ship a 7u space bar option.

What they did: 1.5-1-1.5-5.75-1.25-1.5-1-1.5
ugh.png
ugh.png (16.71 KiB) Viewed 771 times
What I would have done: 1.5-1-1.5-6-1.5-1-1-1.5
good.png
good.png (15.94 KiB) Viewed 771 times
What they still can do: 1.5-1-1.5-7-1.5-1-1.5
better.png
better.png (15.86 KiB) Viewed 771 times

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depletedvespene

01 Jun 2020, 17:25

XMIT wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 17:05
depletedvespene wrote:
31 May 2020, 17:03
gianni wrote:
31 May 2020, 16:44
Can you replace the spacebar with a longer one, in order to remove that horrible button on the right that takes the place of the alt gr?
What are you talking about? The RALT key (Alt or AltGr) is in the correct position and is of the correct size (1.5u).
They had every opportunity to fix the bottom row and managed to fail spectacularly. 5.75u space and 1.25u useless key? Come on now. Just ship a 7u space bar option.

What they did: 1.5-1-1.5-5.75-1.25-1.5-1-1.5

ugh.png

What I would have done: 1.5-1-1.5-6-1.5-1-1-1.5

good.png

What they still can do: 1.5-1-1.5-7-1.5-1-1.5

better.png
What they still can do is, indeed, the best unsplit space bar option.

That said, if the space bar is gonna be split, then this should objectively, unquestionably (YMMV) be what must be done:

1.5/1/1.5 / 2.75/2.75 / 1.5 / 1.5/1/1.15
1.5/1/1.5 / 2.75/2.75 / 1.5 / 1.5/1/1.15
best-split.png (6.05 KiB) Viewed 757 times

And if they come to me and say "But we don't produce the WheelWriter's Code key anymore!", I'll say, "Well, start producing it again!"

kmnov2017

01 Jun 2020, 18:41

depletedvespene wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 17:25
XMIT wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 17:05
depletedvespene wrote:
31 May 2020, 17:03


What are you talking about? The RALT key (Alt or AltGr) is in the correct position and is of the correct size (1.5u).
They had every opportunity to fix the bottom row and managed to fail spectacularly. 5.75u space and 1.25u useless key? Come on now. Just ship a 7u space bar option.

What they did: 1.5-1-1.5-5.75-1.25-1.5-1-1.5

ugh.png

What I would have done: 1.5-1-1.5-6-1.5-1-1-1.5

good.png

What they still can do: 1.5-1-1.5-7-1.5-1-1.5

better.png
What they still can do is, indeed, the best unsplit space bar option.

That said, if the space bar is gonna be split, then this should objectively, unquestionably (YMMV) be what must be done:


best-split.png


And if they come to me and say "But we don't produce the WheelWriter's Code key anymore!", I'll say, "Well, start producing it again!"
You can use two blank right shifts as an alternative...

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depletedvespene

01 Jun 2020, 19:47

kmnov2017 wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 18:41

You can use two blank right shifts as an alternative...
Not concave...

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zrrion

01 Jun 2020, 19:52

Unicomp's current design is the most economical compromise for people who really need 2 windows keys (unsure exactly what you would need 2 for but its there for folks that need it ig) and with a spacebar swap can be switched to 1.5-1-1.5-7-1.5-1-1.5, which is the best 15u bottom row anyway. Any "improvements" to the layout that would allow for a second gui key would remove the ability to simply spacebar swap to get 1.5-1-1.5-7-1.5-1-1.5 and thus isn't worth it. Additionally, the current layout likely only needed modification of the existing tooling to add the 2nd gui key whereas all suggested alternates likely would need much more work to make molds for and wouldn't be worth it. So its either use the same mold for both layouts or spend a ton of money when they don't need to.

EDIT: review is nice, weird case molding

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depletedvespene

02 Jun 2020, 01:30

zrrion wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 19:52
Unicomp's current design is the most economical compromise for people who really need 2 windows keys (unsure exactly what you would need 2 for but its there for folks that need it ig) and with a spacebar swap can be switched to 1.5-1-1.5-7-1.5-1-1.5, which is the best 15u bottom row anyway. Any "improvements" to the layout that would allow for a second gui key would remove the ability to simply spacebar swap to get 1.5-1-1.5-7-1.5-1-1.5 and thus isn't worth it. Additionally, the current layout likely only needed modification of the existing tooling to add the 2nd gui key whereas all suggested alternates likely would need much more work to make molds for and wouldn't be worth it. So its either use the same mold for both layouts or spend a ton of money when they don't need to.
Stop making sensible arguments while we're trying to whine here, Mister! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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funkmon

02 Jun 2020, 02:28

gianni wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 14:41
kmnov2017 wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 12:34
gianni wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 10:12


Yes, and a pcb compatible with the new keycaps.

I don't know if it was in your review, or if I saw it elsewhere. I'm interested by the fact that switches are lighter than older model m, and that they are very similar to the old model f, can you confirm it?
There’s no PCB in a model M. These use a membrane for sensing. Also, there is no way a model M switch feel will be lighter than an F. And as for changing these to ISO by stripping out rivets and redoing the whole keyboard with a bolt mod, which in all likelihood will fail, will win you “dumb project of the year” award. Just wait until Unicomp comes out with the ISO option.
Pcb, membrane, flexible pcb, for me it's just magic :-D

The new model m is really lighter than the older one, probably not model f light, but surely lighter, as this review says: "If you stayed away from Buckling Springs because of key weighting I think you will be pleased as I feel the weight is much more approachable and lighter than MX Clears."
https://www.keebtalk.com/t/unicomp-new- ... eview/9002

I own several model f and one beamspring. Can you believe it that I have still to use them one time? One year has passed, remodeling them is my next project.
I've got about 2 dozen Models M. I think my Unicomps, including the New Model M, feel heavier than my old Models M, including my New Old Stock models (1994 Lexmark, 1999 IBM UK) which only leave their boxes for just such a comparison.

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zrrion

02 Jun 2020, 02:47

depletedvespene wrote:
02 Jun 2020, 01:30
we're trying to whine here, Mister!
I can whine too then, unicomp should chop it down to 14u and change the bottom row to 1.25-1-1.25-3.5-3.5-1.25-1-1.25 which is the bottom row of champions.

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depletedvespene

02 Jun 2020, 02:56

zrrion wrote:
02 Jun 2020, 02:47
depletedvespene wrote:
02 Jun 2020, 01:30
we're trying to whine here, Mister!
I can whine too then, unicomp should chop it down to 14u and change the bottom row to 1.25-1-1.25-3.5-3.5-1.25-1-1.25 which is the bottom row of champions.
An alpha block that is fourteen units wide? The Roman God Tecladius shall smite you for this aberration. You shall be sent to a special circle in Hell where all keyboards are of this model (national layout notwithstanding):

This ain't no keyboard. This is a KEEB.
This ain't no keyboard. This is a KEEB.
hellskeeb.jpg (209.82 KiB) Viewed 584 times

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zrrion

02 Jun 2020, 03:02

I've been unironically toying with the idea
an ortho board with only 12u is still pretty workable so 14 should be a piece of cake

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depletedvespene

02 Jun 2020, 03:39

zrrion wrote:
02 Jun 2020, 03:02
I've been unironically toying with the idea
an ortho board with only 12u is still pretty workable so 14 should be a piece of cake
I'd answer this, but it would go excessively off-topic. We need a subforum dedicated specifically to layouting (my favourite subject, as it happens to be).

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