IBM Model M13 Trackpoint II keyboard review (IBM buckling spring)

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Chyros

15 Dec 2018, 10:07

It's high time we check out this classic, which really needs no introduction. Today we're looking at the M13! Hope you enjoy the video! :)

Menuhin

15 Dec 2018, 13:28

My beloved Model M13 that I sold in a NIB condition...!!!
I just couldn't violate its pristine condition for the sake of trying to see if I can get used to those heavy buckling springs and ended up having to sell it.

Menuhin

15 Dec 2018, 14:13

I have to disagree with "Trackpoint being inferior (e.g. to mouse and the clumsy trackpad)" although I know this can be the point of view of all who are not used to using a Trackpoint. I am a believer of the home-row philosophy of this design, and there are a few points to add for the Trackpoint and M13.

1. Trackpoint is not designed for gaming, but for tasks that require switching between typing and using the cursors, e.g. in office document spreadsheet work, data analyses, i.e. tasks using related to work. For gaming, high resolution (or high res + PS/2) mouse is the champ.

2. Trackpoint is faster in completing those tasks by requiring < 50% of the time compared to when one uses a mouse. This is because Trackpoint is designed with the "home row" philosophy and the user does not need to make excessive movements to leave the home row of the keyboard to reach the pointing device.
I think there are usability studies on this Trackpoint, but here's a quick video demonstration of comparing the effectiveness of using a Trackpoint vs using a mouse on a set of common computer tasks:
3. The generation II Trackpoint on this M13 is a bit sluggish and hard to push. One has to adjust it with the mouse sensitivity and mouse speed settings in the computer system. And I think the ThinkPad laptops later were equipped with generation IV (or V?) Trackpoint design which is softer to use and is much more sensitive and there are device drivers specially for the Trackpoint to adjust specific characteristics of the Trackpoint to the liking of the user.

However, my daily driver now is a HHKB plus a Trackball.
I think I miss the Trackpoint but having worked with a setting with Trackpoint 8-10 hours a day, 6+ days a week for years gave me numbness at the finger tip and switching between index finger and middle finger did not help so much.
Apart from that, the nicer Trackpoints are on those keyboards with chiclet switches, and I cannot like those keyboards to much any more, with my experience on nice linear switches and nice tactile switches.

This is a totally different experience in terms of switches as this prototype uses MX switches, but it may deliver much better Trackpoint experience:
Image
(I don't like its "floating key" design exposing the sides of the switches though)

User avatar
zrrion

15 Dec 2018, 22:57

It is a nice looking board and I would love to see someone give reverse dyesub caps for the M a try so that there was a non pad printed option. There are much better mousing options than the track point though, for instance there is every other mousing option, and I wouldn't mind having one of these decked out in nicer caps if it ditched the track point .

The red on black is a nice look though

User avatar
TuxKey
LLAP

22 Dec 2018, 11:41

@Chyros could you do a in depth vid review on " SA vs thick PBT cherry profile vs OEM".. How do keycap change the type feel and sound ?
trying to find out about SA sets i found a Topclack vid and they don't seem to like SA profile..opinions differ .. but yours is usually more balanced and informative.. i would enjoy your watching your point of view on this matter..

User avatar
Chyros

22 Dec 2018, 11:48

TuxKey wrote: @Chyros could you do a in depth vid review on " SA vs thick PBT cherry profile vs OEM".. How do keycap change the type feel and sound ?
trying to find out about SA sets i found a Topclack vid and they don't seem to like SA profile..opinions differ .. but yours is usually more balanced and informative.. i would enjoy your watching your point of view on this matter..
Tbh I don't usually care THAT much about profiles. All of those are fine to me. When you type with floating hands (i.e. the non-touch type, actually somewhat ergonomic way :P) it's not all that different really xD .

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