Unicomp Mini-M Mannequin F Keyboard Evaluation

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 (House Saving Keyboard). It exudes a timeless appeal that can captivate keyboard lovers acquainted with the unique. In some methods, this was the unique “TKL” keyboard.

In case you are unfamiliar with Unicomp (official website), 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 underneath the Unicomp model. (more info)

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

You possibly can really feel the durability as you kind, making certain 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 if you’re into closely clicky keyboards.

Unicomp has flawlessly merged retro design with barely up to date manufacturing methods (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, recognized for his or her legendary typing expertise. These switches provide a pleasant tactile really feel and a satisfying audible click on, making each keystroke a pleasure.

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

Typing Expertise

The typing expertise jogs my memory of my earlier IBM Model 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 power to actuate. Finally, that decreases somewhat, 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 Box 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 choice, so I can’t know. Nevertheless, I can predict that individuals who get pleasure from “silent” keyboards or switches with a “mild contact” ought to in all probability avoid these buckling spring switches.

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

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

Structure 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 today, however Unicomp’s aim 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 optimistic. That mentioned, I’m optimistic that colleagues inside a 15+ ft radius will probably hate the noise and

Connectivity & Compatibility

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

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

Once in a while, I expertise a small concern 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 seems like I’m not the one one to expertise this. It’s not an enormous deal, however this could not occur.

Customization and Programmability

As I beforehand hinted, don’t anticipate a lot by way of customization, as it’s practically unattainable to seek out customized keycaps and different customized {hardware}. Because of Unicomp, you gained’t lack spare components for repairs/replacements if wanted. Nevertheless, I couldn’t discover any attention-grabbing and inexpensive enjoyable keycaps.

That mentioned, I did order a Navy Blue ANSI Color Key Set from Unicomp to provide this keyboard a glance paying homage to the attractive unique IBM “industrial” SSK keyboard with the blue keys. It seems like the unique IBM Blue isn’t obtainable, maybe for copyright causes (?).

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

So far as I do know, the keyboard has no specific programmability. For avid gamers, it is best to notice that though key ghosting has been diminished through the use of a extra trendy controller, there’s no N key rollover, so though you may sport with it – this isn’t a perfect “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 unattainable to re-create this expertise utilizing MX-based customized keyboard {hardware}, regardless of the value, so I feel it’s value it (for me). I’ve even ordered some further to make the keyboard extra enjoyable.

For somebody who doesn’t notably search the Mannequin M expertise, you would want to attempt one and see how a lot you prefer it. Chances are you’ll 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 cheap, and the assist crew solutions comparatively shortly by way of e 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)
Top 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 copy
  • Excellent construct high quality
  • Feels similar to the 90s Mannequin M


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

Ranking + Value

  • Ranking: 8.5/10
  • Value: ~$149

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