Unicomp Spacesaver M

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by bunnspecial, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    Does anyone have any experience with this particular keyboard?

    I've been typing a lot on my Extended II lately(via a Griffin iMate), but I've just spent an afternoon rebuilding one of the key switches and am afraid that I have more on the way.

    I'm really leaning toward buying a Unicomp for a couple of reasons:

    1. I've used Model Ms in the past, and really like them(although they have a different feel from the no longer made damped Alps switches on my Extended II)

    2. They are a Kentucky company, and I really like supporting local manufacturers

    3. Along the lines of #2, I can pick one up in person from the factory.

    Does anyone have any experience with the Spacesaver M specifically, or with any other Unicomp products in general? The Spacesaver M is the only one I'm seriously considering, as I do want something with correct Apple keycaps.
     
  2. HenryAZ macrumors 6502

    HenryAZ

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    South Congress AZ
    #2
    I used the Unicomp for quite a while on Windows, and bought their Mac version when I moved to Macs. I had always liked the old buckling spring key feel.

    Then I tried a couple of other Mac mechanical keyboards, a Matias and a Das Keyboard, and the Das Keyboard is a hands down winner for me. One main thing I found annoying about the Matias was the tiny Option key. Both of those, though, provide a better feel/feedback than the buckling spring, which now seems a bit stiff to me. Both of these, too, are a little pricier than the Unicomp, but you're already in premium territory, and shopping around can get you the Das Keyboard for about $115-$120.
     
  3. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #3
    Just thought I'd follow up and report that I've sort of been dragging my feet on a keyboard purchase. I did buy a whole bunch of AEKIIs and have been using them pretty heavily.

    I was at a flea market today, however, and was able to pick up a nice Unicomp Model M for $5. It's just the standard keyboard, but should allow me to give it a test run before I shell out the money for a Spacesaver M(if I decide to). It's definitely a lot louder than the AEKIIs-I don't guess I appreciated how quiet(relatively speaking) the damped Alps switches are.

    Even better, the keyboard I bought carries the logos for the University of Kentucky and has blue keycaps along with "Kentucky" along the F keys. I work at arch-rival University of Louisville, so I'm going to give it a trial run on my work computer at least until Basketball season is over :p:p
     
  4. markovchain macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    #4
    I used the Unicomp spacesaver M for 8 months. Then certain keys does not work. Then I have to pay one third of the price for them to pay the replacement keyboard. It only worked when received.

    However, the replacement has random keys failure after a few months. Not sure what happened. I just left the replacement and the original sitting there while using my trusted Apple wireless KB. Both now did not work - random keys failure, can't register with System Preferences.

    A lesson learnt.
     
  5. Eugene macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2002
    #5
    Functionally the buckling spring mechanism in Unicomp keyboards is the same as IBM Model Ms, but the rest of the product is garbage. The plastic cases have all sorts of blemishes and uneven textures. The keycaps have rough looking edges with leftover bits of plastic and large chunks missing where the sprues are removed.

    I'd much rather get a Cherry MX Green keyboard from WASD with Mac legends or buy an old AEKII off eBay and refurbish it (as I did in the other thread.)
     
  6. markovchain macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    #6
  7. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #7
    I stopped by the Unicomp factory this morning to pick up a replacement cable and keycap for the used one I bought over the weekend. I'm typing this message from it(via a USB-PS2 adapter plugged into my Macbook Pro) and so far everything is great.

    I quite literally have a box full of AEKIIs(I think I have 10 of them total), and I love typing on them. I've spent many hours rebuilding key switches on AEKIIs, and many, many more hours typing on them. For as much as I like them, though, my hands just don't seem to find the key placement as "natural" as many other keyboards. I think part of the problem-for me at least(as a touch typist-as I'm sure most folks on here are) is that the AEKII has the tactile "nubs" on D and K rather than on F and J like pretty much every keyboard in history. Why Apple made that particular change on that keyboard, I don't know. I timed myself, and found that I'm good for 70-80 wpm on most keyboards, but that drops to 40-50 on an AEKII.

    The Model M(in whatever incarnation) is a different story-I just find that my fingers go naturally to the keys. The same is true of most other Apple keyboards(both external and built-in). I love the feeling of the damped Alps switches on many AEKIIs-in fact I'd go so far to say that I prefer it to the Model M buckling spring(plus it's a lot quieter). Just typing on this particular Unicomp at the moment, though, I'm finding that I'm flying with near 100% accuracy. Of course, it's also making one heck of a racket(a lot more than an AEKII), but that comes with the territory.

    After visiting the factory today, I'm really sold on Unicomp products. They were just so great and accommodating to me when I stopped in(they swapped keycaps and installed the cable while I stood there). I suppose I have that luxury of being close to the factory-where other folks may not-but it makes me feel a lot more secure about buying their products when I know that not only are they close but offer great in-person service.
     
  8. Eugene macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2002
    #8
    AEKII's have medium profile keycaps and a unique slightly stepped/curved profile. They're not for everyone. I find it very easy to mistype letters on the bottom row like C or V.
     
  9. markovchain macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    #9
    being close to them is critical given the long term product issues. :cool:

    International customers had better deal with first class company like Apple. Their recent global repair program for MBP GPU is so impressive with a postage paid box to their service centre.
     

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