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  Unicomp Customizer 101 Keyboard Review
  By Pat

  Front > Hardware > Monitors and Peripherals
  9/2/2005
  Specifications    Images    

 


It is a classic after all

I’d like everyone to take a nice long look at the next picture and see if you can figure out what is missing.

No Windows keys!

That’s right folks, no Windows key! Fantastic! If you actually like the Windows keys Unicomp still has you covered with the Customizer 104, but I enjoy the lack of Windows keys, if only for its Microsoft spiting power.

In another tribute to tradition, Unicomp has left the key layout perfectly alone (I'll have to admit to considering IBM's layout to be the correct one). Unlike so many compact, ergonomic or simply Microsoft keyboards, Unicomp does not demand that you to relearn how to type, thankfully. Even the less often used keys are right where you'ld expect them.

Great key layout



System Requirements

It’s a keyboard, but it is a classic one. The Customizer 101 is available with either a PS/2 connection or an ancient AT style adapter. This is fine with most desktops for the moment, but for laptop users, Mac addicts and future pc users the lack of a USB option might be annoying. You can always buy an adapter (I saw one for about $5 US online) but it would be nice to see them update the electronics to support USB directly.


Performance

In all seriousness this is a very solid keyboard. If you prefer good feedback while you type then nothing beats the buckling spring switch style keyboards. Some will argue (until the end of time itself) that the Alps key switches are better than those used by IBM/Lexmark/Unicomp. This is debatable, but the cheapest new board based on these switches is twice the price of the Customizer 101 and frankly both boards are so far ahead of membrane keyboard that there is no wrong choice. For the record though I’m in the IBM keyboard camp, let the flaming commence.

I find that I can type faster and more comfortably using the Customizer than any of my older keyboards (Logitech wireless number, several huge split keyboards, several laptop keyboards). It is hard to really quanify, I'm not a good enough typist to trust using typing speed test (I'm just not that consistant and for too easily distracted) but the tactile and auiditory feedback seem be critical to my typing experience.

The buckling spring switches that Unicomp uses are rated for about 25 million key strokes and, if you do manage to break one (unlikely, this thing is tough, more likely to break you), Unicomp will be happy to fix it. As a side note if you have or find an old IBM keyboard that needs a little TLC Unicomp has a reasonably priced repair service.




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