The New Model F Keyboard
Finally time to check this thing out, greetings just got a blurb here for you about the model f77 modern, capacitive, buckling spring keyboard from model f, keyboards keyboards.com, really model f labs, i suppose yeah. This is a project that uh i backed or put in my order for like five years ago or something like 2016 2017. I don’t know it’s taken a long time for them to get made and in particular mine, took a little longer because uh yeah i wanted the the keycaps that they were making for this. I didn’t want to get my own and put them on there, so i could have gotten it a lot earlier if i wanted to, but i want to wait for the complete product and well it’s finally showed up and i’ve gone for this one right here. The f77 model f keyboard and yeah it’s, a modern version of the classic that ibm made. I mean they made all different kinds of them and different layouts for different systems, but i’m. A big fan of everything model f i’ve ever used in the pc xt model. F, keyboards, the at and all sorts of weird little things in between industrial boards, the small little ones and the kishavers, and all that there’s. All kinds of different things of model: f, but they’re, all really expensive and hard to find and they’re really old. And, of course, they use outdated standards and things, so you need to use converters if you want to use them on a modern system and it’s not like this one’s cheap either, but considering all the different options that you get and you have all these different yeah.
I mean look at all these things and the fact that it’s a brand new or newly manufactured old technology – you know capacitive buckling springs. This is distinct from what the model m does you know. That’S buckling springs over a membrane, but this is uh. Yeah totally different thing feels even better in many ways than the model m for typing, especially and yeah having this one in a modern form factor and some other features that make it really great to use highly appealing to me so that’s. Why i bought one all those years ago and finally showed up. I also really appreciate that in the box that this came in check out the packing slip, it’s actually printed out on this classic green and white dot, matrix tractor feed printer paper printed on a dot matrix printer. It appears very authentic. In fact, the authenticity all the way around i mean this looks a lot like a lot of the ibm boxes from back then, just in its simplicity like even this, that straight up looks like one of the stickers ibm put on their model: f keyboard boxes, so Anyway, i cannot wait any longer, let’s open this up and use it see what it’s, like. Oh Applause, hey again in keeping with that ibm 1980s feel we’ve got this little little booklet here keyboard operators guide. Congratulations! I now own keyboard technology from the classic age of computing modernized for today, all right bunch of warnings, introduction to function layers it’ll, be interesting to learn this layout, it’s uh.
So all this stuff, this this whole kind of layout here the block layout on the right hand, side that is different to me, that’s cool that you have different options. Look at that you can just switch around the keys and change it by switching function. Layers. That’S awesome: okay, let’s open it up, oh wow, all right, so we got our cork feet. Let’S just get all this out of here. Of course, it is usb that is, you know, it’s a modern keyboard, so that is that i’m not going to be using this on an old machine unless it happens to have usb but it’s not going to be that old, no extra little spring, just hanging around In there a familiar sight, oh man, this feels wow that feels like a solid block of iron or steel in this case, but still let’s see how much it actually weighs that’s that’s right around four kilograms, almost nine pounds, so uh it’s a little bit darker, a Different color of an industrial grade than i was expecting. I like it, but it’s, almost more olive kind of depending on the lighting, perhaps yeah those keys feel really good enter does not. I might have to readjust the spring on that one. Oh, i have to adjust that one too and pop back up but uh this that’s kind of common that sometimes happens on any a buckling spring keyboard, but the spring doesn’t quite buckle, but yeah yeah, so there’s a little springy on there.
There we go now. That’S got the click, it should still doesn’t feel quite right to me. Every other key feels awesome, though seriously well in the meantime. Here is a look at the bottom of it there. Why is my id number? It says zero in all of them. Do i have like serial number zero huh, guys notice on the packing slip? It also says serial zero id number, zero, well that’s kind of neat, and then here are the other selections of key caps Applause and stems Applause. Look at that. So these are for swapping things around on that num pad control area. There, Applause oops dropped one yeah, all those different configurations, different keys, all right i’m, going to get the feet on here, at least so just kind of put them along the bottom corners here. Don’T want to cover up the holes or not. I kind of do let’s do that and yeah. I do space the top ones, a little closer to the middle there that’s how my other model f’s are as well, so there we go all right, really excited to use it so i’m going to go ahead and see. If i can try to fix that up and get this plugged into a pc and give it a little bit of a test because yeah – actually, i already really like the layout that’s on here for this section so i’m, going to leave that too. Okay, so it’s about a week later, i’ve been using it about a week, it’s fantastic.
I love typing on it, it’s an absolute dream to use. Now that it’s been broken in a little bit too. Everything feels smoother, absolutely reliable. I mean it. Oh yeah, oh man. If you like, model f’s, you like this capacitive buckling spring stuff. This is where it’s at right now there’s nothing else being made like this on the entire keyboard market. As far as i know, this is where it’s at uh and yeah in terms of getting that space bar fixed up. I did i didn’t record it because screw that i wanted to use. It went through and kind of did the repair and it’s not really a repair, even it just needed to be sort of reseeded. So i took this row of keys out, so i could access the rest of the space bar like the spacer and whatnot, and with that accessible and just took space bar off fiddled around with the spring kind of spun it around clockwise, moved it upwards and put It back in place, and then it was buckling correctly, and this really is something that’s not unusual, with model f’s whatsoever, in fact, there’s a whole section on the website for the model. F keyboards for these modern ones that it goes into that it’s. Just something that happens and you kind of can’t, avoid it it’s inherent in this classic design from ibm back in the day and it’s the same for the new ones. But now that everything’s back in place feels great spacebar.
Is nice and clunky reliable works from every angle, oh yeah, but the only other thing i did also add just a little bit of white lithium grease and adjusted the little metal clips that are under there that are holding the bar in place, the stabilizer. So that was the thing, but i don’t think that’s necessary. I just did it because i wanted it to be a little smoother and also in case you’re wondering as far as comparisons to original model f’s. I have some xt’s and ap ones, and you know honestly to my fingertips. The difference is so slight and i think that probably just has to do with age. I mean it feels as it should to my fingers. This is just even more precise feeling, a little tighter, a little. I don’t know compared to something like uh, for instance the unicomp model m. Oh my goodness! That thing feels not good. I use that for about a month – and i just i put it away – um the original one i haven’t tried they’re like new model m’s, the unit components and again those are just classic modeling buckling spring situations without the capacitive thing going on. Those are membrane underneath this is totally different, totally different league, and it feels very much like the original model, f’s and all the way that count to me, barring a few things i do have some qualms and some complaints and things i really wish were different to The point where i’m so aggravated with this that i’m no longer using it on my main system, i just can’t there’s too many trade offs things that just bother me i’m still going to use it, but not on my main, like editing rig and the number one Reason for that is because the layout is just ridiculous: it’s better than an original model f in many ways, nice to have this whole cluster over here being standard and control and alt caps, lock and such being in reasonable places.
But there are some caveats that i didn’t even think about when i bought this kind of which i did main one being the lack of a function key row. I guess i use function, keys. Absolutely all the time and didn’t realize how much i do when doing my work. Editing things like that i’m constantly doing like control f this or that i can control all things over here and shift and whatnot, especially in adobe products. But i can’t really do that here with one hand, i love doing things with one hand over here and just having the function keys. So all of these are the function, keys and then right control is not control. It’S the function switch like you’d see on a laptop, so in order to do f1, you do right control, one and so on, which is extremely annoying. Why is this not the function? Key it’s, a windows, key, nobody needs a windows key. If i ever do, i just do control escape it’s fine, so why that’s the default layout i don’t know i wish. Even that was the function key, but it’s, not that is a. This is num lock, so that’s just silly. The default way that it’s set up in the firmware – and the other thing too, is because of this is function and not right, control, there’s, a lot of things i do over here, especially in photoshop like zooming, in and out basic things like that, i can’t do Now i have to do over here and do that.
I just hate having two hands on a keyboard when i’m doing editing or doing any kind of video audio photo work. Now i could mitigate some of this by switching around in the firmware. You can change the layout and i can move the function key over here and then make this an actual control key but that’s. My other kind of biggest annoyance with this is the fact that currently, the firmware that’s being used as far as i can tell there’s. No offline option for adjusting the firmware currently with the way that these are shipping out, so you have to go onto a website to configure your keyboard and here’s. The other thing that’s annoying currently anyway, is that this is a beta version of that firmware and to access the beta. You have to go on an external forum, desk authority and request access it’s, not even on the model. F keyboard website so now i’m dealing with some other thing, which sends me to some other thing, which is a website which is the exact opposite thing that i want to have happen on such an old school inspired. Awesome beefy keyboard like this just give me an offline app that i can run in windows. Apparently you could with the older firmware, but not this one, maybe i’m misunderstanding that i don’t know because, honestly, the uh the documentation is truly terrible, so it’s, subject to change again. This is all at the moment, beginning of 2021, so maybe it’ll be different in the future i’m sure it will i’m sure it’s improving in fact there’s some better documentation being written from what i’ve seen, but when you’re googling a lot of these problems like i was Just figuring out: how do we change the layout okay? Well, i need to go and get this firmware program and download it.
Well, i did nothing happened. Well, it turns out all these google results were going to some q, a section on the website that were ridiculously outdated and haven’t been updated in like three years and now, like the more up to date. Things which are on the website are in this crazy long page, that is just a garbled mess of text and links and things that go all over the place and the only documentation that comes with physically was that little booklet. It just tells you how to uh adjust this by using the function key and like changing around the keys here, yeah, which that’s another great thing. I do like the fact that you can swap all these out. You can do that without needing to access that online. Firmware keyboard layout, adjuster thing you don’t have to do that switch these keys, but you can’t remap the other keys like this one or this one or this one without going to that web portal at the moment. Hopefully that will change uh let’s see what else annoys me minimal thing tiny little thing, but i do wish it was there the feet: there’s uh, none of this at all so you’re, just stuck with this very flat, angled keyboard. You have like that. Yeah basic banking upward, i guess it’s a slight but that’s it there’s no feet no adjusters, nothing. I thought that was kind of strange. You know. I suppose this is based on a specific model of industrial keyboard or smaller keyboard or whatever that ibm made back in the day.
That looked more like this and less like the other model s that i’m used to, but i kind of wish it still had feet or the option to it. I didn’t again just didn’t realize that when i bought it and all these little things i just sort of added up – and i don’t want to use it anymore – not for my main computer anyway, i’m – absolutely going to use it on this one right now, it’s just Plugged into a windows 98 pc because hey usb as long as it’s got usb, it works as far as i can tell anyway, everything i’ve plugged it into macs pcs. So as long as it’s got the power to do it, then that’s cool, i haven’t tried it with like a usb to ps2, yet so yeah. The future is interesting in regards to this i’m gon na keep using it on these other project boxes. But my main system setup just not interested in using it on there anymore, so it’s ridiculously impressive and disappointing at the same time, is it worth 400 ish dollars? Probably not i don’t know like i want to say it is because i paid it right, but if i’m honest with myself, i wish i hadn’t gotten one yet and maybe waited around for another revision that have a layout that i would prefer to use more. As my daily driver um again not knocking the keyboard for what for what it is right like there’s, just nothing else being made like this, the capacitive buckling springs are absolutely brilliant.
I love typing on this, but that’s it if i’m doing work that i do. You know editing and whatnot. It requires a lot of these extra keys and, like just there’s, all these little annoyances that i don’t like about it and that sucks as it is now it’s, just an annoying thing to use for my daily driver and so i’m going to use it on other Computers that i do stuff with that’s that if they do come out with another one, though that’s like a more reasonable layout and has some just a lot of things that i’m looking for. I would absolutely sell this one and get another one in a heartbeat, because i love the build quality of it like that’s, the biggest thing it says built so well. It is an absolute monster of a keyboard. It seems like the tolerances are very well put together. It’S miles miles miles better than the unicom buckling spring, which i expected but still it’s worth saying, because i know a lot of people are going to try to compare it to that. I just wish it were a little bit different for my main computer usage that’s. It this thing is fantastic. I know i’ve just been rambling about all kinds of things. If i’ve gotten some stuff wrong, let me know i might have just missed it anyway. Stop talking now. This has been a very blurby blurb. Thank you very much for watching i’m.