Optima Elite

Optima-Elite-MediumOptima Elite (1950s)

It’s hard not to talk about the Optima Elite without comparing it to it’s German cousin, the Olympia SM3. You can feel the same bloodline running through the keys, but once you start typing you quickly realize it’s a different creature. The Optima Elite has the same spring-loaded keys as the SM3, but somehow manages to have a defter touch. It feels like the throw distance between key press and typebar strike is shorter on the Optima, making for a snappier action. Plus, the carriage shift mechanism on the Optima seems less burdensome than the SM3. The overall looks of the Optima suggests a more workmanlike approach to the job, rather than the flashier SM3 with its abundance of chrome. However, when it comes to carriage movement, the SM3 is the hands-down winner. While the Optima is no slouch, the SM3 is legendary for its smooth gliding carriage. As for output, typed characters on the Optima are precisely aligned and the typeface has a nice boldness to it that makes reading easy.

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