Mechanical keyboards are aplenty in the market. There’s a fair amount of thought that goes into both building one as well as choosing one for your needs. The biggest USP of the Glorious GMMK mechanical keyboard is that it not only allows you to swap out the keycaps, but also the switches, as well. And that’s on a per-key basis, so you can have an assortment of switches across the keyboard and all will work harmoniously together.
This level of customization is quite unparalleled and something no other competing brand offers so far. What’s even better is that the GMMK is priced at $109.99, undercutting most of its competitors for the features and value it provides.
Suffice to say, if you want a no-frills mechanical keyboard that’s solidly built and plays well, the GMMK is the keyboard to get. After using it for a few weeks, we can confidently say it comes as close to being the perfect mechanical keyboard as possible.
Design and Features
The GMMK (or Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard) is as simple as a keyboard can get. It’s a rectangle slab of luxuriously finished aluminum topped with raised keycaps that makes it slightly easier to clean. The keyboard comes in three different flavors, namely Full-Size, Tenkeyless, and Compact frames. They all can be customized with different switches and keycap combinations to tailor the board to your liking.
We received a full-size keyboard with ABS keycaps and Gateron Brown switches. The keyboard is free of any logo branding on the top, and instead places it behind the keyboard, out of sight. Along with the logo, you’ll also find a switch puller attached to the back, making it easy to carry it around and store instead of reaching for the box every time you want to tinker around with it.
The only bit of pop on the otherwise muted black keyboard is the red Ascend key that comes pre-installed instead of the regular ‘Escape’ key. We like the look of it, but GMMK realizes that it might not be up to everyone’s taste and has included a regular, black ABS Escape keycap if you want to swap it out. The red Ascend key gives the keyboard a unique look for sure, but it also doesn’t allow the RGB light to pass through which kills the uniformity of the keyboard.
Speaking of RGB, yes, the GMMK is fitted with a nice set of LEDs although they do not get very bright – at least compared to other brands like Razer. Most of the RGB can be customized right from the keyboard (you can change color, effects, direction, etc), but if you want more options, you can download the optional software from the official website.
The lighting shines through the caps quite clearly but again, it is comparatively duller than other RGB setups I have seen. So, if you want a keyboard to match the RGB bling of your other peripherals, the GMMK might not be an ideal match.
The build quality of the keyboard is immaculate. There is no flex or any creaking sounds, and it feels durable and sturdy in-hand. The only knock we have against the design is that the USB cord is hardwired into the keyboard, unlike the Compact variant of the GMMK.
There isn’t a USB passthrough either, nor dedicated media keys, which we are okay with not having – especially in this price range – but might be a deal breaker for some.
Coming from a Logitech mechanical keyboard with Cherry Blue switches, the Gateron Brown switches on the GMMK seemed like we suddenly received a 20% extra boost in speed. The Blue switches, while extremely tactile and noisy, were also quite laborious to type with and build up any sort of speed. The brown switches are comparatively smoother and fast, and in our weeks of use, they never let up. The ABS caps are nice to type on as well, and each of the caps are cleanly cut and feature a uniform look all-around.
The stencil-like typeface on the keycaps is a bit of a hit and miss, as such a font is usually found on no-brand, budget keyboards. However, GMMK seems to make it work somehow and it doesn’t give off budget vibes at all. Of course, your mileage may vary and you might just want to order another style of keycap or get your favorite kind from elsewhere.
That’s the true appeal of a GMMK keyboard – it’s fully customizable and interchangeable. so you can buy any switches or keycaps – even from other websites – and use it with this board. In fact, you can also order a plain board for $59.99 and bring your own hardware to deck it up.
If you don’t like the pre-built setup of Gateron brown switches and ABS black keycaps, GMMK offers several customization options to build your own keyboard. You can select the size of the keyboard, choose between a variety of switches (Gateron Black / Blue / Brown / Clear / Green / Red, or Kailh Black / Brown / Red / White / Bronze / Copper / Silver / Purple), select the style of keycaps, and even add O-ring dampeners to adjust the level of noise of the keyboard. Even if you customize the GMMK with the most expensive options, the total price never exceeds more than $130, which is still quite reasonable for what you are getting.
There is an important thing to note about shipping. While GMMK ships across the United States, things are a bit more complicated for certain international shipments. The website has a handy list of countries that are difficult to ship to, so it’s worth checking first if you can get your order shipped directly or will have to use a freight forwarding company instead.
Should I buy the Glorious GMMK Keyboard?
Buy it if…
You need a fully modular keyboard
The GMMK allows you to install any kind and type of switch on any of its keys, making it one of the most versatile keyboards in the market and making it last even longer.
You’re on a budget
For $109.99, the GMMK is a solidly built keyboard that plays nicely, and definitely costs less than other mechanical keyboard offerings.
Don’t buy it if…
You want more RGB
The RGB lighting on the GMMK isn’t as bright as other gaming keyboards, so if you want your keyboard to be a shining beacon on your desk, this might not be the one for you.
You want to control your media
If having dedicated volume and play/pause buttons on your keyboard is a must, then the GMMK won’t fit the bill.