I’ll admit that when I first heard of Glorious PC Gaming Race, I brushed off the company as a joke designed to cash-in on the often embarrassing PC Master Race memes. Starting with a mouse pad and then quickly expanding to offer mice and keyboards, the company has grown considerably in a very short time frame. I was contacted and offered the opportunity to sample and review the company’s GMMK mechanical keyboard. After spending some quality time with it, it would be safe to consider me a full convert to the church of Glorious. The GMMK offers prospective buyers a thoughtfully crafted input device that can be a dependable appliance or a canvas for creativity — all for an asking price that undercuts just about all competitors.
What does GMMK even stand for?
The Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard (or GMMK) offers as much simplicity or customization possibility as any mechanical board on the market. Available in Full-Size, Tenkeyless, and 66% frames, the GMMK can be made to fit in on any desk. It features a nice aluminum frame that allows customers to easily swap out both switches and keycaps. A raised keycap design makes for easy cleaning and an attractive look on the desk. The boards can be ordered with a number of switch and keycap combinations from the Glorious website, allowing mech keyboard enthusiasts to easily acquire a board tailor-made to their preferences.
Glorious also offers a pre-built option for each frame size that comes with black ABS keycaps installed on Gateron Brown switches. I was sent the Full-Size pre-built variant of the GMMK for review consideration. It arrived in a clean white box, packed adequately with the standard manual and a few accessories. The accessory assortment included a keycap puller, switch puller, Glorious PC Gaming Race sticker, and a black ABS Escape keycap (should you want to replace the pre-installed red keycap emblazoned with the word ASCEND. I am not a big fan of the red keycap as I prefer a more uniform look and the red keycap also prevents the RGB backlighting from passing through.
The black sandblasted aluminum faceplate looks great and feels great in-hand. There was no flex on the review sample board and it felt like a sturdy product, a requirement of any mech board enthusiast. A chamfered edge on the faceplate with a polished finish helps to set off the clean look of the board. The cord is hardwired to the board and has a nice braided sleeve. The gold-coated USB connector also comes with an attached plastic cover should the board need to be stored or left out of duty for an extended period of time. As of now, only the 66% models have detachable cables and only with micro-USB termination. It would be great if Glorious can upgrade or offer the option of Type-C cables in the future.
Daily driving with the GMMK
I’ve reviewed a number of mechanical keyboards for the site over the years, but I’ve always remained loyal to my daily driver, an MK Fission with white backlight, Cherry MX Blue switches, and PBT caps. As luck would have it, I unintentionally sent my wonderful MK Fission to sleep with the fishes after I knocked over a glass of water while raging out over a stupid video game. Rest in peace my sweet prince. The GMMK had just recently been delivered, so it was immediately put into action as my #1 board for work and play.
Though there was an adjustment period for me to become acclimated with the new switches and keycaps on the GMMK, the board gives a strong first impression. The lighting was easy to configure right out of the box with no software installation required, though users can find software from the Glorious website that allows for further customization of keybinds, lights, and macros. Unlike the software packages from the big players like Logitech and Razer, the GMMK software was light on resources and did not require me to make an account or connect to a random server on the internet to function.
The Gateron Brown switches were smooth from the first keystroke. I had previously owned a board that used the Gateron Red, but this was the first time I tried one of their switches with any tactile bump. While not as satisfyingly clicky as a Cherry Blue, it is so much quieter and the tactile bump makes touch typing possible. While I prefer PBT keycaps, the ABS caps that come with the GMMK are solid and, with the exception of the red ASCEND cap, were free of burrs from cutting at the factory. I am not a fan of the typeface on the caps with their stencil letter design. It makes them look like one of the super-budget gaming boards and I would prefer a simpler, larger typeface that is easier to parse. The printed legends for alternate key functionality are also less than ideal as I really don’t need to know that the Insert or PageUp keys also change lighting modes after the first day of use. The additional text on the Numpad keys is also unnecessary.
On the underside of the board, you’ll find the only occurrence of Glorious PC Gaming Race branding next to the serial number, which is nice as I definitely would not want it anywhere on the top of the board where it could be seen. The back of the board also holds the keycap puller, making it 5000% less likely to be lost or thrown out. I must also give a shout out to the GMMK for its wonderful textured rubber feet. They feel more substantial than any I’ve seen so far and inspired confidence that I won’t be pushing the board out of position during a firefight, no matter how stupid I get. Finally, you get a channel for the hardwired USB cord that will allow for a bit of cable management to fit your desk layout. The RGB lights work as expected with each of the colors shining through the caps clearly. I prefer white backlighting and noticed that the color drifts between pink and blue over the span of the board. This is true for all RGB boards as they combine all the colors to produce white. Those who want clean, uniform white light are better off buying a board with only white LEDs.
Building the perfect board
As the pre-built model comes configured, the GMMK is a solid choice amongst the sea of mechanical boards. The modular design allows it to become much more should the owner want to go crazy with custom caps or drop in different switches. The Cherry MX-style stems on the included switches will facilitate the grand majority of custom keycaps available on the market and the standard bottom row layout makes shopping for keys relatively simple.
Glorious offers a variety of switches and keycaps on their website so that owners can begin their journey towards the perfect keyboard. Even better, the pricing for said parts is as cheap or cheaper than any other dealer I’ve ever seen online. The GMMK is most certainly not designed as a vehicle to sell high-margin add-ons for the company, which is appreciated. They also sell a switch sampler pack for just $10 that includes one of each switch they stock along with a few types of damper rings, should you want to custom-tailor the sound profile and keycap travel of your board. This sampler pack makes it easy to identify the right type of switch for you and helps to take some of the mystery and guesswork out of mechanical keyboards for novices.
Mech board veterans will find much to like about the custom build option for the GMMK. It is possible to order a fully personalized unit from the factory with options for ANSI or ISO layouts, a full assortment of Gateron or Kailh switches, black or white keycaps (and PBT pudding variants), and the option to pre-install damper rings. It is also possible to order a blank board for as little as $60 should you already have your preferred switches and keycaps on-hand. Even if you fully customize the GMMK with the most expensive options, the total price never exceeds $125. Acquiring a board to your exact specifications at this level of quality for this kind of price is not common.
Are you ready to ascend?
Despite my dislike of the stock keycap typeface and the Glorious branding, I’ll admit to being smitten with the GMMK. While the pre-built variant of the board is not what I would personally order, the custom-built option on the Glorious website has me itching to order a GMMK with Gateron Blues and PBT pudding keycaps. It doesn’t hurt that their board pricing is comparatively low to competing offerings and the full assortment of available accessories and add-ons are currently as cheap as you can find online. I like the extremely light software package (though it may be too bare-bones for serious tinkerers) and ease of configuring the backlights. The GMMK jumps to the top of my shortlist of mechanical boards to recommend to newcomers to the hobby and the Glorious PC Gaming Race now has my attention as a brand to look out for. 9/10 Artisan fish-shaped keycaps
This review is based on hardware provided by the vendor. The pre-built Glorious PC Gaming Race GMMK costs $109.99 as configured and is available directly from the manufacturer's website.
Glorious GMMK keyboard
- Modular design offers a fantastic platform for customization
- Solid build quality
- Affordable upgrades and accessories
- Optional software is lightweight
- Can be built-to-order with Gateron and Kailh switches
- Typeface on keycaps is less-than-desirable
- Hardwired USB cable on Full-Size models, only micro-USB on smaller models
Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Glorious GMMK keyboard review: Click-clack, not wack
finally my own brand of accessories
seems like a pretty good deal.
i dont understand your comment about brown switches, and how and the tactile bump "makes touch typing possible". as far as i understand, touch typing is just being able to type without looking at the keys, and all you need to do that is the little bump on top of the F and J keys... not the bump you feel when pressing the key down
i guess some people use the bump/tactile feeling to know when the key is supposed to be co sidered pressed by the computer... but in practice, for me at least, i just bottom out the key.
The keyboard I just built uses the same hot-swap connections the GMMK does for the switches.
They're surprisingly easy to use, definitely going to them on any future board I make.
I have this keen. It's great, but biggest negatives:
An LED burnt out in it's number key row. :(
Doesn't support pcb mount switches, which is a pain if you're buying it to put, e.g., Helios in it
I can't remember, but I think it's stabilizers aren't the quietest out there
Software doesn't support qmk
Also, I own the mouse. The model O is fantastic. It's such a basic, lightweight mouse it is way better than the junk spyware software bundled with Razer and Logitech devices
Keen keen keeb ugh