Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
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While many of our readers may be unaware that PC users have a whole culture who delve much deeper into mechanical keyboard than one would even think possible. There is a whole other part of the mechanical keyboard market, where you can buy curly cables, PCBs, switches, keycaps, and all other components down to the very last detail. We have also seen, over the years, a small handful of manufacturers who have gone to retail with keyboards which could have the switches changed, but up until now, the basic rule was that only one specific switch manufacturer could be used!
If you are going to name a company the Glorious Pc Gaming Race, you have already raised the bar without even a single product on paper; users will expect the best of the best from a company ballsy enough to make such a statement without them saying a single word! With only the Model O to base an opinion on, when it comes to mice, it has become our default, go-to mouse when not testing another mouse, and still wanting to perform to our best ability in-game. We expect the same sort of attention to detail with their keyboards as well.
The features it delivers, such as a compact size for it being a 104-key layout, the sandblasted exposed top plate, the use of double-shot keycaps, and amazingly, some of the most user-friendly software with plenty of customization offered within it. All of that, combined with the fact that Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh 3-pin switches, and slightly modified Zealios switches can all be inserted into this PCB.
In the Glorious Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard or the GMMK, there are many ways to configure and obtain this product. You can buy it in 104-key, TKL, and Compact (60%), with switches and keycaps already installed. You can also order the same three models without switches or caps, plus there are more customizations available. There are fourteen switches choices that Glorious will install on the board before shipping, although switch types can be limited by the form factor of the chosen keyboard.
You also select white or black keycaps or their Aura counterparts, and there are also four O-ring choices. We are about to see something truly unique, based on a model that has worked for years in the custom mechanical keyboard realm, but this time with much less limitation than previous similar solutions we have seen!
In the chart we borrowed from the product page of the GMMK, they start things off with the fife prominent features. We discussed the hot-swappable switches’ full modularity, but we did pass by the RGB LED backlighting. Many of the keys offer dual functionality for hot-keys, the exposed aluminum plate is sandblasted for a textured finish, which is a raised key (exposed switch) minimalist design.
The model we have is the GMMK-BRN-V2, which, when deciphered, is the name of the keyboard, the color of the Gateron switches, and is version two. Our model came pre-built, but we have covered the optional bits added to a barebones version. The keycaps on our model are black and have secondary functionality painted on some of the keys. Stabilizers are included, even with barebones models, and this version is a 104-key, QWERTY ANSI layout.
Anti-ghosting is built-in, you have 6-Key or NKRO options, and you can adjust the polling rate up to 1000 Hz. The RGB lighting is capable of nearly 16.8 million colors, and there is an attached six-foot, braided cable. The hot-keys are listed by name, right before we see the 440mm width, 129mm depth, 35.9mm thickness, and its 940-gram weight.
System requirements say that users will need a USB 2.0 port to connect the keyboard for functionality. We like that not only anything since XP is supported for Windows, but Mac OS and Linux are also supported, with some minor limitations. What is not mentioned is that you will also need an internet connection to obtain the software to customize the keyboard beyond what is available through dual-functionality.
In our brief search for the Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard, we found that the keyboard is available from Glorious in the form we have it, or with custom options, although to piece this keyboard together as we have it, the price shifts from $109.95 for the model we have, versus the same thing done through the custom menu. However, for those looking for the barebones versions, they are just $59.99, plus anything else is priced a la carte.
We also found the GMMK on amazon, but of course, you cannot get the custom versions there, but the price with the GMMK is $109.99 there. In an overall sense, we have seen similar keyboards without options sell for this sort of money. To get what Glorious has set forth with the GMMK, we feel it will take a major catastrophe for us not to like it!
Chad’s Peripherals Test System Specifications
Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation
Using black on white as the backdrop for the front panel of the keyboards packaging, Glorious displays quite a bit of information here. At the top, we see the Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard name with the model number and switch type listed below it, while on the right is the logo for the Glorious PC Gaming Race. On the large white section, a blanked out rendering of the GMMK is seen above features like the RGB LED backlighting, the 104-key layout, use of brown switches, the black aluminum body, and the keycaps are all mentioned before we see an exploded diagram of how the fully modular switches work.
On one of the longer sides of the box, we find the keyboard’s color and the use of Gateron brown switches listed at the left, before running onto the name of the keyboard. At the other end, we do not see the Glorious logo and full company name.
The nest panel is one of the small side panels, and here we see simply a rendering of the right edge of the keyboard with the feet extended, with another exploded diagram of the modular switches.
The second long side of the box lists five features that we have covered a few times now but is followed by what comes in the box. We get a keyboard, keycap puller tool, switch puller tool, and “Ascend” keycap for the ESC key, and a manual.
The last thin side of the box o0ffers the model name and that it comes with Gateron brown switches pre-installed. Below is the bar code with a company reference number, as well as some naming under that. To the right, we see where to go for more Glorious gear.
The back of the packaging starts, at the left, with a specifications chart, with the site address in large letters, along with social media links. To the right is the story behind the GMMK, what it offers, and how to achieve “the ultimate customized keyboard.”
When the box is initially opened, there isn’t all that much to see. This is due to the use of foam to wrap the keyboard and the fact that there is a plastic dust cover on top of the foam. We can see a bit of the cable at the back, where the other goodies are found, but the literature is under the keyboard. What we can say is not only is our GMMK in perfect form; it has to be the cleanest, dust-free keyboard we have ever seen fresh out of the box!
In a few smaller bags, found by lifting the folded cardboard behind the keyboard, we found this set of accessories in the box. At the top is the switch puller tool, with an escape key to replace what comes on the keyboard, and a Glorious logo for the function key, or any similar sized key on the keyboard. We are also sent an extra set of feet for the keyboard, and even a set for the extendable feet! On top of that, you also get a Glorious PC Gaming Race sticker to place anywhere you see fit.
The literature we fund comes in the form of a product placement insert, showing off some of the other things offered to go along with the GMMK. On the right, we get a guide on how to replace the switches on the keyboard, where the guide covers the secondary functionality to ensure users know how to take advantage of what the GMMK has to offer.
Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard
Looking at the left edge of the GMMK, we see a bright red keycap followed by five black ones; we can see all of the switches, which are just above a polished angle exposed in the matte black aluminum plate. The aluminum continues down the side of the frame, and a thin plastic lower portion of the frame seen under it.
The seventy keys that take up two-thirds of this 104-key layout use cylindrical double-shot keycaps with the legends left transparent for light passage. We also see quite a few keys that have secondary functionality painted on the keycaps, and the font is stencil-like in appearance.
The bright red keycap says ASCEND on it, but it does not make you float. It is still an escape key. Starting off the dual-layered functions, you must hold the functions key, and pressing F1 opens my PC, and F2 opens the default browser. Still holding the function key, F3 opens the calculator, and F4 opens Groove Music.
F5 begins the multimedia keys, where it can be used to select the previous track. F6 is the play/pause button, F7 selects the next track, while F8 stops what was playing.
The F9 key continues with the multimedia functionality, where it mutes the volume. F10 lowers the volume, and F11 raises it. In the pair below, the one on the left changes the flow from moving right to move left, and the RGB button is used to select one of the eight default static colors or the rainbow mode.
The thirty-four keys we have left at the right end of the GMMK cover the command keys, the arrows, the inconspicuous lock indicator LEDs, and the number pad with an extra set of arrow keys.
On the command keys, at the top, you can swap from 6-Key to NKRO, where the six below them are used to select various modes of RGB LED effects.
The right edge of the GMMK is a near mirror image of what we found at the left. This time, we have extended the feet, increasing the attack angle on the keys for ergonomic usage.
For those that have the notion they may want to travel with the GMMK, you have everything needed to make that easier. The keyboard is already light enough, but it helps that there is a hook and loop strap on the cable and the tethered dust cover for the gold-plated connector at the end of this six-foot-long, attached, braided cable.
The view of the keyboard’s underside shows how thin it is across the front edge, and it does not get thicker until well near the back of the keyboard. There is a cable routing groove offered at the back, four rubber feet are keeping it in place, and the product sticker is centered but offset towards the front and contains the serial number.
The feet on the bottom flip open to the back of the keyboard. But the lock is solid and tough to collapse accidentally. We also see that the bottom frame component is molded to allow for the keycap puller tool to clip onto the plastic, so it is always ready at a moment’s notice.
Inside the GMMK
The keycaps shipped with the GMMK are made of ABS plastic but are double-shot with the injection molding. The first shot of ABS is very near clear so that light passes easily through them, and when those are cooled, they are molded with black to set the legends and deliver the exterior color.
We find a full set of Gateron brown switches with transparent tops under our keycaps, and the LEDs are at the PCB level, not part of the switch. These switches are tactile, but not clicky, and require 45-grams of force to actuate them. The larger keycaps use built-in stabilizers with helper studs, which come on the barebones models as well.
If you look closely at the switches, there is a tab at the top and bottom edge4s, which can be pressed inward, using the switch puller tool like a pair of tweezers. Lifting it straight up, the switch comes out, exposing the two pin connection that needs to be made with the PCB. The hold in the PCB is to allow the switch its travel depth while keeping a lower profile.
Losing count at somewhere around a dozen screws, we removed them all to look at the guts of the GMMK. The lower portion of the frame is a thin layer of plastic with only standoffs to support the PCB, but there is a layer of foam to help take up the gap, as it is a tough thing to do to short the PCB out on a plastic frame. The lowest portion is the underside of the PCB, where we found the USB cable is taped to the PCB to keep it in place.
Since this is a modular design, there are not standard soldering points, but rather a socket to accept the switches, with precision soldering done on either side of them. There are no signs of flux, and even where dust is concerned, there was very little found.
The MCU of choice is the Vision VS11K13A, and while it has been used in a couple of other manufacturers’ keyboards, there is little information on these processors in the wild. Base on functionality alone, it should be at least 16-bit, but if we had to bet, we would put money on it being 32-bit.
We have seen a lot since we last looked at the dust cover, but for those who despise dirty keyboards or have to leave it out for a while without use, this is a handy addition. It can also be used for shipping with a rubber band around both it and the keyboard to help protect the top while traveling.
With power now running to the GMMK, we initially saw a white snake running around the outside and circled closer to the middle until each key has been lit in white LEDs. After that finishes, you are given the rainbow of colors moving slowly from right to left. We had to dim the lights and lengthen the shutter speed to get this amount of RGB lighting. In the real-world, the GMMK has a weak intensity, in our opinion.
GMMK Keyboard Editor
There are specific software versions listed by the year the keyboard was built on the downloads page, but there was no listing for their 2019 produc5ts, so we opted for the highest version of the GMMK Keyboard Editor and hoped for the best. Once installed and opened, we can see the main menu screen. You select a profile to start programming at the top-right, while below, you can get started with the lighting.
We are currently using Wave #1 as the effect, bet we also see a color dropdown box for static options, a brightness slider, and options for the speed and effect direction. Below the real-time view of the keyboard, there is a spot to change the polling rate or restore the default settings at the left, while at the right is the OK button to move on, the cancel button, as well as the apply button to set your changes to the selected profile.
There are nineteen effects or custom modes that can be applied to the lighting. Some of the modes are trippy to watch, but much of what is offered is similar to others, except those like Acid Mode, Kamehameha, and Glorious Mode.
Still, in the main menu, we clicked on the space bar, which turned it red, and a sub-menu opens to give you options to customize it. You can reassign another key, disable keys, set a Macro to it, or any of the Media functions we have listed in the dropdown menu. This goes for all keys on the GMMK.
The last bit has to do with the Macro menu, where we are impressed with the level of control we get. You can name the Macro, click on the record box, and insert the commands. You can edit on an individual action bases, add delays, import, export, and even set the number of times it is applied per single keypress.
Gaming and General Impressions
DOOM Eternal & PUBG
When it comes to gaming, there is nothing that stood out as an issue. Even with similar weighting to reds, with the tactile bump in the middle, you can at least tell when your pinky collapses the shift key, or your thumb actuat3es the space bar, so it is much less of a shock when it happens. Movement is handled well, whether, in the faster-paced DOOM Eternal or stealth-fully making your way into the next circle, there was never a time where the keyboard failed us! Much of the dual functionality does not help much while gaming, but with the remapping, disabling keys, and use of the Function and Windows key to activate the Game Lock Mode, it does lend itself well to the gaming arena.
You still have the Macros to help with your next raid or whatever MMO battle you may have. We do with the lighting was more intense, as we game in complete darkness except for what glow we get from the screen. In what we are used to seeing from Corsair, Logitech, and HyperX, it is much easier to see any of them in the dark than it is with the GMMK. However, we also have a keyboard that glows feet away from the keyboard, but we feel a happy median that Glorious seems to have missed.
At no time during gaming did we collapse the feet, even if we needed to move the keyboard back, they were steadfast. We also like that the profiles are stored onboard, so if you do game at a buddies place, but want to take your peripherals, you are ready to go without needing to obtain the software on another PC.
Windows and Productivity
As to the daily grind, while similar in specifications to a red switch, after writing a couple of reviews and some time at the desk, while it may be placebo, these Gateron browns are more of a silent version of blue switches by feel, and our forearms would agree that more pressure has been needed since we jumped onto the GMMK. In all of the time, we have put into the GMMK, we have found no numbness of our fingertips or any other vibration signs. Even though the lower portion of the frame is thin and plastic, the way the plate is designed, this GMMK is solid as a rock and a terrific addition to our desk.
When it comes time to work with the GMMK under your hands, hot-keys come into play, where you can open your browser, folders, or Groove Music to keep the momentum going. The multimedia keys come into play after that, and again, we would much rather keep our hands-on the keyboard than to reach for the mouse whenever possible, and the GMMK takes care of all of these without any hassle involved.
Keep in mind, this is just one setup, and the assessment based on the default configuration. With the options found on-site, anyone can pick a setup that not only has the perfect switches for you but opting for the Aura keycaps can also increase the amount of RGB lighting that emanates from the GMMK.
When it comes down to the basics, the GMMK delivers a mechanical keyboard a step ahead of anything else we have gotten our hands-on. It functions with anti-ghosting and NKRO, which will keep even the fastest typists from moving faster than what the keyboard can process. The minimalist design takes up as little space as possible for a 104-key keyboard, and looks amazing with the sandblasted matte black finish contrasting with the polished edge line and that bright red ASCEND keycap!
Without even adding in the GMMK keyboard editor software, you have plenty of control to find a color that suits you. You can adjust the RGB intensity without software and even pick from six effects. The only thing missing is a push-button Macro editor, and you could do almost anything the software has to offer.
Whether gaming or used in an office environment, the lack of a click is better for anyone on voice chat, but there is still a bit of a clack heard as the switches collapse, which may drive office mates a bit crazy, or maybe they are jealous, but that is for you to decide! Without the red ASCEND keycap, there is nothing sporty or game-oriented in its design, which makes this a much more universal solution than those with fancy add-ons like G-keys or detachable bits that do not need to come off of a keyboard in the first place.
What you have here is a brilliant base system that Glorious will gladly send you, pre-assembled, for a bit of a discount, but we love that they not only offer a ton of options, but the ability to swap switch brands is unheard of to us. Being able to pick Kailh, Gateron, Cherry MX, and Zealios switches, and being able to get all of these options in Windows Mac OS, and Linux is more icing on the cake.
While we feel that the lighting needs to be brighter, you can opt for another set of keycaps, whether from Glorious or from another source, and even with that additional cost, you are still getting a great deal. We feel that lighting is just one aspect, and the GMMK delivers so strongly everywhere else that we won’t be killing them with the score for this one personal opinion.
Considering what we have just looked at will cost you only $109.99, it is very hard to find a reason to persuade you to look somewhere else. For those who take customization to the extreme, the Glorious PC Gaming Race is equipped to satisfy your needs. If you want the barebones version, you only need to shell out $59.99, and with the most expensive custom configuration with Aura keycaps, Kailh switches, and O-rings, the total is still just $136.96.
We feel you cannot make a wrong choice opting to look to the GMMK as your next keyboard. With the ability to change to nearly all of the mainstream 3-pin switches, and being the one part of a keyboard that fails before the rest, investing in the Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard will pay off in the long run, knowing that it is unlikely to run out of all four switch types that can be replaced as you beat the ever-living snot out of it over the years to come!