Judging by the name of the company, Glorious PC Gaming Race takes PC gaming pretty seriously.
We’ve talked about this Utah-based company before, and have reviewed a few of their keyboard and mouse accessories. They’re relative newcomers to the scene (founded in 2014) and primarily focus on high-quality, competitively priced products.
They recently developed the Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard that you can pick up here for $130. It’s a solid high-end offering, and is definitely bringing something new and exciting to the increasingly crowded mechanical keyboard market.
We also received their Glorious Wooden Keyboard Wrist Rest ($30), so we thought we’d pair the least mechanical thing around (a block of wood) with the new keyboard and see how they fare together.
This company has a pretty good track record so far, but let’s see how their most ambitious products yet stack up.
The GMMK is a standard layboard mech and completely free of any kind of branding or logos, which I think is awesome.
The aluminum frame feels solid and sturdy at 2.1 pounds, and the rounded, chamfered edges give it a more approachable aesthetic then some of the more aggressive keyboards you see marketed toward gamers.
The high quality braided USB cable can be passed through the center or sides underneath the chassis. The cable is not removable, which is surprising given the modular function of the rest of the board. There’s no USB passthrough for mouse or other accessories.
The style has surface-mounted switches rather than the sunken models on standard keyboards. Surface switches means cleaning is much easier.
There’s also a key puller included, stored beneath the chassis near the near the flip out feet. I’ve lost more key pullers than I can count, and though I’m sure I’ll find a way to lose this one too, good for GPCGR for doing everything they can to make sure I don’t.
The design of the keyboard is super clean, almost minimalist, with a no-frills efficiency that accentuates the quality of the build. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, but it’s executed remarkably well.
For those of us who like to keep things simple, this keyboard is a fantastic option.
We’re looking at a standard 104 key ANSI layout here, with keycaps made from double-shot ABS plastic. The clickety-clack feels really nice, and after extended use I’m quite happy with the comfort and resistance levels. Of course, if you don’t like them, there’s nothing to stop you from swapping them out. Customization is the name of the game here.
There are no extra keys on this board, no independent volume control or macro keys to clutter up the face, though a few extra actions are mapped to the function key. The only thing that really stands out is the rather cheeky Esc button; it’s red instead of black, and reads “Ascend.” Ok guys, we get it. It’s a bit too cute for my tastes, but they included a standard key as well, so it’s an easy fix.
The font is legible and looks perfectly fine whether backlit or not. Some of the keys do look a little crowded, mostly the ones with secondary functions printed in white beneath the primary.
The RGB is a nice touch, and the included lighting options are easily switched using the function key. My personal favorite is “K-Effect” which subtly shifts each key from color to color as though it were a smoldering fire. This obviously has no effect on performance, but the option for RGB control is more or less expected at this price range unless you’re looking at super specialized typing experiences (think Topre).
Though it lacks the full key-by-key customization of a company with a software suite, the color options are more than sufficient for my taste.
So, just what the hell is a modular keyboard?
It’s just what it sounds like. It means you can replace any or all of the switches without any soldering or wiring expertise required. This is definitely keyboard-enthusiast level stuff here, but that’s exactly who the brand is targeting.
The GMMK ships with Brown Gateron switches, which are essentially Cherry clones. Even if you don’t get around to swapping out the switches, these Gaterons are a solid choice.
The good news is that this means pretty much any Cherry switch will fit so, regardless of your preference, this keyboard could theoretically last you a VERY long time.
I swapped out the Browns for a set of Gateron Clear switches, which are different than Cherry clears. Cherry clears are heaviler browns (tacticle) while the Gateron clears are linear and smooth with easier actuation than reds or blacks. Reds are 45g while the clears are 35g.
Switching switches is not difficult – you can use the included switch puller to push in the tabs on each switch and just lift it out. Installing the new switches was even easier, simply pop them in. Be careful though; it’s easy to bend the pins when you install the new switches. Fixing them just means bending them back with a pair of tweezers.
The idea of being able to customize switches without having to buy a new keyboard is obviously compelling, and the fact that you can use almost any Cherry, Gateron, or Kalih alternative is pretty sweet. I can’t imagine a situation (switchuation? Can I say that?) where you’d want more than one type of switch on the same board at once, but if you’re super thrilled about having your WASD be Browns while the rest of the keys are Kalih Blues or whatever, this keyboard will allow you that flexibility.
Pretty cool stuff.
This is certainly a high-performance keyboard, and there’s no doubt that being able to switch switches on the fly is awesome, but I’m unclear on what makes this a “gaming” keyboard. The lack of any gaming functionality (think macro keys) is somewhat mystifying on something built by a company calling themselves the Gaming Race.
I have no trouble whatsoever using the GMMK for Overwatch or WoW, but I don’t see how it lends itself any more to gaming than any other Gateron switch board. If you're looking for a keyboard with high level gaming functionality, you’ll probably want to go with another option.
The $29 Glorious Wooden Wrist Rest is a very interesting addition to the keyboard.
This unconventional wrist rest is constructed with a beautifully cut piece of white ash. It’s treated with an oil and sweat resistant coating, though after extended use it did seem to collect some oil from my skin. This has forced me to realize that I need to eat more vegetables.
It comes in two colors: golden oak and ash. As you’ve probably already figured out, this is the ash version we have here. It also comes in three sizes: standard, tenkeyless, and compact for those of you who like tiny keyboards.
There are two rubber pads glued firmly to the bottom of this wrist rest, so there’s no chance of it sliding around.
At 25mm tall, it was a pretty good fit for the GMMK. It’s a perfect match widthwise. The wrist rest is a little bit taller than the keyboard so you end up with gravity on your side, which is a nice change for my cramping wrists.
It’s a little weird using a wooden wrist rest at first, I’m not gonna lie. I’m used to foam or gel, and while initially I wasn’t sold on the harder surface, I grew not only used to it but to prefer it. The grip of the wood keeps my hands nice and stable, and there’s no denying it made my desk look way classier.
Also, the quality is much better than the earlier Glorious foam rest that has, since our first review, come apart -- the stitching doesn't go all the way to the rubber base. The glue holding the rubber came off, and the inside cardboard and foam became exposed.
We're told the updated foam version has stiching that goes all the way through to the rubber to prevent separation.
While we only had the wood model for a few weeks, it's essentially a fancy block of wood, so we can't imagine quality issues popping up.
Aesthetically, the keyboard and wrist rest pair well; the wood and the stark metal work together for a really neat mesh of old and new materials.
If you want a straightforward, well-designed, attractive, and highly functional board for typing, browsing, and some gaming, you’ve come to the right place. It’s a perfectly fine keyboard even without it, but the modular functionality sets it apart in a profound way.
The option to be able to change out the switches provides flexibility and longevity that is hard to overstate. GPCGR claims that you’ll never need another keyboard again, and though I’m not sure I’d go that far, I could certainly see using this keyboard for daily use.
The glorious wooden wrist rest is a pretty awesome addition to any desk, but it pairs particularly nicely with the GMMK. Time to class up your rig.