Glorious GMMK 2

We put Kim to work building a keyboard - and he actually had fun.

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Glorious Gaming are best known for their mice and pre-built keyboards, but like Keychron, an essential part of their business is that you can build your own keyboard from scratch with whatever switches you want. You can also use a "build it yourself" tool where, just like a car, you put together the keyboard the way you want it with colours and components, and then spit out a complete order form to get it just the way you want it.

Let's be clear, you don't have to do this to save money. Even though Glorious makes things that are quite reasonably priced, such as a wrist rest for £18, a complete GMMK Pro with Fox switches costs £300. It doesn't have to be that expensive, and the basic GMMK 2 chassis without keys, switches or anything else costs £80. Then you just need a set of switches, which will be around £35 if you choose pre-lubricated ones, and then a set of keys for £45 and a cable for at least £8. You can also buy a lot of tools from Glorious too, but actually everything you need is included, and many of the pricier choices are added alternatives that are not necessary. If you buy in this way, a configuration like ours can end up closer to £160, and then suddenly a lot more people can join in.

Glorious GMMK 2
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The GMMK 2 is, almost, a full-size keyboard, it's 96%, so there's a little less space between the keys, but still with double contact on all major keys. It offers full RGB, hot-swappable 5-pin switches and an aluminium top plate. Despite the price, there are pre-lubricated stabilisers for each key, dampening foam on the inside, and of course 1000Hz polling rate is supported. For those who want something a little different, in addition to a white and black variant, there is also a pink one.

Keys come in a number of switch type variations, linear, tactile or clicky. Here we chose the Panda lubricated switches, and you can either buy one bag with enough from the start or buy three bags with 36 in each. The latter is recommended, despite the fact that I think care and attention to detail was taken, I still had seven switches smashed by the end of the day. They can probably be used again after I straightened them, but I didn't dare take the risk and just put in some new ones. Glorious isn't picky, by the way; if you don't like their own, they sell both Kailh and Gateron switches, and for a small fee you can get a trial pack with different types so you don't spend £45 on switches you might not like. We threw in the Panda Tactile, as they provide solid pressure resistance, run a standard MX layout with RGB, require 49g to activate and 60g to depress, so a relatively heavy key, all while using the standard 3-pin layout. There's a solid stem on them by the way, and none broke when keys were fitted. The housing itself is made of a polycarbonate top and nylon bottom, stainless steel springs with nickel plating and a copper top.

Some people might not think G-lube is good enough for these switches. If that's the case, you can get a "lube station" to use your favourite lubricant on the switches - but since it took me over twenty minutes to assemble all the switches, the keyboard case, and then attach the keys, I was happy to proceed without.

The keys come in a myriad of variations, and these are just the ones Glorious offers. We had a set of ash grey available and it was a solid choice. Not all, but most are ABS plastic and double moulded, and those that aren't can be found very cheap. Unfortunately, we didn't get to play with their wrist rests, but they don't cost a lot, so if you're in the market, it's an option. If you want something that looks good, they also sell a wooden version for a lower price. On the other hand, we got one of their spiral cables, which were quite well made, look significantly less messy than normal cables, and even have the classic 5-pin connection, and it all has a braided casing, and it comes in many different colours. Yes, it's an unnecessary £35 to spend, but I actually think it looks really nice, and because much of the cable is spun up in a spiral shape, you can pull a lot on it.

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Glorious GMMK 2

My biggest problem in the process was actually figuring out where the keys should be. A 96% keyboard, at least in this case, had to sit a little differently than usual, and it dragged things out a bit, I might need a dummies guide for those who are only used to playing with 60% and 65% layouts. But otherwise, you can do it all in about twenty minutes.

Should you build your own keyboard because it's cheap? Not if you don't want to. Glorious makes pre-built mechanical keyboards cheaper than what I built this one for. However, it was fun, and if you're a more creative type, you can throw other switches under the WASD and arrow keys, mix keys or whatever you want. And while there are probably a lot of, on paper, identical keyboards out there, this one is unique because it's one that I built and it just gives it a different feel.

It's been fun, and I won't deny that instead of changing the whole keyboard, I'll change keys and maybe switches when I get tired of this setup. It's green in a way, but it still requires some dexterity and I wouldn't call it cheap, but it's a bit a better alternative than buying the same standard keyboard as everyone else.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
overall score
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Glorious GMMK 2

Glorious GMMK 2

HARDWARE. Written by Kim Olsen

We put Kim to work building a keyboard - and he actually had fun.

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