The GMMK Pro made a splash with its official announcement in early November.
As one of the first keyboards to truly push all of the right buttons, the GMMK Pro is a must-buy for many.
The keyboard is available for pre-order now and plans to ship out in Q1 of 2021 for a price of $169.99.
As a barebones board, you’ll have to buy the keycaps and switches separately and assemble it yourself. Making for a fun DIY project – but also more expensive than the ticket price.
So, why exactly is everyone so worked up about this keyboard?
Let’s take a look.
What’s So Special About The GMMK Pro?
The GMMK Pro comes with a long list of features that have traditionally only been available with higher-end options out there.
While not a cheap option, the $169.99 price tag is quite affordable if you’ve been around the keyboard scene for any length of time.
The gasket mount plate design, screw-in stabilizers, south-facing switches, and compact 75% layout are enough to make a keyboard nerd start sweating.
And make a normal person scratch their heads in confusion as to what that even means.
Here is a quick(ish) outline of the different features and what that means for you:
Gasket-mount plate: The plate and PCB is mounted to the case with rubber gaskets that change the profile of the sound and feel. The GMMK Pro should be quieter and softer than traditional style keyboards due to this design.
75% layout: The layout of the keyboard is quite unique. Most keyboards come in either tenkeyless or full-sized, but Glorious opted for a slightly smaller size without the standard navigational cluster. Many are surprised they went for 75% instead of 65%.
CNC Aluminum case: The case will be heavy, sturdy, and rigid with the aluminum case. This is the biggest driver in the high cost of the keyboard, but will add a luxury feel to the board.
Screw-in stabilizers: Screw-in stabilizers are smoother and more secure than normal plate-mounted options. This style is quite uncommon on prebuilt keyboards but very welcome. The stabilizers will come pre-lubricated which will result in less rattle and a smoother keystroke.
South-facing LED lights: With specific keycap types, north-facing LEDs can cause rubbing issues. South-facing is a solution that makes the keyboard more compatible with a wide variety of options.
Programmable knob: A knob is included that will default to controlling the volume. According to Glorious, this will be programmable with different functions.
RGB & sidelighting: What kind of keyboard would it be without RGB lighting? The side lighting is also a nice touch for those who enjoy a shiny setup.
VIA & QMK Compatible: The open-source firmware will be compatible with the GMMK Pro, making it easy to change up the layout. This is very welcome on a pre-built keyboard.
GloriousCore Software: Not much info on this yet as it’s still in the works. Should be interesting to see what sort of power is behind this software.
Hot-swappable: The hot-swap sockets will allow you to easily change between switches without soldering. This makes this keyboard a great option for those still experimenting to find the perfect switch.
Braided cable: The power cable will be detachable and braided making it more durable.
Detached arrow keys: One of my favorite features is the detached arrow keys. Instead of being smushed in with the rest of the keys, they will be slightly spaced apart. This makes it easier to find the arrow keys without looking.
These features really set the keyboard apart from the pack and will require all keyboard manufacturers to up their game in 2021.
The Intense Market Research
Another factor that separates the GMMK Pro is the crazy amount of market research that went into this keyboard.
When most keyboard manufacturers come up with a new design, they look for one or two signature features that will their product an edge.
Whether that be adding hot-swappable sockets, an aluminum frame, or a new layout.
Glorious on the other hand, added a dozen of new features all at once, making this keyboard irresistible.
The amount of research required to come up with something that satisfies the communities desire so well is something other companies will have to learn from or it will hurt their bottom-line.
Give the people what they want and they’ll reward you. Simple as that.
With their finger on their pulse of the keyboard community, Glorious has a significant edge over the competition at the moment.
You can expect in the coming months we’ll see more innovation in the keyboard world than ever before as they attempt to catch up with Glorious.
It’s a really exciting time to be a consumer.
Glorious Is Not Afraid To Step On Toes
If there is one thing Glorious has proven in the past is they are not afraid make waves.
On the coattails of the Glorious Panda release and the explosive response they received from the community, Glorious is back at it again with the GMMK Pro.
As no stranger to creating conflict, Glorious is once again stirring up the pot again.
While the GMMK Pro offers an excellent deal to consumers, there is a cost to this new release. We can expect the terrain of the keyboard markets to change a lot over the next year and this will upset a lot of people.
In the past, this sort of design could only be found through smaller manufacturers in group buys.
Many don’t like how the hobby is starting to transform around buying from bigger companies instead of small manufacturers.
While I can see how this could hurt the hobby, I believe the release of the GMMK Pro is a net good for the keyboard community.
Overall it’s a win-win for the consumer.
Cheaper prices let more people enter the hobby and force smaller manufacturers to innovate further.
Smaller companies will need keep their edge over the larger companies who move slower to meet the markets demands.
If there’s innovation in a certain area, expect it to be felt everywhere – and that’s a GOOD thing.
The fact is, there will always be a group buy market full of new designs and Glorious will be chasing it, because that’s where the money is at.
Many Enthusiasts Don’t Like Glorious
In the keyboard community, there has been a lot of dislike swirling around in regards to the new launch.
Many find the release of the GMMK Pro to be cheapening the hobby and making it more corporate-feeling.
Traditionally, a keyboard that comes with the same features as the GMMK Pro would cost well into the $400-500 price range when purchased through a group buy.
But there could be another factor at play here, severe buyer’s remorse.
Now that the price is nearly half that amount, many enthusiasts feel a bit of regret for paying that much. There is also a hint of contempt that the smaller community who had access to these designs is now much larger.
The exclusivity that came with higher-end keyboards is slowly disappearing and enthusiasts don’t like it.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting exclusive designs and higher-end products.
There is just no denying that the release of the GMMK Pro is accelerating what was already happening to the custom keyboard market, the commonization of exclusive products.
I Would Never Pay That Much For The GMMK Pro. How Will That Affect Me?
You may be thinking, the GMMK Pro is $160. I would never pay that much. This won’t impact me.
On the contrary, the GMMK Pro will have wide-reaching implications for the entire market.
Budget products tend to be a reflection of higher-end products, only they are made to be cheaper.
We’ve already seen some under-$50 keyboards come outfitted with hot-swappable sockets, PBT keycaps, and more.
We can expect many of the features found in the GMMK Pro to slowly trickle down into budget designs.
The next line of budget Chinese mechanical keyboards will attempt to imitate the GMMK Pro, but for a much cheaper price – which will then pressure Glorious to innovate again.
That’s just the way it works.
For those on a tighter budget, expect similar features on cheaper keyboards in the coming year.
We’ve already seen the release of the HK Gaming Galaxy, a 75% hot-swappable aluminum keyboard, launched right after the release of the GMMK Pro.
All for half the price. You can see it’s already happening.
The GMMK Pro is an interesting keyboard with the amount of features packed into a unique layout.
But perhaps what’s more interesting is how the release of the keyboard will change the landscape of the keyboard market as it continues to evolve.
Everything from custom group buys all the way to down to budget keyboards will be impacted by this release.
Let’s just say 2021 should be quite interesting for those who love keyboards.