GMMK COMPACT REVIEW. After coming away impressed with the tenkeyless and full-size Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard variants, I knew I just had to get my hands on the Compact edition. After using 60% keyboards on my main PC for over a year now, I have fallen deeply in love with the small form factor. It’s gotten to the point where I want to create my own custom keyboard, but without the headache of sourcing all the parts and learning how to solder. In comes the GMMK Compact with its modular switch setup, allowing me to design my own frustration-free typing experience. This is the Game Revolution GMMK Compact review.
As I noted in my original Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard review for the larger versions, the big unique selling point of the GMMK line is the ability to swap out the switches. This “hot swap” modular design means that users can swap in any switches that use the MX standard. For my testing, I swapped out the included Gateron Browns for Kailh Box Browns. While I love the feel of the Box Browns, it’s good to know that I can try something new later down the line, like NovelKeys Creams, without having to switch out my entire keyboard.
In addition to the modular switches, users can also make the more obvious changes to the keycaps and cable. Glorious already includes some fun “artisan” alternatives for the Escape and Windows keys, and the removable USB-C cable feels like quality, but these can always be swapped out for something more aesthetically pleasing.
Barebones or all-in
One of Glorious’ low-key biggest wins is how customers can choose to go totally barebones with just the GMMK base option. You can drop the keycaps and switches, for a total of $59.99 plus shipping. This is a great price for a foundation that you can then add different switches and keycaps to.
Of course, the barebones option won’t be for everyone, and Glorious does offer a number of great customization options on its website’s keyboard builder. There’s a wide variety of Gateron and Kailh switches, and a helpful guide provides the pros and cons of each switch type.
When it comes to keycaps, I’ve been using the Black Aura pudding variant. These allow for the board’s RGB lighting to shine through. The PBT material is also highly durable and definitely worth the additional $3 over the standard keycaps.
There is also the option of O-rings, which are used to help dampen the sound of the switch. I like to add O-rings to my function keys, while leaving my letters and numbers as is. This slight distinction in feel and sound is satisfying to me, at least!
Though you can do a decent amount of customization on the keyboard itself, without downloading any software, you’ll want to install the Glorious app for further personalization of the lighting and key functions. There are a solid number of lighting presets, though the RGB lighting on the keyboard itself isn’t as brilliant as other boards. Remapping key functions is especially useful on a compact keyboard, as you might be used to a different arrow key placement, etc.
Thankfully the “Fn” functions of keys are printed on the sides of the standard keycaps, meaning you won’t have to reference a manual every time you want to take a screenshot, mute your music, etc.
Is the GMMK Compact too small?
After moving from a full-size to a tenkeyless, I thought I had reached my “endgame” in terms of size. Surely any smaller would just be too small, right? It turns out that 60% is my true sweet spot.
If you can forgo the number pad and dedicated arrow keys, the additional room granted by a Compact keyboard can make a huge difference. It allows you to move your mouse in a wider area, making for fewer mistakes in intense shooters where you might otherwise slam into the side of your board.
The Compact keyboard also means you can bring your arms closer together for a more natural typing and mouse-ing stance. Ergonomics become especially important for those of us who type or game for hours on end.
Again, if you can do without the number pad and dedicated arrow keys, I must urge you to try a 60% keyboard. They can be a genuine game-changer.
GMMK Compact Review | The Final Verdict
Regardless of the size you pick, it’s $109.95 for a GMMK with Gateron Brown switches and ABS keycaps. You can save money by cutting included accessories, or spend more by opting for different switches or keycaps.
For the price, the GMMK Compact is a great introduction to the world of custom keyboards. The hot-swappable switches make it easy to try new switch types, with the additional removal cable and keycaps allowing great opportunities for further customization.
In future additions, I’d like to see improved RGB lighting to make the Aura keycaps really shine, and some work on the minor rattle from the spacebar would make this board stand out. The included keycap puller is also a little harsh, and I would recommend a wire puller instead.
Other than the few small niggles outlined above, the GMMK Compact has impressed me, as it allows for easy customization that will satisfy both heavy typists and passionate gamers with its variety of switch options and unobtrusive size.
Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard review unit was provided by Glorious PC Gaming Race.