Examining the Keyboard

The GMMK-BRN is a very simple-looking mechanical keyboard, with the keycaps floating above a plain metallic frame. The metallic frame has rounded corners and a chamfered edge that creates a chrome color effect. Nothing of particular interest, not even a company logo can be seen on the chassis of the keyboard. The proportions of the keyboard are kept to a minimum for a full-size ANSI model, with the designer hardly sparing a couple of millimeters from the end of the keycap to the edge of the keyboard.

The Glorious GMMK-BRN is a standard 104 keys ANSI layout keyboard with a 6.25× Spacebar and seven 1.25× bottom row keys. The keycaps are made from double-shot ABS plastic and have medium-sized, rounded characters on them. Both the primary and the secondary characters are printed towards the top of the keycap, so as to be well-lit from the LED underneath the switch. Some of the keycaps look strange though, mainly on the numpad, where the large print of the secondary command completely displaces the main character. The keycaps also have a classic cylindrical matte black top but glossy, highly reflective sides.

As the keyboard has no extra buttons, the few advanced features the keyboard offers can be accessed by keystroke combinations. By holding down the FN key, the F1-F4 keys offer quick application start options, the F5-F8 keys basic media controls, the F9-F11 keys volume controls and the Scroll Lock key accesses the lighting options. By default, the ESC key has a reddish keycap that reads “Ascend” and strongly stands out, an awkward (ed: though amusing) choice on a supposedly minimalistic design. The company does supply a standard keycap for the ESC key alongside with the keyboard.

  

 

A keycap puller can be found at the underside of the keyboard. The braided cable can be channeled to exit from the center, the left or the right of the keyboard’s rear, but always from the rear of the keyboard. There are two anti-skid pads and simple height-adjusting feet. There are no USB pass-through ports.

The red backlighting of the GMMK-BRN paired with the glossy keycaps create a strange visual combination, where the illuminated bodies of the switches appear reflected onto the keycaps of the adjacent keys. The characters on the keycaps are very well and evenly lit. With the keyboard fully lit, the characters of the extra functions that are printed mainly on the top row of the keyboard create a slight visual dissonance, as they are printed white and the illuminated characters are red.

Underneath the keycaps we can see the stock switches that the GMMK-BRN comes with, which are Gateron Brown switches with clear bodies. Gateron’s products are a direct copy of Cherry’s, with the only real difference essentially being the market availability and price. These switches can be replaced with any switch from Cherry or their clones. EpicGear EG MMS switches will NOT fit, as their pins are too short. Glorious supplies a full pack of 120 Gateron switches for $35. Note that LED-compatible switches need to be used, or the lighting from the LED beneath the switch may be blocked. The larger keys are supported with Cherry cross-type stabilizers rather than simple wire stabilizers, improving their steadiness and overall feeling.

With the plastic bottom of the keyboard removed, we can see the black PCB attached on the metallic top frame of the keyboard. Plastic supports that hold the pins of key are soldered on the PCB.

The heart of the Glorious GMMK-BRN is a Vision VS11K06A, a microcontroller that we have never seen before and that I can find virtually nothing about online. The same goes for the Vision VS12L02A LED driver found on this keyboard. This however is not a major issue since the GMMK-BRN is a very simple keyboard with virtually no programmability options, so the microcontroller has virtually only one job to do, which is transfer the keystrokes from and to the USB controller.

 

Introduction, Packaging & Bundle Per-Key Quality Testing
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  • kbhakta - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    AnandTech you're go to source for mechanical keyboard reviews. Can't wait to tune in next week, for yet another mechanical keyboard review. Reply
  • dave_the_nerd - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    Did a company really just name itself a sanitized version of r/pcmasterrace/ ? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    This was started by Yahtzee, not Reddit users. Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - link

    That can't be right. Reddit invents everything. Reply
  • dsumanik - Thursday, November 3, 2016 - link

    Lol @ kbhakta

    IKR ... mechanical keyboard reviews pumped out 3 times a week, but months for major industry wide announcements

    On a side note the amount of food crumbs, pubes and pizza grease that will creep underneath this keyboard's keys is truly frightening!
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    It's pretty clever marketing actually. PC gamers are a very diverse group of people from all walks of life that don't always understand how commonplace their hobby really is these days. Some of them might feel lost or disassociated as a result. A company named this way might be an excellent way to give them a sense of uniqueness in much the same way outrageous fashion choices make someone feel special even though it often just moves them from one categorical classification to another in the minds of outside observers. Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    I grabbed this keyboard on Massdrop with the thought of getting back into gaming. I was looking for something with Gateron reds, but reviews suggested that others in my position found the browns to be perfectly fine for gaming, which is an opinion I agree with 100%. The review states that the Gateron Browns are a direct clone of the MX ones, but I think the bump is much closer to the top of the key travel, and the "linearness" of the Gateron Browns is more than satisfactory for gaming.

    This keyboard "replaces" my Code Green, which is not great for gaming in my experience. I break the Code out when I have a lot of typing to do, but this keyboard is perfectly acceptable for day-to-day messaging and Facebooking and such. I didn't really realize how heavy Greens are until I started using Browns; I'm wondering if the Browns might actually be better for RSI. We'll see.

    My one complaint is the way the Winlock switch works. The key is dark when the Windows key is active, and light when it's disabled, and I REALLY WISH it was the other way around. So far I have not found any combination of function keys that changes that behavior. There is a mode that lets you choose which keys are lit up (defaulting to WASD and the arrow keys) but it does not affect the behavior of the Windows key light.

    That being said, every other keyboard I looked at does something similar (or is deficient in some other, worse way). The Code is the only mechanical keyboard that I know of whose layout and behavior are exactly as I want them, but they don't make one with Gateron Reds, so what can you do?
    Reply
  • WorldWithoutMadness - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    IMHO, best for RSI is lubed mx red or gateron red, it is lighter and less resistance (tactile).

    Also change into more ergo shape like mistel barocco or ergodox etc. These 60% ish shape are more suited for typing (not moving your hand to mouse) and full keyboard and mouse combo don't give you good typing posture/
    Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Friday, November 4, 2016 - link

    I originally wanted Gateron reds, like I said, for gaming over everything else, but these Browns are perfectly fine. I don't even feel the bump unless I go slowly and deliberately feel for it. I got this figuring I could get some replacement switches if necessary, but I don't feel the need Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - link

    Bwa ha ha! It wouldn't be funny if it wasn't true. Reply

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