Keyboard, Opinion

New GMK Keycap Sets Now Shipping in 2023 – Worth Waiting?

The custom keyboard hobby requires a lot of patience, and this is especially true for keycap sets. Well, more specifically, GMK keycaps. In fact, a couple of GMK sets in group buy right now will only start shipping in Q1 2023 – that’s a really, really long wait.

So with that in mind, is it really worth waiting so long just for a keycap set? Well, it depends. But for some folks (myself included), the wait will be well worth it…assuming you like the particular set. If you’re still on the fence to join a group buy for a GMK keycap set right now, read on!

You’ll Get a Superior Typing Experience

Despite the (frankly ridiculous) long wait for GMK sets, they really are some of the highest-quality keycaps in the market. They feel great right out of the box, they have a nice, clacky sound profile – though some may not be a fan of this – and their double-shot nature means that the legends will stay sharp and crisp even after years of use.

That being said, GMK sets are also prone to shine with prolonged use; they are made from ABS plastic, after all. While most consider this to be a negative, I personally quite like it, especially if the shine is even across all keys. I mean, a shiny GMK set can look really good.

But if you want a keycap set that is more resistant to shine, look for ones made from PBT plastic, such as CRP and ePBT sets. Although these two keycap brands are not quite as popular as GMK – or as colourful – they are of really good quality.

Speaking of which, that brings us to the next point..

GMK Sets Look Fantastic

This is arguably the best reason to go for a GMK set. Unlike other keycap makers, GMK makes some of the most colourful and iconic keycap sets in the market. Just to name a few, there’s GMK Striker, GMK Botanical, and GMK DMG, which is currently in its third round of group buy.

If you have a particular colour scheme in mind, there’s a good chance a GMK set that fit exactly what you have in mind was released at one point in time. But whether or not you had the opportunity to join the group buy is an entirely different thing – most GMK sets are only open for pre-order for about a month.

The Value Will (Almost) Always Appreciate

The limited availability of GMK sets (and very long waiting times) is the very reason why they are much more expensive in the aftermarket scene. After all, the moment a group buy closes for a particular GMK set, it will not be available for purchase anymore until the set starts shipping to customers.

These customers can then sell these GMK keycaps at a higher price to make up for the long fulfilment time and overall scarcity of these sets. Granted, vendors will have extras for sale too, but these extra sets also command a certain premium over the original asking price, not to mention the fact that they sell out very quickly.

This can be a point of frustration, especially to those who are new to the custom keyboard hobby. But this is the reality of it: if you want a GMK set without the long waiting time, you’ll have to be prepared to pay more.

Of course, there is an exception to this. Drop, for one, regularly restocks certain GMK sets, but choices are limited. On top of that, given that these sets are (mostly) readily available, they don’t have particularly good resale value either, which…isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending on who you ask.

You “Just” Have to Wait an Obscenely Long Time

There’s a reason why GMK keycap sets are so sought-after in the hobby: they simply make some of the best keycaps in the custom keyboard scene. The only real big shortcoming with GMK sets is the ridiculously long waiting time; a common issue in this hobby, unfortunately enough.

Take GMK DMG, which just entered its third round of group buy. Right now, the popular keycap set is set to start shipping in Q4 2022 – that’s a whole year away. If you want other GMK sets like GMK Firefly or GMK Pepperoni, well, these two sets are only expected to start shipping in Q1 2023.

It’s worth noting that these timelines may be affected by future delays on GMK’s side. As it is, many GMK sets are delayed by the current COVID-19 pandemic. It’s anyone’s guess if the manufacturer will be affected by more delays in the next year or so.

Nonetheless, GMK keycap sets are still very desirable in the custom keyboard hobby for their high quality, vibrant colour schemes, and limited availability. If there’s any GMK set in group buy right now that you like, it’s best to get in on it before it’s too late – you don’t want to be kicking yourself for missing it out in the future.