The cyberpunk-inspired GMK Laser has always been on my radar for sets to check out. It is very different from the beige + sublegend keycap sets I gravitate towards, but I can appreciate when thought has been put into designing a cool custom colorway. While I wasn’t in a good enough financial position to pick up a set during Massdrop’s group buy phase, nor was I willing to pay the absurd >$200 aftermarket that GMK Laser was demanding after that, I was fortunate enough to purchase the Cyberdeck base kit during Massdrop’s Keycap Re-cap for about $140 shipped — an excellent price for a GMK set that I don’t have to wait 4 months for.
This is going to be a shorter review than you would normally be used to from this blog. This is because I feel that my main audience is very familiar with GMK’s shine-prone ABS plastic, amazing base kit compatibility, terrific doubleshot sharpness and use of the best keycap profile in keyboards — Cherry profile. As such, I will just be covering the things that are new in this set and a few of the flaws I noticed.
Personally, I like the GMK Laser’s cyan-on-purple alphas and magenta-on-indigo modifiers A LOT. The colorway is very coherent and the text colors contrast well with the base colors. This makes for an aesthetically pleasing colorway that’s easy to read in any light. While the Laser colorway is composed of 4 very strong colors, it never feels overwhelming.
Having been burned by the GMK Plum group buy and seeing sets like GMK Solarized Dark, making sure the physical set’s colorway match the renders is something of a pet peeve of mine. Fortunately, from my back-and-forth comparison of the physical set and the render on MiTo’s site, the colors look spot on. It seems like Massdrop’s site has some sort of funky compression thing going on, making the colors darker than what MiTo intended. But, it’s always great having a set turn out exactly the way the designer envisioned it.
GMK legend sharpness have always been a hit or miss thing for me. With some GMK sets, there is bleed and mixing of colors at the edges of the legends, which is disappointing considering doubleshot’s supposed reputation of perfect sharpness every time. For GMK Laser, this is a non-issue. In fact, the legends on the set are some of the sharpest I’ve seen on any set period. Look at these edges:
As for the typography, it is very good overall, but not perfect. I do want to preface this section by saying that GMK legends are still consistently better than the ones on most keycap sets out there. As such, the following flaws are just nitpicks, with the most egregious errors contained to the keys supporting non-standard compatibility.
At-a-glance, I noticed that there are many keys in the number row that are misaligned. The ‘6’ key is far too close to the edge compared to the correctly aligned ‘5’ key, the ‘2’ key is rotated clockwise very slightly, and the left part of the ‘8’ key is much thinner than the right. Check out these photos:
The scroll lock key has the worst example of kerning on the keyset, with inconsistent spacing between all the letters:
The one kerning issue I’m still trying to wrap my head around is the one on the 1.5u ‘Control’ key. On the 1.25u version, the typography is pretty much flawless with really good spacing, but the spacing between the ‘O’ and ‘N’ isn’t perfect. I’m no expert on doubleshot, but couldn’t they just copy the molds over for the same words?
Also check the ‘i’ on this 1u shift key LOL:
Overall though, GMK Laser has some of the best legends out there, but falls short with kerning on a few keys here and there.
The ABS plastic keycaps on GMK Laser are the best in the business. GMK has been killing it ever since they started working with designers to come up with custom colorways. They have elevated the original Cherry doubleshot tooling to greater heights and the community is better off with them in it.
The keycaps are nicely textured out of the box and feel soft to the touch. It has a really fine grit to it with just enough texture to create feedback when sliding across it with my fingers. However, as you may know with ABS plastic, that nice texture doesn’t last for long. It usually takes me about 6 months of daily use to wear down the texture, but your mileage may vary.
Another great thing about GMK’s ABS doubleshot is that there are no burrs or dangling plastic bits unlike on PBT keycap sets. All the edges are clean and high quality. Peep these upskirt shots:
The greatest benefit of GMK sets in my opinion is that the long keys are consistently the straightest you can get in the market. On the shorter modifier keys, warp is a non-issue. There is a very slight amount of height-axis warp on the 6.25u spacebar, but it’s very nominal. The 7u is basically perfect.
GMK makes a solid product with their custom ABS doubleshot keysets and this is no different. While some of the products released together with this set are tasteless and cringy, the Laser keycap set itself is excellent and definitely worth the price of entry. With the extra 400+ keysets added in the Re-Cap, the price of GMK Laser has fallen to below $200 — a reasonable price in my opinion for a nice looking set with great compatibility. If you’re into the colorway, go pick one up!