GMK67 with Olivia Keycaps - My Second Mech Build
My second mechanical keyboard build with GMK67, Outemu Brown switches and GMK Olivia Keycaps as well as the experience of getting all the parts delivered to India for a final build
It's been almost 4 years since I got my first mechanical keyboard, the AKKO 3068. I cannot help but think how worth the money that keyboard has been for me. I have written so many lines of code (some of it that earned me money) and yet I just love picking it up everyday and using it.
As much as I love the Akko, I couldn't stop but wander about the GMK Olivia Keycaps. These keycaps had caught my eye a while back while I was scrolling through r/mk and I instantly liked them. So much so that I considered getting them and swapping my current keycaps of the Akko with those keycaps. I was stopped by two things:
Both the above were enough to discourage me from wandering off about using the Olivia Keycaps in a build. That was, until I was scrolling through Etsy about a month and a half back, when I came across a clone of the Olivia Keycaps. They were on offer for a good price and all the urge I had to get the Olivia Keycaps when I saw them the first time, came back to me all at once. I started thinking how good it will be to have these keycaps and use them.
I quickly started imagining how they were going to look on my Akko 3068 and started checking out videos on YouTube of people building with the Olivia Keycaps. After watching a dozen and more videos of these keycaps, I noticed that almost all the builds that were done with these keycaps were with a non black case. My Akko 3068 had a black case and it came to me that even if I got the keycaps, it was not going to look as good as I am imagining them right now.
I felt bad, once again, that even though I had a chance to grab these keycaps, I won't be able to enjoy them. After sulking for a few minutes, I started thinking that I have had the Akko 3068 for a while now, perhaps I could consider checking a different keyboard? I wondered what good budget keyboard options were out on the market. Note that, my search was restricted to the fact that I was in India so I had to make sure that the budget actually considered the delivery charges (as sometimes the delivery charge of a keyboard seemed to be more than the price of the keyboard itself).
I started looking for a second keyboard. My requirements for the keyboard were clear:
My search began by searching for "mechanical keyboards india" on Google. I came across mechkeys.com and stackskb where they had a few pre-built options for keyboard but the options were either not as per my requirements or were over budget.
I did not want to go for a pre-built as they are less flexible in terms of custom modding later on (I did not want to sit down with a solder and add switches to the keyboard whenever I felt like I was bored of the switches) so the likes of Ducky or Keychron were not considered at all even though some of them were good options in the budget I had.
After going through a few options, I finally came across GMK67. It caught my eye because it was a 65% board, had hot swapped options as well as case color options. I started looking at reviews online and boy oh boy, was I surprised. This keyboard was like a gem. It comes with foam in the case which, based on my experience of using it daily, does make the overall sound much more thockier.
Oh, and did I mention that it also comes with a volume knob! Though I was not a fan of it, it does add a distinct look to the overall keeb and was a welcomed addition to the keyboard considering the price.
I found the keyboard on stickeys.in but it was out of stock there. I started looking for other websites that sold GMK67 and came across thekapco. They were going to ship the keyboard from outside of India so delivery was still a concern for me but as I checked the keyboard cases, I also saw that they sold switches as well and were going to install the swithces to the keyboard if I selected them. I thought that this was a good option as to get the switches shipped separately they were going to be more expensive.
I made the decision to finally go with the white case as I could image it looking amazing with the olivia white keycaps. Only the switches were remained to be decided now.
Thus, began my journey of deciding which switch to go with.
In my Akko 3068, I have the Cherry MX Blue switches and I had this keyboard through-out my college. I enjoyed it throughly during these days, especially taking the keyboard to the lab whenever I would have practical classes and banging those loud Cherry MX keys to make sure everyone knew that I was a nerd was something I used to find fun. It's been 4 years that I have been using these switches and the fun had worn off. I had started finding these switches loud. Not that I was bored of these switches in any way but I knew, had I had a choice, I wouldn't go for these loud swithces again.
I had also felt at times that the wobble of the switches (the keycaps probably played a role here) was not something I particularly appreciated. Had I had a option, I would go for some less wobbly options.
So my decision was made that I will either go for red or brown switches. Because of my budget constraint, I did not want to spend too much on the swithces but also at the same time I did not want to cheap out and end up runing the overall keyboard by getting some mediocre switches.
kapco had a few options for switches: outemu, gateron, leobog rock lee and out of these, I felt like the outemu brown, red and leobog rock lee could be considered. As much as I have heard about gateron and their greatness, it was a straight out of budget for me (considering the 10k limit I had). I started watching videos to try to get an idea of how each switch would sound and I felt like the red was way to silent for me. I did not want my keyboard to feel like a mac one (I have a M2 Macbook Air) so I was left with either outemu brown or leobog rock lee.
The leobog rock lee was slightly more expensive and after comparing the two switch options and including the delivery charge, it was adding up a bit above my budget when I considered leobog rock lee.
However, I did not let that be the deciding factor as I wanted to build a good sounding keyboard (even if I had to push the budget a bit) and started researching more about the outemu and leobog rock lee and what would be different between the two.
I found out that outemu browns come factory lubed (not properly lubed but somewhat) and the overall sound was quite thocky and very close to that of leobog rock lee while being cheaper. So, I decided to save a few bucks and go with Outemu brown as the sound of those switches were good (based on the videos I watched).
The final price added up to be $84 (~7000 INR), including shipping of $16 (~1335 INR). The shipping was on the higher side but then there were no sellers in India with the keyboard.
As stated in the beggining of the post, I was clear about one thing about this new build, the keycaps. I knew I wanted the Olivia Keycaps and I decided to get them (as the price was right). I got them for $46 (~3800 INR) from Etsy.
I placed the order on 5 November 2023 for both the keyboard and the keycaps. The ETA only mentioned the stuff shipping in 2 weeks in both cases so I patiently waited to get the shipped mail.
After a week or so, I got a notification from Etsy that the keycaps had shipped. I was really excited to see that they had already shipped and thought that I will end up getting the keycaps even before I receive the keyboard. I made my peace thinking that I will use the keycaps with my Akko in such a case.
On 15 November, I got a mail from kapco that my keyboard had shipped. That was very exciting for me and I almost jumped from my seat when I saw the mail. I was pumped to see that the keyboard was on it's way (or was to be on its way as it was yet to be picked up). Both the keyboard and the keycaps had shipped from China.
I religiously started checking the status of the keyboard and the keycaps every morning (even before I got out of bed) and would tell myself that this is an international package so it would take some time.
On 22 November, I saw that the keyboard was received by customs. I was a bit worried as I had read posts of people never receiving their orders that shipped from China as Indian customs would not allow them through.
After waiting 2 days and getting no updates on the keyboard (it showed the same status it showed 2 days back), I reached out to KapCo to get an update. They promptly replied back in a day and shared the last status update of the keyboard (that I already saw by tracking it). I replied to them, explaining them what I actually needed an input upon and asked them to revert back with more details, if possible. They replied with some more info but all the contact numbers provided were unreachable. After waiting about 10 days since the last update, I finally reached out to them letting them know that I still did not have any update. They replied to me stating that if it did not arrive in a week, they were going to process a free replacement.
Though, a replacement was not ideal (as I would have to wait another 30 days to get it), it relieved me to know that they were taking responsibility. Right that day, 2 hours after I received the reply from them, I receieved a message from Shiprocket stating that my package had been scheduled. I quickly opened Shiprocket website and tracked what it was about. Turns out, the GMK67 had cleared customs and was going to be picked up by a local courier. The estimated delivery date was in 4 days. I was rejoiced and could not control my happiness.
Within 4 days I got the GMK67 delivered to me!.
I noticed that the keyboard was shipped by a third party shipper in India (perhaps used to clear customs) named UShopVShip.
While I was worrying about the GMK67 not getting any updates, the keycaps did get regular updates (almost every 2-3 days) but the updates were kind of worrying. I kept seeing that the keycaps package kept going back and forth from one courier center to another. It would go from Dongguan to Guangzhou to back and forth. After losing my patience with the redundant updates, I reached out to the seller on Etsy. They said they were going to look into it. I waited for a week and saw the same repeatition happening and I was at the edge with the lack of updates.
After about 3.5 weeks of this back and forth, it finally arrived at the destination country and was received by customs. After being received by customs, it took about 7 more days for the package to be delivered to my place.
What I noticed was that in case of the keycaps, it was sent by local China EMS (in China) and India Post (in India) and that seemed to be the cause of delay along with some miscommunication (perhaps in the address). The seller did reassured me that they had other packages that were sent to India and had been already delivered.
From the above experience of waiting for the keyboard and the keycaps, considering the fact that I am from India and the packages shipped from China, the take-away is that patience is the name of the game. The package is more or less going to be delivered at some point and the updates are almost always delayed or not accurate, perhaps the involvement of customs makes it so.
After going through all the hard part, it was time to rejoice, build the keyboard and enjoy it. As I received the keyboard before I got the keycaps, I added my keycaps from Akko 3068 to the GMK67. I instantly noticed that the keyboard was actually much more thockie and silen then my previous Akko 3068. I was extremely satisfied with the choice of my keyboard and switches.
After receiving the Olivia Keycaps, I did the final build and here's what it looks like.
The total cost of the keyboard added up to ~$130 (~10800 INR).
Even though it has just been a week (as of writing this post) since I did the final build, I have used the keyboard almost everyday since then and I have to say, the switches, the keyboard, the keycaps, the foam inside the case, everything just adds up to make such a great experience and all of this for just ~$130 (which is definitely cheap by mech standards) is just amazing.
I will probably just be in awe of this keyboard for the next 4 years until I find another Olivia Keycaps (considering that there will be some keycap as good as them). I have only one complaint, the RGB's.
I am not an RGB guy and I think the lights just ruin the look of the keyboard. Thus, the first thing I did after building the keyboard was set the brightness of the RGB to 0. The charging and on indicator still stick out like a sore thumb but those are something I can live with.