Some of you might have seen Gamdias as a sponsor at our last event or maybe at a few of the other events as well. While I’ve seen their name around I haven’t had the chance to personally check out and of their products. So when they offered to slip in their Hermes RGB keyboard in with our LanOC V18 box I took them up on the offer. We have had a LOT of RGB keyboards in the office at this point so that itself isn’t unique but I was excited to see what Gamdias has going on. So for the last 3 weeks I have been testing and using the Hermes RGB for all of my writing and gaming to find out how it performs in both situations. Read on as I take a closer look at its features and then dive into its performance.
Product Name: Gamdias Hermes RGB
Review Sample Provided by: Gamdias
Written by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Amazon Link: HERE
|DIMENSIONS||440 x 170 x 37 mm|
|ADDITIONAL MACRO KEYS||NA|
|BACKLIT||16.8 million colors and 4 levels brightness|
|OTF MACRO RECORD||Yes (with HERA)|
|ONBOARD USB PORT||N/A|
|GRAPHICAL UI||YES (GAMDIAS HERA)|
|WASD & ARROW KEYS CHANGE||Yes|
|CUSTOMIZABLE LIGHTING EFFECTS||Yes|
|BUILT- IN MEMORY||72 KB|
|SWITCH LIFECYCLE||10 Million|
|WINDOWS KEY DISABLE||Yes|
|ONBOARD AUDIO JACKS||N/A|
|CABLE LENGTH||1.8m (Braided Cable with Gold-plated USB Connector)|
|NUMBER OF PROFILE||6|
|CONSECUTIVE ATTACK MODE||Yes|
For its packaging the Hermes RGB’s box is divided up into black and white. The black has a large photo of the keyboard with its full RGB backlighting turned on. Then over on the right is the Gamdias branding. Under that though they have highlighted the RGB backlighting, Macros, 32-bit ARM, and their HERA software with short descriptions under each. The back of the box is a lot simpler with a feature list in multiple languages. In English they also slip in a full specifications list, system requirements, and a list of everything inside the box.
Inside the Hermes RGB is wrapped up in foam to keep it from getting scratched up in transport. The USB cord is folded up and tucked into the cardboard along the back and the cardboard also keeps the keyboard tightly in place. Inside, along with the keyboard, the Hermes comes with a few accessories. You get a small quick installation guide and two stickers one with a black background and the other transparent. They also include a small plastic keycap puller, something that we see included with mechanical keyboards less and less.
Photos and Features
So the Gamdias Hermes RGB looks fairly unassuming when you first check it out. It is a standard full layout keyboard. When I say standard I mean completely standard so replacement keycaps will be easy to find where a lot of other RGB keyboards (other than the CM RGB) have a nonstandard bottom row. The Hermes RGB has a thin bezel on the top, left, and right sides. Down on the bottom it has an half length integrated wrist rest with the Gamdias logo in the middle and two triangle shapes carved into it. While I prefer to find my own wrist rest I do like this one with the exception of the two triangles that are bound to put indents into your wrists when typing. The wrist rest does give us a really good look at the plastic that Gamdias used though and I can’t completely put my finger on it but it feels like a poor quality plastic. A better finish or as much as I hate to say it a rubber coating would go a LONG way in making the Hermes feel like a higher quality part to me.
It may be a standard layout but Gamdias did slip in a few function layer features. For starters you can flip between the keyboards six different profiles by using the function key and the 1-6 number row keys. Up in the F keys you get media controls like forward and back, play, pause, mute, and volume up and down. You can also lock the windows key. In the keys between the keyboard and the number pad there are a few lighting control options that speed things up and slow them down or even let you switch to the RGB wave. Also interesting are the function layer macro keys in the space and B buttons. This gives you quick on the fly macros no matter what game you are playing, space is almost always directly under your thumb.
Up above the number pad the LED status indicators are small pinholes similar to the Code keyboard but the large logos under each pinhole kind of defeat the point of the small clean and simple lights.
From the side profile we can see the 45-degree angle of the built in number pad as well as the slightly curved profile of the case. Still the keycaps have the standard OEM profile, no shocker there.
The back of the keyboard doesn’t really have anything going on with the exception of the three holes where the USB cable can be routed out depending on your desk layout.
Up under the Hermes RGB the keyboard has a small sticker in the middle with all of the normal certifications and logos. They include the Gamdias branding here as well as the Hermes RGB logo. The large white box on the sticker has your serial number and a barcode for that serial number. For feet the bottom of the Hermes has an impressive four wide rubber feet on the wrist rest. The two flip out feet also have rubber feet on them that work when the feet are flipped out or not to keep everything moving around. Gamers typically push their keyboard around a little more than regular users during the craziness of a game so it is important that it not slide easily.
One other thing I noticed when looking under the Hermes RGB was the USB cable is hard wired directly into the bottom of the keyboard. Most companies have been moving to replaceable cords both for an ease of repair and also to allow people to customize their cord to match their style with custom sleeved cables. Gaming keyboards though have been a lot slower to move to this with the exception of Cooler Master, but I would argue those are enthusiast keyboards more than gaming. The cord on the Hermes RGB is sleeve in black and seems to be of good quality. They shipped it with two Velcro straps on it as well to make it easy to pack up for LANs. The connector is a little unique with its curved shape but I really like it. It is thin so there shouldn’t be compatibility issues and the curve makes it easy to grip and easy to spot when looking for your keyboard cable on the back of your PC.
For switches the Hermes RGB has Kailh switches. This is what most would consider a knockoff brand but they have been used in a lot of the RGB keyboards over the last few years with only recently the Cherry RGB switches getting to brands other than Corsair. Kailh switches have the same design as a Cherry MX with the exception of the four LED holes to support RGB. They are known to feel a little more loose than a Cherry switch but the average user most likely won’t notice the difference. The Hermes RGB only comes in blue as well so I hope you like the louder clicky design, personally I prefer browns so it’s a bit of a bummer. For stabilizers on the larger keys they are using a Costar style stabilizer meaning you do have to work with the metal clip and the small clips in the keycap if you take your keycaps off to clean everything up.
The keycaps are your normal white transparent abs caps with a black finish painted on them. I will say though that the caps are thinner than normal all around with the area around the MX plus being a little concerning. Be careful pulling them off.
For software Gamdias uses an all in one program that covers their entire product lineup. This is something I always love seeing. It is a great indicator that a company isn’t running out of the box OEM solutions for one and it also means they are investing a lot of development time and money into their software. More time and money normally translates to better usability. So the software they run is called Hera and once you download it there is no need to install it, the executable runs right out of the folder. When open it boots up to a home page with a picture of the Hermes RGB in the middle. Down along the bottom is another photo, the small photo is where you will find and flip through all of your Gamdias products if you have them hooked up. The home page is the key assignment page where you can click on any key on the keyboards photo and set it to run one of your recorded macros or assign it a different than stock function. We can also see over on the right that we can quickly flip between the six different profiles as well anytime its needed.
On the macro page we can edit and record new or old macros over on the right. On the left you can flip through all of your past macro recordings.
For me the main reason I want access to the software is to gain full control over the RGB lighting on the Hermes RGB. The Keyboard Luminance page gets us that. Here we have the same photo in the middle only this time each key has its backlighting color. You can pick from a few default layouts over in the bottom left> In the bottom is a drop down menu where you can pick other lighting effect modes like the wave. You can also change the effect speed up and down, its direction, and how bright the backlighting is. If effects aren’t your thing you can click on single keys or drag and select multiple keys and apply any color you want.
The next menu is unique. Gamdias lets you program or record timers and sounds that you can bind to specific keys. I’ve never seen this functionality before. I’m not sure how useful it will be, but I love seeing companies trying new things.
The last page shows us things like the software and firmware versions and even lets us check for firmware updates as well.
Like I said earlier I have been using the Hermes RGB for weeks now on my main PC night and day meaning I write and game on it. This has given me a good chance to get a feel for the keyboard and find the good and the bad. With it only having blue switches available you can expect the Hermes RGB to be a little noisier than a keyboard with browns or reds. You do get the full mechanical experience with blues though. For gaming a lot of people seem to think that reds are the best option but in my opinion I think it really just comes down to preference. With a completely standard layout getting used to the Hermes RGB took no time at all. I had to drop my normal wrist rest due to the built in wrist rest but even there I was surprised that I didn’t have more issues. I initially expected the two triangles to put lines on my wrists but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. That said I would still prefer to see them avoid shapes in a comfort zone.
I did run into an issue when typing on the Hermes RGB almost right out of the hole. There were a few quality issues on the keycaps on our sample that caused hangups and miss pressed keys. Specifically, the spacebar had a bend to it that pushed it very close to the comma key. This combined with a ring around the bottom of the keycaps from the paint caused this to be an issue for me over and over until I pulled the spacebar off and trimmed the edge off. I also had the same issue with the I key as well and it double pressing the 9 at the same time. I think these issues were exclusive to our review sample because I’m not seeing any customer reviews mentioning it, but still it was a big pain and it leaves the quality of the Hermes up in the air.
Once I had my keycap issues worked out typing on the Hermes RGB went smoothly. Gaming went good as well. I didn’t really find any good use for the function layer macros on the spacebar and the B button, but I’ve never been one to use any of the extra macro keys on any gaming keyboards as well. I do think those two macro keys are much easier to reach and put to use than what most gaming keyboards have and frankly even if you don’t use them they aren’t hurting anything being there.
The media keys up in the F Row didn’t get a lot of use for me. I prefer the media keys to be over in the Insert and Delete section with a function button that is reachable with your right hand as well. The lighting effect buttons that Gamdias put over there could work just as well up in the F row. I was surprised with the F4 keys function though; you can flip your WASD keys to be a direction pad. As a gamer I thought this was a nice way to get a direction pad in a location that I am more comfortable using for games like worms that use the direction pad over WASD. This same mode also moves WASD over to the direction pad for people who prefer to use the direction pad in FPS games!
With this being an RGB board the lighting was obviously one of its main features. I found the lighting to be more than bright enough and obviously being RGB I could set it to any color that I wanted. For most of my testing I ran it on the wave mode to check out all of the available colors but as mentioned in the software section there are a lot of different options. You can pick from a whole list of effects or make your own layout as well.
Overall and Final Verdict
So at the end of the day where does the Gamdias Hermes RGB stand? Well I do think Gamdias is making big strides to be a big player in the peripherals market. Their work on their all in one software alone says that. The Hermes RGB hits the mark on the lighting and having a standard key layout to me is huge considering there is only one other RGB keyboard manufacture doing it right now. All of the other gaming focused keyboards go with the weird bottom rows. Keeping the layout clean without extra rows of macro keys that most people don’t use is a good call as well. They did slip in the two function layer macro keys in an easy to reach area as well and any key can be set to run macros using the software as well for people who do need that.
I wasn’t a fan at all of the shapes carved into the wrist rest, I know Gamdias was typing to add a little styling but I don’t think where you put your wrists at is a good place for that. I also ran into what I could consider major quality issues with multiple keys catching on other keys. All of the research I have done on places like Amazon where the Hermes RGB has been selling seems to show that this isn’t an issue across the board but I would highly recommend checking for these issues right away if you do pick up one.
For pricing the Hermes comes in well below RGB offerings from manufactures like Razer, Logitech, and SteelSeries. There are though other options that are running the same Kailh RGB keyswitches available for less. I think the software adds a little value but I feel like the Hermes RGB should be about $10 less than what it is at currently. So would I recommend the Hermes RGB? Well I don’t think it’s a bad keyboard, but with the quality issues I ran into I’m hesitant to put a full recommend badge on it. If we didn’t have the quality issues though, I would have. All of the pieces are there for a good product and I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot more of Gamdias as they continue to improve!
Live Pricing: HERE