GAMDIAS Hermes RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

A surprise entry into the mechanical gaming keyboard market is GAMDIAS with its impressive Hermes RGB. Let's take a close look.

Published Wed, Aug 24 2016 11:50 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 97%Manufacturer: GAMDIAS

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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Gamdias and their ZEUS logo gaming peripherals are very new to the game, and as such, we have tested very little built by them in the past. We did see a mouse and keyboard combo kit with the Ares, and we also saw the Zeus e-Sports mouse, but outside of those two products, we have little to base our opinion on. What we have seen in the past are unique yet solid products, more than capable of taking you into gaming without issue. As far as keyboards are concerned, the Ares keyboard was rubber dome based, so this is the first we have seen a mechanical keyboard from Gamdias.

There are a few ways to go when it comes to a mechanical keyboard. Out of the many switch types out there, such as Cherry MX, Topre, and many others, Gamdias chose to take the Kailh route. Where they could have opted for the soft and squishy red switches, Gamdias opts for a stronger solution and settles on the Kailh blue switches. Lighting is also of concern to many users, and as the naming suggests, there are 16.9 million color options due to the full RGB LEDs used in this keyboard. Then, of course, to get above average in options, a company must also develop great software that leaves no stone unturned, as many users love to remap and set up profiles and Macros to their keyboards, even more so than most use for mice. This is where we introduce the HERA software, which allows all of this and then some.

Gamdias sent us the Hermes RGB for our take on what it delivers. Along with all the attributes mentioned above, the Hermes RGB is capable of offering many lighting modes as well. In any color, you could imagine. Using a frame which includes a built-in wrist rest, without going into an obnoxious size is a fine line to walk, but the Hermes is one that feels good and fits just about anywhere. There are on-the-fly programmability options rather than needing to be in the software all the time, and with various profiles available, there is a lot that the Hermes has to offer. Even though this is the first mechanical keyboard we have seen from Gamdias, it seems so far that it is up to par with most others and more than capable of any wants and desires. So let's dive deeper into what the Hermes RGB is all about, and see how well it stacks up against the plethora of competition we have seen in the past.

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The specifications chart offered by Gamdias is quite thorough. Things start with a mention of the Gamdias certified switches, which happen to be Kailh blue switches. Gamdias Element is not part of this design, as that is for faster responding keys with less noise and faster travel. The Hermes is 440mm wide, 170mm deep, it stands 37mm tall at the back, weighing in at 1.16kg. We then see that there is 72KB of onboard memory, a 1000Hz polling rate, two programmable keys, and six multimedia keys. Each switch has a lifespan of 50 million strokes, offer NKRO support, and can be backlit with 16.8 million colors.

As we mosey down further in the chart, we see there is Macro support via the HERA software, there is a Windows disable key, all keys lock, but there are no onboard audio jacks or USB ports. The cable attaching the Hermes to the PC is 1.8 meters in length, it is covered in a cloth braid, and the USB 2.0 connection is gold plated. There is a GUI to support the Hermes RGB, and we are told of the HERA software again to use this. The Hermes offers six profiles, has an option to set a consecutive attack mode, and delivers customizable lighting effects as well.

As we hunted the Hermes RGB mechanical gaming keyboard down via Google, we saw listings as high as $99 for this keyboard. While that isn't so bad for the amount Gamdias delivers, shopping around is a better bet. While Newegg shows no stock of this keyboard at all, venturing to Amazon shows us a listing for just $87 with free shipping. While it may not be the most affordable offering out there, it certainly is not the most expensive either, actually near half that cost in reality. With what we see on paper, Gamdias has their act together and is offering the Hermes RGB with plenty of features to make the investment worthwhile.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The front of the packaging shows off the Hermes RGB with a large image of it taking up most of this panel. To the right, using a white background, Gamdias shows off features like RGB lighting, Macro play, a 32-bit ARM processor, and the use of HERA software to control it.

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Both of the small ends of the packaging are identical. They simply offer a black panel broken up with the white Zeus logos on either end.

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One of the longer sides starts with an image of the Hermes, just to the left of what we see here. As we move from left to right, we see icons for the switches, programmable Macro keys, the MCU, the profiles, and that the Hermes RGB is backlit.

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The other longer side panel offers a view of the HERA software to start things off and then moves into various features found within. This covers the customization, on-the-fly profile switching, and many other features it brings.

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The back is used to repeat a lot of what we already discussed, but this time in various languages to cover their markets. To the right, we find a specifications chart, with the system requirements and package contents listed below that.

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Inside of the box, we found the Hermes wrapped in a thin foam envelope for protection. The cable is bound and inside of a cardboard section at the back of the box, while the literature and extras are packaged below the keyboard. As for this specific Hermes RGB, it took the ride well and is in terrific condition to be reviewed.

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The quick installation guide, stickers, and the orange key puller is what we found inside of the box with the keyboard. As for the guide, it just covers the basics and shows how to connect the keyboard and that you need the HERA software to take full control of the options.

Gamdias Hermes RGB Mechanical Keyboard

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The left side of the Hermes RGB is made of a flat expanse of textured plastic, used as both the top section and the bottom section of the frame. With the feet still on the keyboard, the caps are left presented in a concave fashion, in which some of the keys are facing away from the user.

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This overview of the main section of the Hermes RGB shows us that the font is clean and easy to read, and in various locations, we find keys with dual, even some with triple functionality.

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The F2 is also used for the previous track function, the F3 is the next track, while the F4 swaps the arrow and WASD keys. Number one through number six is used to select the various profiles.

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F5 offers the play/pause feature, and the F6 is to mute the sound. The F7 is then used to lower the sound, leaving the F8 key to raise it.

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Using the Function key and F9 allows for on-the-fly Macro recording from the keyboard, without the need to have the software in play. Function and F11 will lock out all of the keys on the keyboard, so any accidental key presses from pets of kids will not have any effect.

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The space bar and the B key are marked as G1 and G2 respectively and are what the basic options for Macro keys are. The Windows key to the right of the Alt key is also the Game key which locks out the odd switches that can take you out of the game and onto the desktop.

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The command and number pad is all there, and again we find many keys on this side of the board with multiple purposes as well.

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The Insert, Home, Delete, and End keys all swap through a few of the LED lighting schemes programmed for the Hermes. The Page Up and Page Down keys are what is used to increase or decrease the speed of the modes.

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The number pad offers arrows for left-hand users to use, but that is not all. On the 2 and 8 keys, indicators are showing they are used to lower or raise the LED intensity for the various modes it can be used in.

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The right side of the keyboard is also made of textured black plastic, but this time, we have extended the feet under the Hermes. This allows all of the key caps to have a forward lean and makes access to them all that much easier.

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The Hermes RGB is sent with 1.8 meters of braided cable to connect it to the PC. We also find two hook and loop straps keeping the wire bundled, and makes traveling with this keyboard a fair bit easier.

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Under the Hermes, we see that the majority of the bottom frame section is made of flat textured plastic. There are four feet along the front edge, and the flip out feet at the back support the rear. There are also some cable channels cut into the back edge and helps keep the wiring clean and out of your way when used to either side.

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As for the flip out feet at the rear, they flip out to the back of the keyboard. While we prefer them to go sideways, we did not collapse this keyboard on accident at any time either. The tips of the feet have a rubber pad applied, and they are thick enough to be effective even when they are left in the bottom of the keyboard.

Inside the Hermes RGB

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Less than a dozen screws hold the frame together, and once removed, we can see the two halves of the frame. The upper section allows for all the keys to pass through, and offers the wrist rest, while the lower section is ribbed to help support the steel plate that rides on top of them.

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Picking a random spot on the PCB, we see here that the soldering is done well, and the residue was removed after this process. The PCB is flat in texture, and is what you see around the switches; that is not flux.

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Without much to go off of online, we see only that the 32-bit ARM processor of choice is this IC. It shows the model number HSAK3201, but with nothing to follow, not even a manufacturer of this chip, it is hard to say for sure what sort of specifications it has.

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Under a few of the key caps, we indeed find blue switches, of the Kailh variety. We can also see that with the larger keys, the torsion bars are fully exposed, and can make key cap removal a bit more delicate.

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The caps are molded in white plastic, which allows the LED lighting to pass through them. Their caps are then painted black, leaving the various legends clear, which now show as white.

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One of the many options for LED lighting is the Wave mode. Using this currently, we can see the whole spectrum of lighting the Hermes is capable of. Keep in mind, this is only one of many modes, and of course, the whole thing can be made to show one solid color as well.

HERA Software

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The main window that opens after installing HERA is the key assignment window. While we are currently set to program only the G-keys for this image, if you switch to General tab the top, you can remap the entire keyboard. Along with basic remapping, there are pre-installed options to choose via a drop-down menu. At the bottom, you can lock the game key down, turn on consecutive attack mode, and down the right side, you can swap through the various profiles.

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The Macro Manager offered via software is top tier. While you can import, export, and build new Macros on the left side, you can also edit them and add any delays and commands to the Macro you wish to use.

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Keyboard luminance is directed to controlling the LEDs. Along with the Neon setting, which illuminates the keyboard in one color, we can also adjust the brightness and even the speed of individual effects. As options, you can use breathing, wave, responsive fade out, fade in, various marquees, rainbow drops, a Night Rider effect, and even one that looks like a siren.

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The Hermes will also allow for sounds and timers. Using some of the default options for alarms, you can set a timer for pizza, when you need to quit gaming, or when a roommate is due home. This is just the basic for the settings, as the next two tabs take it deeper down the rabbit hole.

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In the sound file edit tab, you can record anything you wish to play when the timer ends. It can be your voice, recordings from your favorite video, or various sound bites you may already have stored.

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Timer settings allow the ability to address the name of the file for the sounds and timers. You can make it count down days, hours, minutes, and seconds. There is also the ability to place an OSD display for the alarms so that you get a notification as to why it is going off. You may also choose how large this message is displayed.

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The last tab eases the updating and support of the Hermes RGB. We are shown to have the GKB1050 attached running version 202 firmware. The software is version 2.6.1., and the words online support, near the bottom, delivers you directly to Gamdias support.

Final Thoughts

As our first mechanical keyboard seen from Gamdias, they did well and were able to impress us with this Hermes RGB. The use of Kailh switches is nothing new, and we liked the feel of the blue tactile switches that Gamdias chose to offer. They are also able to pack in quite the feature set right into the keyboard. Using dual and triple functionality on some of the keys, the need for the HERA software is lessened to the basic users. You can easily swap through a few LED effects. You can still program Macros on-the-fly, and also have full access to the five profiles. While I'm not a huge fan of keyboards with built-in wrist rests, Gamdias does it in a manner which it is just large enough to function, yet small enough not to get in the way. From every angle of attack, we found the Hermes RGB keyboard ready and willing to dish out the punishment, whether writing or gaming.

Once you involve the Hermes software and start to fill up that onboard memory, where we feel the 72KB must have been a typo. Programming various things across a few of the profiles for our day to day use only took up 15 percent of the space offered, so we guess this is much closer to the standard 512KB. HERA also provides full keyboard remapping, and with that, unlimited Macro and functionality support, and over five profiles, you could easily set over 500 things that the Hermes will do for you with just a click or two.

The backlighting is also some of the best on the market. Various modes to suit anyone's needs in lighting, the full RGB scale for solid coloration, the list just seems to go on and on. Usually, at this point, we tend to find something wrong with the device, but in this instance, we find ourselves glowing about the Hermes RGB, seemingly rambling off trying to make sure you realize how good this mechanical keyboard is.

When it comes to purchasing a mechanical keyboard, for many, pricing is a huge factor in the decision. While you can shop around at Reddit, and find many used keyboards on the cheap, not many sell on the retail market for less than $60. Even then, they are likely aging designs or something very basic in functionality. Considering everything the Hermes RGB combined with the HERA software can accomplish, the roughly $90 pricing is well worth the investment. While Gamdias may have just sent us a mechanical gaming keyboard, the Hermes RGB shows they are stiff competition for the large players in this game, and offer a product that pulls no punches in their quest to make a name for themselves.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Quality including Design and Build95%
General Features98%
Bundle and Packaging97%
Value for Money99%

The Bottom Line: The Gamdias Hermes RGB as is good as it gets at this price range. Full of features, tons of options, onboard memory, and a serious processor at the helm, this mechanical gaming keyboard is a cost-effective solution to many with plenty of bang for the buck.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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