GAMDIAS Hermes P2 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

The GAMDIAS Hermes P2 RGB optical mechanical gaming keyboard deserves your attention. Read on and find out why.

Published Wed, Dec 20 2017 10:43 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 97%Manufacturer: GAMDIAS

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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Gamdias is one of those companies which is not afraid to try new things. While some ideas have worked better for them in the past than others, we have seen that sometimes imaginations run wild, while other times, designs conform to the mold everyone else uses. With what we are about to see, the former description is where we are at today. In this latest product the hit the desk at TweakTown, we are given one of the largest keyboards to play with, but there are things afoot in this design that we did not see coming from them.

The second to carry the Hermes name, this keyboard has certain things we expect to find. Following in the series usually tends to bring forth new things as well, and in this instance, there has been a major change to the Hermes this time around. Rather than asking Cherry, Kailh, or many of the other mechanical switch makers to full an order for them, in this instance, Gamdias opts for the rare optical, mechanical switch. We know of two others that use this technology, one of which was recently reviewed, and with optical, mechanical switches, the feel is not unlike all the rest. The major benefit from such a device is that a light beam is broken to actuate the switch rather than bent metal contacts coming together. Optical switches also benefit from a longer lifespan due to less moving parts, and there are no connectivity issues, as the light beam is broken or it isn't, there is no in between.

The next addition we have for you today is the Hermes P2 RGB Optical Mechanical Gaming Keyboard from Gamdias. With features such as RGB LEDs, multimedia keys, on-the-fly Macro recording, various profile, a built-in wrist rest, and a metal keycap puller, the Hermes P2 appears to be a stand-up product. As with all thing reviewed here, we try to reserve our findings until the end of the review, but if you do not mind a larger keyboard, Gamdias is offering something well worth your attention. With that said, we should move into the specifications, so that we can get on our way to show what you will get from Gamdias.

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Gamdias states that the certified mechanical, optical switches can come in blue, brown, red, and black, but availability may depend on region, and each of these switches boasts a 50 million click lifespan. Where others have attempted to hide the manufacturer by marking the switches with branding, not this time. Each switch is marked with a script capital D on them, where most others get their infrared or optical switches from Gateron. The Hermes P2 RGB uses an exposed metal plate in this design, while the rest of the frame is made of plastic. All told, the keyboard is 458mm wide; it is 220mm deep, it is 44mm thick, and weighs in at 1.1 kilograms.

The controller for the Hermes P2 RGB offers 72 KB of onboard storage for various Macros, profiles, and settings configurations. Each switch is checked at a 1000Hz polling rate, and are set by default to utilizing NKRO. You may record Macros on the go, you can disable the Windows key, and you can even lock out all function to the keyboard too. The attached cable is 1.8 meters in length, it is sleeved, and at the end is a gold-plated connection. Additionally, you may swap the arrow and WASD functionality, and the Hermes P2 supports Consecutive Attack Mode as we have seen previously.

At this moment in time, we are unable to locate the Hermes P2 RGB Optical Mechanical Gaming Keyboard anywhere on this side of the pond. However, upon receipt of the product, we do remember going to Newegg to look up the price. If memory serves us correctly, we recall the price was set at $139.99, which is not that expensive once you take in all the features and capabilities of the Hermes P2 RGB. Now that we know what to expect, and we know what it will cost when stock returns to the market, we can dive right in and see everything in fine detail.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The front of the box in which the Hermes P2 is shipped in a chock a block with information. On the dark section of the panel, we see the keyboards, a cut-away of the switches, features, the keycap puller, a nod to the RGB LEDs, and even a pair of renderings showing a couple of the default LED modes. To the right, we see some of these features again but listed, so it is easy to read and understand.

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The first of the longer sides of the box keeps things simple though. While on the right are the company and product names, the bulk of the panel is used to show the P2 RGB from four angles of view.

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Spinning the box to the left, we then run into this shorter panel, which offers the Zeus logo in a while on a broad expanse of black cardboard.

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Again, the names are present at the left end of this panel, but we chose to move in a bit. Doing so allows us to show the built-in wrist rest, the exposed metal faceplate design, and there is also a look at the HERA software.

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The last thin panel of the box shows the company name and tagline on the left. The right side is used for company and legal information. The bottom offers symbols, most important to users are the Made in Canada logo and the Windows 10 compatible icon at the end.

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In each of the tiles to the left, the storage, metal plate, Windows lock, keyboard programmability, hotkeys, exchangeable keys, as well as software and firmware are mentioned in various languages. The right half offers the keyboard in an image, with the specifications, package contents and system requirements shown below it.

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After cutting through a sticker, we can open the box, which exposed a view of lots of thin foam padding material. The foam is wrapped around the entire keyboard to protect the finish of it, while the cardboard at the front is used to keep it in place. Once the keyboard is lifted out of the box, the front cardboard section can be opened to find the cable and the keycap puller.

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While we found no form of paperwork inside of the box, not even a product placement sheet, we did locate the keycap puller in a plastic bag. Metal is shaped into this form, and plastic wraps the circular bit to keep from running up against the edges of the metal. The metal is left in a rough state, however, and will mar the paint used on these keycaps.

Gamdias Hermes P2 RGB Optical Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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The left edge of the Hermes P2 RGB is highly stylized with aggressive angles and many levels of black plastic used to form the shapes. Lying flat on the table, the keycaps are angled to the back slightly nearest the rest, and flat as you get closer to the back.

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By holding the Function key in, using F2 will revert to the previous track, F3 advances to the next track, and the F4 key is used to swap the WASD keys with the arrows. The next row of keys can be used to select various profiles, six in total, without having to go to the software to swap them out.

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The next group of F-keys moves from multimedia and delivers some quick-launch buttons for things one might use every day. The F9 key will open your default email handler, and the F10 will open your default browser. As for F11, it opens your file explorer, and the F12 is used to open the calculator built into Windows.

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Moving to the right slightly, we now see the F5 key can also be used as the play or pause button, and the F6 key will mute the sound. That leaves us with the F7 and F8 keys to lower or raise the volume.

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If you wish to program a Macro outside of the software, you will need first to hit the F9 button to start the sequence. You then have to pick the G1 or G2 key, and then begin the actions, and then press F9 again to stop when done. The F11 key is how one locks the entire keyboard from use, at least until it is pressed again to unlock it.

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The thirty keys on the right cover the commands as well as the arrows and number pad. Hermes P2 RGB is painted onto the plate, there are Lock LEDs, and a roller bar for audio control too. On some of the keys, we find four modes of LED lighting, and two buttons to speed up or slow down the mode, and on the number pad, we find arrows as well as LED intensity buttons.

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The right side of the keyboard is identical to what the left offered, but we have extended the feet for this image. We can see how much it improves the angle of attack, as most of the keycaps are now angled forward, with the just the front two rows sitting level.

Hermes P2 RGB Continued

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Gamdias took the time to make the back of the keyboard so attractive; we thought we should show it off too. We find many of the same angles found on the sides, and we can also tell that the exposed plate wraps around the back of the keyboard and is where the Zeus logo is located.

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The cable which connects the keyboard to the PC is thick; it is covered with braided cloth and even has a ferrite choke in-line. To help contain the wire, there is a pair of Velcro straps with the Gamdias name on them, and the end of the cable terminates in a fitting with Zeus logo on it, and the gold-plated USB 2.0 connection.

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Once the keyboard is flipped onto its face, it is easy to tell that the entire assembly is one piece. The wrist rest will not come off and is where two of the rubber feet are. The bulk of the frame is flat with styling added to it, is where the other pair of feet reside, with added bits on the back for more style.

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The flip out feet is stable, easy to work and come with a rubber pad on the end of both of them. Extending the feet will raise the back of the keyboard nine millimeters.

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Since a single screw is hidden and makes disassembly impossible, we are moving right on to the keycaps. We eventually moved to a wire keycap puller, as the one provided will scratch the keycaps. Once pulled we see that the larger keys have extra clips for the torsion bars, but the stems are Cherry MX style for all of them. Each cap is shot in the off-white plastic and then painted, leaving the legends exposed on top.

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In our Hermes P2 RGB, we were sent the blue optical switches. They do look different than standard mechanical switches, with walls around the studs of each switch, and squared off LEDs exposed behind each switch. The torsion bars are exposed, each switch has a cursive D on it, and we can also see that Gamdias forgot to put a screw in this hole, as we took this image before trying to tear it apart.

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To show off what the Hermes P2 RGB keyboard can do, we plugged it in and found it to default the LEDs to this wave mode. We can see the full spectrum of colors, moving to the right across the keys, and showing well under the bright lights. We also can see that the Lock LEDs are blue, no matter what the keyboard is doing.

HERA Software

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With HERA installed we open it to be delivered to the Key Assignment tab. In it, we can address the keys by highlighting the General button at the top, but we are showing the Fn + G button now. After selecting the key, you then move to the bottom and select what it needs to do from various dropdown lists. However, you may need to visit other tabs first, so the proper commands are ready to be assigned. Also worth noting, be sure to select one of the six profiles you wish to program before everything else.

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Macro Management is handled through this pair of boxes. On the left, you can create, rename, and delete folders, and below the box, you can create, rename, Duplicate, Delete, or open the file explorer for importation purposes. Once the macro is created and named, with will show in the left box. The box on the right is where the Macros is recorded and show in detail. You can also edit the Macro post programming via the menu between the boxes.

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Keyboard Luminance is where we can address all of the RGB LEDs as a whole, in smaller groups, and even individually. By clicking on a key, dragging on a group, or selecting the entire keyboard, you may then jump to the bottom. It is there which you can use sliders, enter codes, or pick from seven predefined options. On the right of that, we see the brightness slider to address the intensity of the LEDs.

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Assigning sounds and timers is done here, but you first need to edit or pick the file in a later tab to use for this section. Here is where the files you have chosen can be applied to keys, the sound selected, or use the option for a timer to be set to the key instead.

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If the sound file is not perfect, or if you want to try your hand at something like the Tosh.0 opening statement, this sound file editor is what you need. You can copy things from the Mic input, use the provided alarms as the basis for a file, and come up with whatever noise suits you best.

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Creating a time is straightforward. You name it, you add it to a folder if desired, and then get to the time part. Timers can run for days or just seconds; alarm sounds can be tied to them, OSD messages can be added, as well as positioning and font size of the displayed message.

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The last of the tabs is for the update and support of the Hermes P2 RGB. The product name is displayed as well as the firmware version, which we checked for an update, and have the latest installed. The same is offered for the software, where we can update right through this window. The last thing to do here is to click on the Gamdias name after support to be delivered to their site.

Gaming and General Impressions


Putting blue mechanical switches against these blue optical, mechanical switches, we do not feel much of a difference while gaming, and that is intended. Since only the innards are different, the spring tension is similar, and the noise offered is the same as ordinary mechanical switches too. SO when it comes to resting your hand on this keyboard, we do not collapse the spring and press buttons which were not intended to be used. Profiles and Macros can easily come into play with something as simple as the lighting matching the game to something as deep as Macros with noise reporting from the PC when the key is pressed.

Another great feature is the timer with OSD. There is nothing worse than putting the pizza in, getting deep into PUBG, and remembering only from the smell of the smoke that the pizza was long forgotten. No matter what is going on at the time, the time will break in and make noise if programmed to do so, but by placing the OSD text to be large and right in the middle of the screen, you will likely never forget again. With our gaming, we never missed a stroke being delivered to the game, nor did we find any ghosting issues or faults in the NKRO.

Windows and Productivity

Much of what we typically provide for a solid keyboard in this section can be said for the Hermes P2 as well. The keyboard is solid with very little flex to the design, there is no strain from using this keyboard, nor did vibrations become a nuisance. Using Optical switches does bring one thing out almost immediately though. We are faster using an optical, mechanical switch than we are using standard mechanical switches.

Of course, getting used to any keyboard does take time, but the more we used the Hermes P2 RGB, the faster we get. This is because the optical beam is easy to break and with a slightly softer touch, we can pass more freely across the keys. The multimedia keys come in handy when you need to lower the volume when someone comes into the room to talk, and we also like the option of using key presses or the wheel for sound adjustment. The only issue with the Hermes P2 RGB, as we see it, is the size, as it does eat up a lot of desk space.

Final Thoughts

In all honesty, we are having a tough time trying to come up with reasons not to buy the Hermes P2 RGB keyboard. The exposed top is nice to look at, the RGB illumination is top of the line and bright, and with the addition of HERA software, Gamdias products are up there with ROCCAT for what is possible. The best part about the Hermes P2 RGB that we appreciated the most is the Optical, mechanical switches used in this design. The use of this type of switch is catching on, and now is not just used by one or two companies. The gates have opened up, and many are seeing the benefits of not having to rely on mechanical connections and moving parts. Eliminating the wear points is huge on a keyboard, and using something as simple as a beam of light has to help keep the cost down too. With talk every once in a while of Cherry MX or Kailh switch shortages, we see there is a new contender in the game, ready to take the world by storm.

Plainly put, there is not much of anything that the Hermes P2 RGB cannot do. It is great to use for gaming with the multiple profiles and terrific Macro capabilities, but it is also great for those who type for a living. The LED modes are fun to mess around with; the custom LED layouts are slick for setting specific keys or building your scheme of lighting and having the ability to swap arrows and WASD keys make many left-hand gamers happy too. Being able to swap profiles on the go, and program two Macros per profile, without having to visit the software is a huge advantage too. You can take advantage of ideas on the spot, rather than stopping what you are doing and having to use the editor to get the timing and commands sorted out.

If we did have to pick at the Hermes P2 RGB to find any fault, all we can come up with are two things. The first is a personal issue, as we like to see what is inside. Hiding a screw or the roller bar being the issue impeding our entry was a bummer, but it also keeps problems to a minimum for Gamdias too. The second issue is preference based, and it's the large size, which may drive some away. Had the wrist rest been detachable, this would not be an issue to most.

With what Gamdias supplied in our Hermes P2 RGB keyboard, we feel they hit the nail on the head with almost all of the options that can be had. The only thing missing is a way to double layer the entire product, something along the lines of EasyShift+. That being said, the cost involved is not that bad at all. While the near $140 price tag may scare away a few potential customers, those who know what this keyboard is all about will appreciate the investment. Feature rich, customizable, RGB LED lights. Software which is seemingly endless and relatively affordable cost are all great reasons why the Gamdias Hermes P2 RGB Optical Mechanical Gaming Keyboard should be on your wish list.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award

The Bottom Line: Gamdias is only the third manufacturer to move to optical mechanical switches in the mainstream! On top of that we find an extremely capable keyboard rich with features, software which goes above and beyond, and Hermes P2 RGB can be had for a price that is more than acceptable.

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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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