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GAMDIAS Hermes P3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

GAMDIAS Hermes P3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

We check out the GAMDIAS Hermes P3 mechanical gaming keyboard and determine if it's worth buying or not.

@chad_sebring
Chad Sebring
Published Wed, Jan 3 2018 10:38 AM CST   |   Updated Fri, Nov 15 2019 1:16 PM CST
Rating: 82%Manufacturer: GAMDIAS

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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Gamdias has been on a roll with a massive amount of peripherals as of late, and in that time, it seems like we have seen just about everything they have produced. Since we were first given product from Gamdias, up until this point, not one of them has been a failure, quite the opposite in fact, where the products have been a joy to use. Part of what has made them so successful is the HERA software, which takes an average product, and takes things to a whole other level, where only a select few companies compare in capabilities and offerings delivered via UI to make the peripheral as functional as humanly possible.

Today, we are still looking at a mechanical gaming keyboard, but rather than it having large chunky keycaps that most of us are used to, Gamdias has developed the latest in the P Series of keyboards to be built with low-profile switches, which means the keycaps are half the height of the usual suspects. To many, they may not see the advantages right away, but simply put, with shorter switches and caps, this means travel has been reduced as well. Rather than needing to collapse a standard switch, in the realm of 2mm in the distance, in the overall 4mm of switch travel, in this keyboard, we are given 3mm of total travel in the switches. This means that actuation distance is also reduced to the tune of 1.5mm, making them quicker to use than any other taller switch on the market today.

Of course, this is not the only thing that will set the Gamdias Hermes P3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard apart from the masses of options on the market, but it is the biggest thing to set it apart. However, Gamdias ensures that all other features which make a mechanical keyboard great for gaming are included as well. There is anti-ghosting, NKRO support, Macros, remapping, customizations, LED lighting effects, as well as just about anything else your heart desires. That being said, we should get to the meat and potatoes of the Gamdias Hermes P3 so you can see what is new, what is the same, and if any of these things will drive you towards, or away from this keyboard.

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The basic design of the Hermes P3 uses a plastic frame under the keyboard, and around the edge of the top. This allows Gamdias to use a brushed metal top plate, which exposes all of the switches, and as an bonus offers more glow across the plate from the LEDs than a conventional design would offer. The Hermes P3 is a 104-key layout, and all told the keyboard is 472mm wide, it is 167mm deep, stands just 21mm tall, and weighs in at 1.56kg. We have yet to discover the manufacturer of the switches, but we have seen the logo many times in mice before seeing the script "D" logo on these mechanical switches. Making the connection from the keyboard to the PC is a 1.5-meter cable which has no braided cloth covering, and terminates with a gold-plated connection.

The brains behind the Hermes P3 is a 32-bit ARM Cortex TM-M3 processor and is more than capable of handling what the designers at Gamdias intend the Hermes P3 to offer its users. There is 72KB of onboard memory for use with profiles, Macros, and various custom LED settings. It boasts a 1000Hz polling rate as well as full NKRO support and anti-ghosting by default too. You can also record Macros on-the-fly, there is a Windows disable key, and you can also lock all of the keys so that pets or kids will not accidentally be able to get into the PC and screw things up. The arrow keys and WASD keys can be interchanged, and with the help of HERA software, many things become available, but Gamdias hits on just the consecutive attack mode offered there.

At the time of writing this, the Gamdias Hermes P3 is not that widely available, but where we were able to locate it, stock is ready to ship to your door. Newegg.com is where we located it, and there we see that it is currently selling for $159.99. Overall this is not a bad price, as many lesser equipped keyboards also ask this amount. On the face of things, we do feel that you are getting a lot for the investment, but there is one key thing that may sway buyers to other offerings. Stick with us as we cover what the Gamdias Hermes P3 brings to the table, as well as the major change with the software before you make your final decision on if the Hermes P3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is the solution you desire.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The packaging is much like anything else we have seen from Gamdias in the past. On the left, in the black section, we see the keyboard as well as features and additional bits, but we are also notified of the low-profile switches, and a chart at the bottom denotes the differences. On the right, where the background is white, we see the name of the product and have four of the key features mentioned along with descriptions.

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After installing the HERA software, you then have access to built-in key illumination settings. Seen on this side of the box, we find two setups for MOBA gamers, where only the used keys are illuminated, and also set apart from one another by color.

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The smaller end of the box offers the company name and slogan, while to the right of it is the company information where we find the address and legal information.

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The second-long side of the box offers something similar to what we found on the opposing panel, but this time, the layouts shown are for FPS gamers. Keep in mind; you are not stuck to what is offered by Gamdias, you can also create custom layouts to suit your specific needs as well.

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The last of the thin side panels deliver not only the company name and slogan, but this time also offers the Zeus logo found on all of the Gamdias products.

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On the back of the box, we start with four features listed in ten languages, with the Hermes P3 in full view to the right of it. Across the bottom of the panel, Gamdias delivers the specifications, package contents, and system requirements, and to the right are a QR Code, the serial number, and various icons for the usage and manufacturing of this keyboard.

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Inside of the box, we find that Gamdias used dense foam on either side of the keyboard to keep it in place while the keyboard is in transit. The entire keyboard is also wrapped in a thin layer of foam to protect the keys and finishes, while the cable is tucked away in the back of the box.

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Under the keyboard, floating freely inside of the box, we located a keycap puller. It is bright orange, and is hard to lose, but does come in handy when it comes time to clean the keyboard. Do keep in mind though, since the keycaps are painted, the plastic cap puller will tend to scratch the caps if not used carefully.

Gamdias Hermes P3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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With one glance at the left edge of the Hermes P3, we can immediately tell that the keyboard is much lower than many others we see all the time. There is a stylistic addition with the space cut out of the frame, and above that we can see the exposed switches and the low-profile keycaps, mostly lying flat at this time.

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The central section of the keyboard offers 74-keys in a US QWERTY layout. Skipping past the multimedia keys along the top, we do see arrows on the WASD keys, as well as the G1 and G2 keys for the on-the-fly Macro use found on the B-key and spacebar. Just to the right of the spacebar, we also see the Windows lock.

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Starting the run of multimedia keys, we see the F2 keys used to play the previous track. The F3 key will move to the next track, and the F4 key is used to swap the arrows and WASD keys.

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F5 is the play/pause button, and F6 is used to mute all sound. F7 can be used to lower the volume, while the F8 can be used to increase it.

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The last pair of secondary functions can be located on the F9 and F11 keys. On the F9 key is a camera which stands for Macro recording, whereas on the F11 we see a padlock, which indicates it is to be used to lock all of the keyboard keys from being able to be used.

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The thirty keys left to view on the right end of the Hermes P3 are all seen here. On six of the command keys, we are offered controls for a couple of LED modes, as well as being able to change the direction of said modes as well as the speed in which they are presented. The arrow keys are also marked with WASD, and we see the second set of arrows in the number pad too. It is there where we find the ability to raise and lower the LED intensity with the 8 and 2 keys.

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With the feet now extended, we do see a much better angle of attack on the keycaps above the keyboard. As far as styling is concerned, we see the same cut-out that the left side has, and again, the view is of a very thin keyboard.

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The cable is a bit shorter than most cables and does not come with a sleeved covering. However, we do get a branded hook and loop strap for times when you need to travel with it. The end of the cable has a stylized connector with the Zeus log on it, and the connection is indeed gold plated.

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Beneath the Hermes P3, we can see that the outer edge of the frame is much thicker than the center section. Skinny rubber pads secure the front edge, while rubber pads on the feet are what secure the back edge. We also find a sticker in the center, which has the product name as well as the serial number.

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At both corners, at the back edge, we found the flip-out feet. They do swing well past center to make them tougher to collapse, and the same rubber used to secure it when flat, wraps around the feet and is used to keep it from moving when the feet are extended.

Inside the Hermes P3

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Removing the keycaps on the Hermes P3 should be done carefully. This is not due to the low-profile nature, but the way in which the switches and attachment points are designed. While molding the caps in white plastic, we see they include the pair of switch clips in the center, which locks into the top of the switch. The larger keys also have a pair of plastic bump stops which hit the brushed metal plate, as well as clips for torsion bars, out near the edges.

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The switches found on our Hermes P3 are blue, clicky, and require a bit of force to actuate. It is easy to see where the caps lock into the switch plungers, while the body of them are clear to allow more LED light to pass through. We can also see the exposed torsion bar, and this is found on nay switch more than two caps in size.

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After unscrewing about a dozen screws from the top plate, we were able to open up the Hermes P3. To add rigidity, the bottom frame section has raised sections to support the plate, while the top component of the frame is just a trim piece, to bridge the gap from the plate to the flat lower section.

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Gamdias chose a blue PCB to mount all of the switches and LEDs too. There are resistors between all and a pair of clean solder points below each of the switches. The LEDs are mounted above each switch in four points, and we see no signs of flux, just a slight bit of dust.

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At the beginning of this review, we made mention of the use of an ARM Cortex TM-M3 with its 72KB of onboard storage. On the PCB, we find the HT32F52352 from Holtek, and from what we know of Gamdias keyboards and what HERA brings, this is enough to do what is asked of it.

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To show the capability, we put the Hermes P3 in wave mode. All of the colors will appear as the wave moves left to right, slowing running through the RGB scale. All of the lock indicators are backed with white LEDs, and stand out easily in your peripheral vision to know they are activated.

Gaming and General Impressions

DOOM & PUBG

In FPS titles, we have no complaints. The keyboard works as intended, and the shorter throw of the switches can mean the difference between dodging shots and taking one to the head. The low-profile nature of the caps made for smoother transitions between the keycaps and also added to an overall feeling of speed while using the Hermes P3.

All game types can take the same advantages as we saw in FPS titles, and the on-the-fly Macro programming can and will come in handy, even if limited to just two options up front. Media keys are nice while gaming to adjust the sound levels, but the Windows lock is a treat for gamers too. We also dig that Gamdias tends to the left-hand gamers out there too, enabling keys to be swapped with the press of a button, rather than having to go into software and remap them.

Windows and Productivity

As with gaming, when it came to typing on the Hermes P3 or writing reviews with it, we felt the increase in speed. Low-profile keyboards aren't just for looks when done right, and the switches used in this keyboard are not only clicky, but they have a very similar feel to other full-sized blue switches on the market. For us, it was a natural transition.

At first, we did find our finger to hurt a bit, as we were jamming the keys down due to muscle memory, expecting more travel. However, after much use, we found no vibrations, just solid short-throw switches which delivered a premium feel typing away on it day to day.

HERA Software

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We used the Hermes P2 for a couple of weeks without the software installed, and we are glad that we did. Gamdias has changed the way things work this time around, much to the detriment of their product. It used to be that you would get the software, and it could be run as-is, no updating required. We also recall that while the software would offer updates for software and firmware, the way in which it is done is different now too.

In the image above, you can see that HERA was installed, but we were greeted with a message stating that we could go no further before updating the firmware. This is where things get shaky. A new window appears, asking the user to connect to a server, where the files are held. There is no way to verify we even had an issue first, as at this time, closing the window closed the software, and there is no way to continue without accepting the update.

Well, something is wrong, no very wrong with this new strategy. We accepted the connection to the server, at which time the window shows we have downloaded version 2.3 of the software, and at that point, we pushed program, and away it goes. The image you see was taken thirty minutes after we initiated the flash.

The green bar quickly moved to the position it is seen at, and appears to be still running, and confirmed with Tack Manager, the flash failed. At this point, there is no option. You can either unplug the keyboard or try to restart the PC, but either way, you will be left as we were, with a no longer functioning product.

Final Thoughts

We had such high hopes for the Hermes P3 from the onset. We like that companies offer a choice for those who like the shape and feel of membrane keyboard keycaps, but want to take advantage of what is hot in mechanical keyboards as well. The feel and our time using the keyboard was pleasurable. By default, all of the functionality the keyboard delivers by default like the 1ms polling rate, NKRO, and anti-ghosting all work flawlessly. The secondary functions work as intended too. Swapping arrows and WASD keys had no issues, locking the Windows keys works, and locking out the entire keyboard also functioned as intended. We also liked the LED modes we were able to see by using the buttons to the right for them, and the control of speed and flow is also a nice bonus. As a standalone product, without the software involved, we do not have a single complaint about the functionality or capability.

Sadly though, the fun quickly ended when it came time to try out what HEAR was capable of. Typically, we would have handled this with an email to the manufacturer to allow them the time to fix the issue, but these keyboards are out in the wild, and we cannot be the only one who will experience this. Had they left the updating system the way it was, there would be no issue to discuss here, but they felt the need for a change, and we have shown it to be a change in the wrong direction.

It used to be that you could at least use the software out of the gate, with no need for any updates. Had that been the same this time, we would have shown many images of everything HERA brings to the table. Instead, we were not only locked out of using it this time; it resulted in a dead product. With a sad look on our face and our head shaking back and forth as we write this until Gamdias gets back to the way things were, we found too many variables in what can happen to the user to give them a solid thumbs up.

While we are showing all aspects of the Gamdias Hermes P3, without HERA involved we loved the product, we cannot hide that fact in any way. If you are fine without software and can get along with the default functionality, it is a great keyboard to use. The only issue we see with this angle to approach is that the price would be too much. When we are shelling out nearly $160 for a mechanical keyboard, we expect it to be perfect in every way, and without the software, this is a $99 keyboard all day long. In the end, it is tough to call, but we cannot recommend paying that price for something which will possibly end up dead due to it having to be updated to be functional.

Gamdias was on the right track for an amazing product, and if they are willing to allow users to run the product out of the box without needing to be updated first, customers would be able to enjoy everything possible fully. We hate to say it, but with what we found, we are going to take a pass on the Gamdias Hermes P3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Performance99%
Quality97%
Features70%
Value62%
Overall82%

The Bottom Line: While we loved the Hermes P3 initially, installing HERA to take full advantage of the features ended in a dead product. Even though it is a pleasure to use, without software, it lacks features and capabilities, as well as drastically reducing its value.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

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DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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