Not a lot of people know the brand Gamdias. When they think of gaming peripherals, the brands that immediately come to mind are Razer, Logitech, Corsair, or even HyperX with Gamdias just dancing around at the periphery of things. They aren't the most popular, but they make up for it in quality and value, and the odd simple innovation here and there.
And on a personal note, I tend to really enjoy buying high quality gear from not-so-famous brands because you end up getting more value for money, because you're paying for the product and not paying for the just the name. And that's pretty much what you get with the HERMES P1. It is the most affordable in Gamdias' premium line of keyboards - the HERMES series. Being being cheapest in the most expensive line doesn't mean it's bad.
Priced at $119.99, the Gamdias HERMES P1, powered by the Gamdias Hera software, is packed with a lot of interesting features for, as they put it on their website, dedicated gamers. And I will agree with this assessment. It has advanced features that casuals might not use but won't be obstructive in its use at all.
But is it any good? Let's get to the nitty gritty and find out.
What comes in the box?
The entire package comes with the keyboard, a manual, a detachable wrist rest, and a key cap remover tucked inside its own little compartment underneath the keyboard. I was really hoping it would come with extra TTC switches of different types just to act as replacements and customization.
What does it look like?
With the wrist rest, it's at 448 x 202.4 x 36.9 mm, which is pretty perfect for my small space. I imagine anyone who has more space than I do would be absolutely more comfortable with the keyboard even with the wrist rest.
It weighs 1.56KG or roughly 3.4 pounds, which makes it nice and hefty. It isn't crazy heavy, but it's heavy enough.
The front is made of black anodized brushed aluminum, which I quite like. It looks "industrial" but not edgy, like a lot of the gaming peripherals in the market. It's understated but it still gives the HERMES P1 such a distinct look. The logo placement is all the way in the upper right, so it doesn't look out of place. It's quite classy actually. There's also some shiny chrome up top, which I don't mind too much but I don't believe it adds too much to the look.
Lit by beautiful 16 million colors, the plastic key caps are raised and are back lit. My only real issue with the key caps would be the font, which is pretty weird. It isn't a game breaker, and it isn't that noticeable after a while, but it does make specific keys look weird.
How is it to use?
First off, it stays where you put it. Along with the weight, there are 5 grippy feet at the bottom, which keep the keyboard in place. Even if you want the keyboard at an angle, the flip-out stands have their own grippy feet. Good to even have on a glass table, which is where I have it on.
If you want to keep your desk as neat as possible, there are cable management routes in the back, which I didn't get to work properly but there might be a way to use it that I didn't figure out.
Comfort is one of the most important things for keyboards because you end up using it for really long periods of time. And thankfully, the HERMES P1 wrist rest is very comfy. But it doesn't attach to the keyboard firmly. It uses its shape and the weight of your hands to keep it in place, so make sure to secure it if you're picking up your keyboard because your rest will fall off if you don't.
The actual typing experience is quite good. The HERMES P1 uses TTC switches, which feel and sound like Cherry MX Blues. They even have similar actuation force requirements of maybe 55 grams or so. It's a very pleasurable typing and gaming experience. It's nice and clicky, so if that's your thing, you won't miss Cherry MX switches.
What bells and whistles are there?
On the surface, you've got the basics for mechanical keyboards - anti-ghosting, high polling rate (1000 Hz), and n-key rollover. It also does have RGB lighting, with 16.8 million colors. Not only is it pretty, it's functional.
With the Hera software, you can assign colors and lights to specific keys, which can be customized per profile. And each profile can auto-launch based on an app or program or game you launch. You can have important keys lit up so it's easier to see if it isn't more convenient to just feel around for them. I use this most often for Overwatch's "thanks" hotkey that I set at the 6 key. It isn't very easy to feel for so I find that lighting it up yellow makes it easy to find and I don't make as many mistakes.
The function keys are pretty useful, too. Fn + 1 to 6 changes profiles on the fly, Fn + F2, F3, F5, F6, F7, and F8 are multimedia keys, Fn + F4 swaps out WASD keys and arrow keys, Fn + F9 is on-the-fly macro recording, Fn + F11 locks the entire keyboard, Fn + Ins, Del, Home, End, Pg Up, Pg Dn, 8 and 2 on the keypad all control the lighting, which you can see more of in the video above.
The downside to having so many functions is that it has to be accessible. To that end, the Fn and Windows key's positions are swapped on the keyboard, which triggered me at the start. Eventually, you get used to it and the Hera software allows for one click switching, but if you're obsessive about these things, it might bug you too.
Oh and speaking of the Hera software, there's a whole lot of stuff you can do with it. You can change your key bindings, manage your macros, set up timers and alarms with on screen displays, it's crazy. You can make sure your skills are as close too 100% uptime as possible. It really is for dedicated gamers.
So, is it worth the price?
It really is a pretty big investment at $119.99, but it does give you so many options and it really will help you if you choose to make full use of all the features of the keyboard and the software. If you're that type of gamer, then yes, absolutely, go for it.
If you're a beginner, or a casual gamer, if this is going to be your first ever keyboard, then there might be features on this thing that you're not going to be using. If all you really want is the clickiness and responsiveness of a mechanical keyboard, there are cheaper options from Gamdias. Only invest in this keyboard if you feel like you're going to eventually step up and fully utilize all the features.
But overall, yeah, it's a really solid keyboard which does give you a great gaming experience.