Pros: Cherry MX Blue, GAMDIAS Element, Backlight, Recordable macro keys, On the fly macro recording, Magnetic wrist rest
Cons: Software can be confusing and buggy, Backlight doesn't light certain keys
Here is the box:
Included is the keyboard itself, the magnetic wrist wrest, a quick start guide, and some stickers. A unique feature of the wrist wrest is that it is attached with magnets. I have been waiting for this for longer than I can remember. Using hinges is fine, until they break. Another feature of the wrist wrest is that it doubles as a dust cover. Gone are the days of carrying around the box or a separate dust cover for your keyboard when gong to LANs. With the HERMES, you only need the wrist wrest.
Many of the features are listed on the box.
The cord is braided and includes USB, Mic, and Headphone pass-through.
Here is a side view of the keyboard
Physical Aspects and Construction
The dimensions of the keyboard are as follows.
Length: 18.5'' / 47.5cm
Width 6.75" / 17cm
Height (max) 1.25" / 3 cm
The keyboard is VERY sturdy. It is one of the heaviest keyboards I have ever handled. It is clearly very high quality. The base has a single level riser with rubber pieces on the bottom. The keyboard uses Cherry MX Blue switches, however GAMDIAS has added their own twist. They have added what they are calling the "GAMDIAS Element" This is simply a rubber cushion around the key that dampens the sound and increases response time.
I personally like the system, but I can see how others might not. It makes the keys feel a bit more like a membrane keyboard. The sound dampening is there, but it is still a loud keyboard. If you prefer a quiet work environment, this is not for you. However, when I put on headphones, the sound is not an issue.
I have uploaded a recording comparing the sounds of 1. Normal Cherry MX Blue, 2. Cherry MX Blue with GAMDIAS Element, and 3. A standard membrane keyboard. http://audiour.com/playlist/tfwuwdtw
The GAMDIAS HERMES is very user friendly. The keys have a very quick response time thanks to the GAMDIAS Element. The keyboard includes 6 key and N key rollover. This can help solve BIOS compatibility issues. The backlight has 4 brightness settings and a breathing option. The red backlight is very effective and will allow the gamer to play in all light levels. Like most gaming keyboards, the HERMES includes media controls, many macro key (13), and a windows key disable button. A few keys can be hard to read in the heat of battle as some have up to 3 functions, but the user will quickly pass this hurdle. Another small issue I have with the keyboard is the backlight. It does not fully light the enter and shift key.
The software aspect of the HERMES is where I personally feel the keyboard falls behind. The software looks visually appealing and works fine for the most part. You can tell that they did not follow the saying "form follows function". Many simple tasks, such as making macros, can be very difficult. I have also found some possibly Windows 8 compatibility issues. The software makes switching accounts very slow (I have tested this and have come to the conclusion that it is the software). This being said, if you don't run the software, some of the advanced functionality is still retained.
Besides the few bad things I mentioned earlier, the software is mostly good. It allows you to reprogram almost every key, set macros, set the backlight, set timers, and track the most used keys. I can see what GAMDIAS was going for in the software, but I just don't feel it is there yet.
In conclusion, I believe the GAMDIAS HERMES is an very good keyboard. It is sturdy, mechanical, and comes with an advanced software suite. GAMDIAS is definitely on track to competing with the big dogs. I would recommend the keyboard to anyone in the marked for a high quality mechanical gaming keyboard, who doesn't mind a loud experience.
I give the GAMDIAS HERMES a 4/5 with the breakdown as follows:
Physical Aspects 5/5
The product should be available by the end of September. It will be available at all major electronics websites. A more detailed and country specific list may be found here http://www.gamdias.com/en/buy/?pin=12f5f9c0d3e562555c7ad5c534013202