It turns out, since my reunion with computers and gaming a few years ago with my first PC build in years, that I have become a bit of a snob when it comes to peripherals. Specifically the mice and keyboards that I use.
I used to be happy with the simple Logitech or Microsoft budget options. That was until I purchased a Cooler Master CM Storm TK+ with Cherry MX Brown switches. I found that keyboard to be the perfect mix of compact while still offering a numpad.
Well since then I have went through several keyboards including another TK+ with Cherry MX Blues, the very compact Drevo Gramr with Kaihl Browns, Turbot 87-Key with some kind of clone blue switch, Tesoro Tizona with Cherry MX Blacks, KBParadise V80 TKL with Cherry MX Blues and recently the Drevo Blademaster TK.
So that’s a lot of keyboards and I am convinced I have missed some. Regardless we are here today to talk about the Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB.
I saw this pop up on Massdrop and I liked what I saw. A mechanical tenkeyless keyboard that was low-profile with individually customizable RGB back-lighting.
The box it came in was pretty standard for a keyboard having picture of the keyboard and its name on the box. Nothing too special here. Opening it we get to the keyboard and almost too short rubber USB-C to USB-A connector. I like the use of USB-C on the keyboard side and would have liked it even more if it was USB-C on the computer side as I still have not found a good use for the port on either of my computers. Might as well be used by a keyboard.
Initially I thought the keyboard felt a little too light but it sits firmly in place on my desk and does not move around. What is really encouraging is the deck does not bend at all. I have other keyboards that will bend more than this and they look to be more rigorously built than the Hermes M3.
Visually the keyboard is pretty good. There is no unused space for the most part except for, what I would contend, the requisite space between function keys and the regular alpha keys. The black base under the keys seems to hold up pretty well and doesn’t easily scratch. The nice mirrored finish around the outer edge really sets this keyboard apart along with the floating style low-profile keys.
The keys themselves are a bit of a let-down. They have a bit of a slippery texture and the font used while OK can get a bit distracting when you have keys with multiple functions. Also the keys cannot be replaced with standard Cherry MX style keys as they are some kind of proprietary key (possibly kaihl low profile) with brown tactile feel. I do have to say though that the mechanical switches themselves feel very uniform and I have no issues with them at all. They feel great to type on. In fact it is my new favourite keyboard to type on even with the less grippy key textures. Previously it was the yet to be reviewed Drevo Blademaster and the KB Paradise V80.
There are downsides though and sadly there are more than a few which really makes the keyboard hard to recommend. First to do any real customizing of the keyboard RGB backlighting it requires the installation of Gamdias’ Hera software. Well the Gamdias site is so incredibly hard to navigate it took me a few tries to find the software to download. Once downloaded, Windows 10 recognizes it as a virus so I deep scanned it for anything. It came up clean and so installed it. The software is actually very easy to install and I quickly had my keys customized to what I like. The sad thing it looks like the software installs a separate tracking software which you cannot turn off so once I installed and saved my profile to my keyboard (as the Hermes M3 has it’s own CPU and memery for storing profiles) I uninstalled the Hera software.
The RGB lighting is pretty good and bright which is nice and helps with the legibility of the keys which is fine. Another problem that I have found is even with the front legs deployed the angle of the keyboard isn’t quite as much as I would like.
The only other accessory included in the box with the keyboard is a key puller. I am unsure why you really need one unless you are planning to really deep clean you keyboard in the future which I guess is a possibility but you won’t be changing out these keycaps as they are not standard.
Overall the keyboard is relatively decent. The software is definitely a big problem however and Gamdias needs to focus on fixing their website to make their software simpler to find. They also need to remove whatever the second tracking app is that shows up in the taskbar. I don’t care for that.
Overall I am happy enough with the keyboard to use it and I think overall I believe I got a deal even with the $25 dollar customs charge upon delivery. On Amazon this keyboard sells for $165.99. With the customs charge and the conversion from USD to CAD I paid $119.59 CAD. This is an appropriate price for this keyboard I think but I cannot recommend buying at $165.99 CAD.