Durgod might not be a name you’ve heard of before in the world of gaming keyboards but they’ve been making a name for themselves in the enthusiast community. You’ll often find them on Drop or Amazon challenging the heaviest of heavy-hitters in pricing and features. Today, we’re looking at the Hades 68, a small form-factor gaming keyboard with RGB and a heavy-duty aluminum case. Is it worth your $119?
- Current Price: $109 - 129 (HK Gaming on Amazon)
- Layout: ANSI - US International
- Design: 68-key
- Material: Aluminium
- Key Switches: Cherry MX, Kailh, Gateron
- Keycaps: ABS doubleshot
- Full N?key rollover; Anti?ghosting technology
- Illumination: Per-Key RGB
- Programming: Macro, Lighting, Shortcuts, Remapping
- Software: Supports Durgod Hera Compiler software
- Cable length: 1.6 m (5.2 ft)
Included in the Box:
- Durgod Hades 68 Mechanical Keyboard
- Instruction manual (English)
- Dust Cover
- Type-C to type-C USB cable (3.3 ft ; 1m)
- Type-C to type-A USB cable (5.9 ft. ; 1.6m)
- Logo sticker
- Keycap puller
- Interface: USB (plug and play)
- Dimensions: 12.2 x 4.1 x 1.5 in (31 x 10.5 x 3.9 cm)
- Weight: 1.98 lbs (0.9 kg)
The Aluminum Difference
If you’ve been around gaming keyboards for a while, you’ve no doubt seen the trend of “aircraft-grade aluminum” cases. Indeed, it’s one of the defining features of virtually all major gaming keyboards these dates and for good reason. A metal top plate makes your keyboard feel solid, premium, and great to type on. Top plates are usually where the aluminum ends, however, as the back and sides are typically lightweight ABS plastic.
Which makes the Durgod Hades 68 quite the odd bird in the keyboard world. In contrast to the rest of the gaming world, its case is completely aluminum which makes the entire board feel much heavier, rigid, and more premium. We’ve looked at few such keyboards over the years, the Mistel Sleeker, the Vortexgear Pok3r RGB, the Sewino GK64. Exactly none of these boards gaming from the gaming sector. They were all targeted squarely at enthusiasts that were willing to spend big bucks for a metal case.
Why? Because you can kill a man with one of these keyboards.
I kid, but only kind of. The Hades 68 is a heavy-duty keyboard that immediately and consistently feels like a better product than 99% of the competition in the gaming world. Part of it is the weight and feel of a completely metal keyboard when held. The other part is how that solid case improves the typing experience.
The Durgod Hades feels great to type on. My sample had Kailh Box Browns which are tactile but not clicky and very smooth in their travel. Depending on your price range, you can pick up your choice of Gaterons for $10 less or Cherry MX switches for $10 more. It’s a good deal. No matter what you choose, though, you’ll find that the typing experience is solid and satisfying.
Key-feel is determined by far more than just the switch. The case plays a huge role, as does how much empty space there is inside it. The Hades is rock solid with no reverberation from gaps in the case. The stabilizers are also nicely lubricated right from the factory so there’s no rattle or ping from the larger keys. This is something I attribute to Durgod’s roots in the keyboard enthusiast community that we get to benefit from as gamers. If you’re coming from a Razer or Corsair, you’ll notice the difference right away.
The metal case does bring some limitations with it, however. There are no tilt feet, for one, though the case is made with a tall enough natural angle that I never felt like this was an issue. This is also completely normal for cases that aren’t made of plastic. More limiting is that the USB-C connection is recessed back a touch, so finding a replacement cable should you ever lose one will involve more trial and error. I had three cables on hand from other devices and only one was thin enough to fit in the port, other than the included cable.
The only thing I’m really not a fan of here is Durgod’s use of single-shot ABS keycaps. They’re perfectly standard for gaming keyboards - virtually identical to what you’ll find on Logitech and Razer keyboards - but when the rest of the build is so much better, they definitely stand out all the more. I do like that they went with a clean, non-stenciled font, though.
Gaming Features and Performance
When it comes to gaming features, the Hades has it where it counts. It features a 1000 Hz polling rate for instantaneous recognition of each key press. It also includes N-Key Rollover so you’ll never need to worry about your keystrokes cancelling each other out.
Using the Hera software, you’ll be able to store up to three profiles of keymaps for all of your custom bindings and macro needs. There are also dual function layers for each profile. So, Fn1+1 can trigger F1 and Fn2+1 can trigger your AOE in World of Warcraft. These buttons are also conveniently located to the left of the spacebar to easily access with your thumb.
Hera also allows you to customize the keyboard’s lighting. Just under a dozen lighting modes come preset on the board that can be accessed and speed/brightness customized without software. Inside Hera, you’re allowed much more customization to create your own profile. I wouldn’t go looking for Razer Synapse levels of customization here, but it’s still very serviceable and easy to wrap your head around for newcomers.
The only quibble I have with the lighting is that it seems likely this is the reason why Durgod opted for single-shot ABS keycaps. I replaced my set with a cheap set of double-shot shine-through PBT keycaps from iKBC and the denser plastic definitely cut down on some of the shine. I would opt for a little less shine for a better keycap any day of the week but if you’re a big RGB fan, you’ll likely be very happy with what’s included here.
Any time an enthusiast company enters the gaming space, I pay attention. Enthusiast keyboards generally offer much better quality and an improved typing experience while usually costing similar or even less in price (the “gaming” tax is real). The Hades 68 is my first Durgod product and I admit to being impressed. The build quality, responsiveness and key-feel are outstanding for the money. Factor in programmability, great lighting, and that excellent case and you have a real winner of a keyboard.
- Excellent built quality
- Lots of switch choices
- Solid aluminum case - none of the “aluminum top plate” business
- Full RGB, macro, remap programming
- Great pricing
- Single-shot ABS keycaps
- Narrow, extra recessed USB Type-C connection
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.