At first glance you notice the magnificent paint job that Antec has done on this case; it is a beautiful pearl black finish on all the case sides. The pictures do not do it justice; it is the kind of paint job you would have to see in person, to believe. Another thing worth taking note of is that this case is smaller then the normal midi tower. The Antec Sonata is classed as a "Mini Tower", this case classification is one of the smallest that still allow for a full size ATX motherboard, once you start going smaller you have to start using mini ITX mainboards.
Having a look at the front you notice the door with a key lock on it, behind the door hides three 5.25" drives, two 3.5" drives, a power and reset button as well as the power led and HDD activity light; both of which are visible through the door. The drive panels can simply be pulled off in seconds with the ease of your finger. On the front is a little silver cover, once open you discover two USB ports, one Firewire port and two audio plugs - in and out.
Moving around to the right hand side panel you will not find much out of the ordinary, the only difference to the side panel is the word Antec drilled into the top of it. It's also worth noting that you are unable to take the panel off as it is pop riveted in the back of the case. Due to the design of the case and how you insert devices in to the 5.25" drives, there is no need for screws so you don't need to have access to the case from the right hand side.
The left side panel is similar in the sense that it also has the word Antec drilled into the top. The main feature to the side panel is the inclusion of the handle that also has a lock on it like the front of the case. When locked you are unable to get into the case, this is defiantly handy if you are going to a LAN party with hundreds of people as it gives you a better sense of security. To open the side panel you simply have to push the handle towards the front and pull the panel towards you.
Finally looking around the back of the case it is nice to see the inclusion of a power supply, something that is defiantly missing from some of the more expensive cases on the market. You also notice the huge rear fan that sizes in at a very large 120mm; we will talk about this more when looking at the internals of the case. Also included is a universal motherboard back plate, when you install your motherboard you simply have to pop out the items you need. Finally is the inclusion of the back plate covers for your PCI slots to help prevent dust and air getting inside the case, these covers can simply be removed and placed inside again with a great deal of ease.