Usually with a review such as this, we tend to go with the shorter on page review format, but we felt there was too much to discuss with the Sentry 3 to just gloss over things in a single page. So, with all the room needed to put the Sentry 3 in the correct light, let's get to it.
First of all, the power range on the Sentry 3 is amazing. Not only do all the channels function in a range of 6.4V to 11.89V of power delivery to each fan, but with 15W per channel, and 75W of power delivery over the entire device, you are going to run out of places to put fans before you run out of power. The looks of the Sentry 3 are clean and pleasing to look at, but there are issues, and obvious ones at that.
First, the Sentry 3 has a major issue with its visible field of view. While we realize that in most circumstances, viewing the controller will be at some sort of an off-angle, and being able to see it from those angles makes life easy for most users. For those who want to use this in an HTPC, or a smaller LAN box, people will be asking when you are replacing your fan controller, as it looks like the LCD is defective when viewed head on. To us, it needs to be visible while looking directly at it just as much as from odd angles.
The second, and most frustrating issue we found, is that even though we talk of fat fingers when typing, a good capacitive screen will read where fingers are almost before they touch the screen. Since the LCD was shifted so far to the right, we found we could not activate the power button, nor the alarm button; it was either that or both just happened to be broken, but either way that "es no bueno".
On the flips side of all this talk of issues, what we could use functioned well, and is really easy to set and adjust. Performance mode jacks the fans up close to maximum, but still is controlled by the thermal probe readings, so it's fine for most users during gaming. Manual mode in the middle allows users to completely customize the speed each channel runs at. Lastly there is quiet mode, which operates like performance mode, just with the fans set much lower in RPM. The slider worked fine, swapping channels is just a press away, even setting the alarm is fairly easy, and with a post code style motherboard buzzer, when things get warm, you will know it from the cry of that speaker.
Here we sit with one of the most powerful touchscreen fan controllers on the planet, and while we should be raving about the Sentry 3 and all of its benefits, we just can't do that and feel good about the review we are offering. Even being able to find this controller for less than $30 isn't enough for us to overlook the LCD issues we found in our sample. Could it be a one off issue? Possibly, but the reality is NZXT didn't take any straight on shots for press, and from what we see in those images, the two buttons we had issues with are almost under the bezel in them as well.
So even though we loved the power, and we really liked what controls we could use, NZXT and the Sentry 3 seem to miss on some pretty obvious points, and therefore we think you may be better off with another touchscreen controller, unless you need this sort of power delivery over functionality and looks.
PRICING: You can find the NZXT SENTRY 3 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The NZXT SENTRY 3 retails for $34.99 at Amazon.