We have had the pleasure of seeing a few products from IN WIN over the last year and they are still churning out new designs as we speak. Today we get to look at another "inspired" design. Cases like the X-Fighter, a take on both Star Wars and a bit of the looks of Optimus Prime, it was, to say the least, unique. The Maelstrom, while more subdued to look at, had green bars on the front, which really reminded me of a football helmets face guard to be honest. What these cases did offer aside from unique exteriors were good cooling and a bunch of various tool-less features.
Staying on top of the latest trends and what I would assume is a drive to the younger crowd, IN WIN offers us a new chassis to have a look at. This may sound a bit harsh, but looks are number one in my choices. I mean bottom line, even if it cools like a champ I still have to look at it every day. Saying that leads me to the fact that while I don't personally like the exterior of what I have seen from IN WIN, that's not to say they aren't attractive and eye catching. They are! - It just isn't my cup of tea.
With that out of the way, I'm sure you are already thinking I am going to hammer IN WIN about their case. I really don't plan to. I plan to try to give a fair and unbiased look at anything anyone sends my way. Today looking at the Android from IN WIN should be no different. I plan to look at what this case offers the buyer aside from aesthetics. With an open mind and looks in the back of my mind from the previous things I have seen, let's get this underway.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Android from IN WIN is a SECC steel chassis that has been painted inside and out with a matte black paint. This mid tower chassis takes a different approach to the front bezel. While it still offers all the typical switches and I/O connectivity, the front takes on a sort of armor plating. With the main body being black, IN WIN chose nice, contrasting, metallic silver for these plates. These plates are removable for easy installation and use, but snap back in place for day to day looks, closing the front off and really "stealthing" the five, 5.25" bay drives. Under the "plates" IN WIN keeps in the spirit of removable pieces and offers a removable grille with the name plate at the bottom for easy maintenance of the intake. Behind this intake you will find a cage to install up to three 3.5" drives. The Android will fit both m-ATX and ATX motherboards and offers seven expansion slots.
While IN WIN doesn't offer a whole lot as far as specifications of their included fans, they do still offer four inside this mid tower. Behind the removable front grille there is a 120mm with blue LEDs to add a bit of flash to the front. Inside the case, the typical green bladed fans are what you will find in the top and rear of the chassis, both the 120mm flavor. The side panel has all mesh where a window would typically be. This is backed with a 220mm, blue LED fan. With what IN WIN offers in cooling, I think temperatures should be under control inside.
The Android has been out for the better part of the last month, and getting one to your door takes a simple search in Google. I was able to locate quite a few e-tailers that currently carry this chassis. Getting one won't be any issue. So far I haven't seen any deals that include shipping, but all of the pricing is within about $20 across the board. On the lower end of the spectrum, you can find it listed at Newegg for $79.99. Of course, there is almost $20 in shipping charges to still apply, so keep that in mind as well. Let's let the images speak for themselves and tell the tale of what IN WIN has to offer for almost $100.
The Android ships in the silver and black packaging with just a hint of a rose colour to accent the metal like background of the box. One can only assume the little character at the bottom left of the case image is where the design stemmed from.
Five of the key features are listed on this panel; tool-less installation, dust proof filters and a futuristic design covers a few.
IN WIN's little friend hangs from the top on this panel and we get the right side of the case this time to look at. At the bottom, there are icons containing both compliances and included features.
On this last panel IN WIN uses the space for the specifications list and a couple of stock related stickers with information verifying what's inside.
If it works for heavy cases, it will work as well with a lighter mid tower. The Styrofoam end caps surrounding the plastic inner liner did a great job of getting my Android here safely.
The IN WIN Android Mid Tower Case
On the front of the Android the first thing you run into is the front I/O surrounded in silver plastic. Just below that, in the black band is a slot for a floppy drive with a black cover in place. Moving down, we run into the removable "plates" that cover the 5.25" drives when not in use. At the very bottom there is an area covered in mesh with the IN WIN logo on it. This is a removable dust cover for the intake fan.
What can only be seen as the "head" of this Android with the big green light resembling the single eye of the character on the box is actually the front I/O. The green light is also the power button, and next to it, and very small, is the reset button and HDD activity light. Connectivity options are two USB 2.0 ports, Mic and audio 3.5mm jacks, as well as an e-SATA connection to finish things up.
The left panel is made of steel, but where typically a window would be, IN WIN opted for a mesh panel. This panel offers better air flow for the case than a window, but also allows the monster, 220mm fan behind it to breathe well. Notice there are optional holes if you would rather add your own 120mm fans.
The rear of the chassis has an I/O shield already installed, although it will likely need removal to fit your board. To the right the rear 120mm exhaust fan takes up the rest. The middle consists of seven expansion slots with pry out covers. Only six are left in, but an extra cover is included in the hardware. That leaves the large hole at the bottom for the power supply.
The right side panel is relatively plain. One thing to mention is the grooves cut into the panel. While they don't do a lot, they will allow for a bit of convection to draw in cooler air in to the back of the motherboard tray.
Under the Android there is an area punched out in a square pattern. This is to allow the fan on the power supply to draw air in when the fan is placed inside. The chassis is supported by raised bumps in the floor and have anti-skid rubber pads to protect your desk and keep the case from sliding accidentally.
Inside The IN WIN Android Mid Tower Case
Inside the door panel you can see the 220mm fan. Also notice the bit of wiring to the left. This is to switch the LEDs on and off from the outside. As long as you have the 4-pin Molex connection getting power, the fan will spin, just the lighting is controllable.
There are six total bays of the 5.25" variety. The top slot can only be used for a 3.5" drive with the adapter plate that is holding up the front I/O wires. The other five slots can be populated as usual and held in place with the tool-less clips. The bottom three bays have the same clips, but this time they hold the drive cage in place. This drive cage will come out and accept up to three, 3.5" drives.
In the motherboard tray there is a hole to allow for access on most boards to the CPU back plates. The right side stops short of the drive bays to allow for a bit of cable management and a hiding spot. When you go to install the motherboard, at least for the ATX, you use the raised bumps in the tray as risers. If you plan to use an m-ATX motherboard, there are a couple risers included for the holes at the bottom of the board. In the floor, above the power supply hole, IN WIN also adds a screen type filter that slides out for easy cleaning.
Inside the rear of the Android you get a look at the green bladed fans that we are used to in IN WIN cases. And both fans come with 3-pin connectors. Under the exhaust fan, IN WIN installed the plastic, tool-less, expansion card locks.
Another 120mm is strapped under the top. This is the reason for the bump on the top you saw in the profile shots. This bump allows for the fan to build a bit of pressure before it has to push through the mesh.
The wiring included from the front I/O is relatively short. As you can see, the e-SATA doesn't make it to the floor, the USB is short and the rest just make it outside the chassis. In their defense, while there isn't any "extra", with some clever wiring they get where they need to be and can still be out of the way.
Accessories and Documentation
Remember the bag you saw peeking out of the power supply hole, back in the first images? Well, here is what it contains. There is the extra expansion slot cover I mentioned, a wire clip with adhesive tape, lock loop, speaker, 3-pin to 4-pin Molex converter and a bag of assorted screws and risers.
I removed the adapter plate from the top of the drive bays. With the supplied screws, just mount a floppy drive in the middle and then just lock it into place with the tool-less clips.
The manual comes as a fold out. The text is in many languages and the descriptions are short. The step by step format helps and the images provided make up for the lack of verbal help. At the bottom is a French insert, in case that will apply to you.
The Build and Finished Product
It may not look like much has changed, but I have everything I need installed and this is what the finished front looks like.
Just to prove it to you, I pulled both the drive bay cover, which takes a simple press of the black button on the side, and it swings out and off. I also pulled the fan cover just to give you a better look at how it's made. The plastic support leaves quite a bit of room for the fan to breathe through the mesh covering.
With a full ATX board things can get tight. Now, I don't suggest you hide extra wires where I did for this image. Taking up the room at the bottom will block off the intake and is not good for temperatures. Even though the front I/O wiring is short, you can see all the connections were easy to make.
Once the door is back on, the view is impeded. The large fan blades do most of the blocking when not on. As they spin the view gets a little better. Once you flip the switch on the right, the blue LEDs light up the interior and components are much easier to see.
No surprises back here. The expansion covers take a bit of work to get out, but it is expected. The rear I/O limes up well and no issues getting this 1000 watt PSU in there either.
I did have to dig in my box of parts to find another fan converter, and you will have to as well if you don't have free motherboard headers. There isn't much you can hide behind the tray, but the way it stops short will allow you to hide more behind the drive bays.
The lighting isn't the best for the view inside, but I will tell you there is quite a glow of blue once the lights go down. If you don't like the lighting, as it might be too bright to sleep next to, just flip the switch; problem solved.
All powered up, the green eye comes to life and there is a nice glow of blue LED in the bottom. This lighting is not controllable, but the glow floods the table more than blinding you straight on.
IN WIN offers quite a bit in and out of the Android. It is the most unique take on a mid tower front bezel I have seen from them. While this case is a bit too flashy for me and reminiscent of a Transformer, I think I may be a little too old for this case. I do see this case being a hit with the younger users, though. Let's put the looks behind us and go on about what it does offer on the inside. Four fans is a good start, one of which being 220mm is even better. Admit it, you like cases black on the inside just as much as I do and you get a ton of tool-less options as well. The way the case is laid out on the front just seems odd. I would have liked it a bunch more if the covers weren't silver and there was a cover for the floppy drive to match the rest. In all black this case would look very sleek and sexy in my opinion, and possibly broaden the market of buyers.
I think I have the outside covered; let's move to the inside. Installation was a cinch. The motherboard lines right up with the risers, the optical drive slides right in and even with just one lock in place, it was very secure. Wiring may get tough, especially if you don't use a modular power supply. While I did get rid of a bunch below the drive, it isn't good for the flow of the case and I moved it out of there while I looked at the temperatures, and in here they were very acceptable for air cooling. You will have to come up with a way to tie things in next to the drive bays if you have to hide wires like what my power supply has. With patience and a few tries, I'm sure the wiring can be run neatly and out of the way of the fans air flow.
If the Android strikes you as a "must have" case and you decide to go looking for one, it should be very simple. Finding like six pages of Google hits for it only drives that home. With a retail asking price of $79.99 at Newegg I don't think you are overpaying. The chassis may not be my favorite to look at, but it does offer great cooling and a user friendly experience. IN WIN is always trying to stay ahead of the curve and offer some of the best cases for the money. They have done it here as well, all personal feelings aside.