Everything about the Define Mini won me over in the end. The structure is very solid; even with the side panel off there wasn't any flexing to be had to this design. The soundproofing, ModuVent panels and the front door all work in harmony to give you a silent user experience. The interior is well thought out and appointed for such a small design that it made my time building the computer a pleasure without any frustrations.
Most importantly to anyone buying a chassis is the looks and I got to say I liked the Define R3 and with this just being smaller and keeping the aesthetics the same. I like the Mini just as much for my m-ATX system and from the perspective of what the case offers and how it is laid out, I can't find fault in the Define Mini or its design.
I do have a bone to pick and the more obvious price point to consider, though. While I do like that there is an optional fan controller shipped with the chassis, I think it can be done much cleaner. Either add longer leads to the fan or design something to hide that nasty wiring. Even when I try to hide it and add the power to the lead, it just ends up lying on the floor of the case and across my PSU. I know there isn't a window, but the fan controller's mess almost takes away from how nice the case is before you add it. The second issue and it's a pricey one, is that the larger sibling of this pair is actually the cheaper of the two to get. Any way I spin that around, unless like I said you are space limited, I still can't see opting for this over the R3 unless you find a smoking hot deal on one that I am unaware of.
On its own, the Define Mini is a great case, even if it is a bit more expensive than other solutions. You could go buy a smaller NZXT, or a Corsair, or even a BitFenix, but I assure you the Fractal Designs case at bare minimum feels in the hand like it is a much sturdier build, overall quality is higher, along with the attention to finer details.
I agree that sometimes to get exactly what you want it is going to require you to go a little deeper into your wallet to achieve that goal. This just happens to be one of those instances where Fractal Design is offering the "perfect fit" opportunity with the Define Mini. For near $120 I feel the Mini delivers good satisfaction to buyers and gives you a sleek and silent chassis in return. It is a shame I can't award this case, as I really do like it, but it just doesn't pull ahead on its own in any specific category worthy of said awards.
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- We at TweakTown openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion of our content. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here.
- At Fractal Design, our mission is to deliver products with an extraordinary design level, without compromising the important factors of quality, functionality and value. The MSRP of the Define Mini is $99USD as compared to the Define R3's MSRP of $109USD. Our partners have the flexibility to determine product pricing as well as shipping costs on Fractal Design products as it relates to their market and customer base. As such, product pricing can differ and may at different times may be priced either greater or less than MSRP. The current pricing on the Define Mini as of 4/25/2012 on Newegg is $99USD with $9.99 shipping and can be found at http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352011.
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