Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
One bad decision ruined a good design
on December 28, 2014
I just finished putting together a new system based around a core of NZXT products (case, cooler, fan control, etc) because the components had impressive features, the reviews were good and, coming from the same company, I expected the pieces to work well together. To my surprise and disappointment, every single product that I used from NZXT had moderate to significant flaws in design or execution. Either the product wasn't well thought out - features that looked good on paper didn't work as you'd expect - or the product was poorly made - software worked badly, pieces were flimsy or components were of low quality. While on paper their products may hit all the check marks when it comes to features, I can't say I could recommend any of the pieces that I had experience with and I have my doubts about NZXT's portrayal as a top-tier company focused on innovation and quality.
In this case, the design behind the fan controller is pretty good - the layout is clear and intuitive, the functions are flexible and the form factor is perfect for most cases. The touch screen isn't the best (don't expect mobile phone responsiveness to the touch here) but it's fine for the intended use; how often to you plan on adjusting your fan speeds up and down? Some of the touch spots are far away from where you'd expect; having to press a half-inch to the right of the speed profile icons doesn't make sense and for the longest time I thought that feature was broken (especially since the other touch spots seem pretty accurate)
There's a lot of flexibility in the design - you can see fan speed as RPM or as a percentage, there are two ways to adjust fan speed (up/down arrows or by the slider bar) and you can use different profiles (silence, performance and custom). Unfortunately, as seems to be a common theme with NZXT, documentation is somewhere between poor and nonexistent. There's a cursory walkthrough but they don't do a good job of explaining the various functions and you're left on your own to figure things out - fortunately it's not that complicated.
But the Achilles heel, the thing that makes this a useless piece of junk, is the LCD display. Viewed dead-on from the front the segments are all hazy and half-lit. Look at it from 45 degrees to the side and it looks as if the unit isn't turned on. (The photo for this product must have been Photoshopped because from that angle, below and to the left, the screen is terrible) The only good viewing angle I found was dead on and either 20 degrees above or below face of the display. From that angle it's sharp, clear and colorful but from any other the display is difficult to read and completely unacceptable.