When Antec released the first LanBoy case a few years ago, it raised a few eyebrows, because the quality of the materials and the build quality weren't quite up to the standard of Antec's mainstream mega Sonata case.
There was a very good reason for this: the market the LanBoy was aimed at, and a big clue is in the name.
The LanBoy case was aimed at the people who like to take their desktop PC to LAN parties and was built to be as light as possible so it could carried around fairly easily.
To this end, Antec even supplied a carrying harness for it. The latest incarnation of the LanBoy, the LanBoy Air is something different again and is quite unlike any other PC case around at the moment.
Although the LanBoy carries on the family line of being mobile – a couple of folding handles are built into the top of it – it does weigh in at a hefty 9kg empty.
Built mostly from steel, the first thing that strikes you when you clap eyes on the LanBoy Air is that there isn't a solid panel anywhere to be seen – every panel has a mesh insert and all are removable. Both side panels are split between three horizontal panels and one long vertical one.
The vertical one covers the drive bays, so accessing the internals of the case has never been easier, especially because they're all held in place by thumbscrews.
The modular design of the case not only lets you choose which one (or all) of the side panels you want mount fans to, but also how you want to orientate the drives (both 3.5 inch and 5.25 inch) in the drive bays.
To keep the noise down from vibrating hard drives, the drive mounts have a feature Antec calls Air Mounts. Basically, the hard drive is attached to a mount that has a rubber cord running through it with a hook at either end, these hooks attach to the drive cage, leaving the drive to literally dangle in the air, a nice piece of design to keep drive noise to a minimum.
When it comes to the number of fans already mounted in the case the LanBoy Air certainly lives up to its name, with five 120mm fans split between the front panel, side panel, and the rear panel. The two front ones come with step-less speed controls built in the front bezel, while the two in the side panel have two way Lo-High switches, which can't be accessed when the panel is closed.
The LanBoy Air's modular design is an interesting one and certainly makes it stand out in the sea of PC cases on the market.
There's some very clever thinking gone into its design from the choice of fan mounts to the novel idea of being able to not only mount hard drives in three directions, but also being able to mount optical drives in two directions (although, quite frankly, it's hard to imagine why you would want to mount them so they're accessible from the side of the case).
Although it comes with built in carrying handles, the LanBoy Air is not exactly a lightweight prospect to carry around once built, and the price tag is pretty heavy, too.
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