- Packaging and Specifications
- External Impressions
- Internal Impressions
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Zebronics sent their new case called ‘Shield’. There’s really nothing to say at this point since this is the second case from Zebronics that I will be reviewing, but it should be noted that Bijli 2 fell well below my expectations.
Still, it’s never too late to keep an open mind. I mean, after all, everyone makes mistakes and learn from errors and oversights. Even the upper tier brand that have a worldwide presence.
Zebronics comes with a colourful illustrated packaging and gives some clue about the case, but the specification looks vague at best. It also should be noted that companies should make an effort to show the image of the right panel view as well- both with and without the side panel.
Zebronics skipped the fact that the case has a couple of extra mounts for 2.5″ drives (which will be shown later in the review). The front panel connectors were also not mentioned on the specs. Other than the fans mounted on the case, they haven’t mentioned the optional mounting on the top panel and the rear panel. They also forgot to mention the headset stand on the side panel (pretty much like how Thermaltake does with few of their PC cases).
Why such oversight? Why wouldn’t you advertise on the box when you did on the promo video?
The cases is protected by couple of Styrofoam blocks and a plastic bag to protect the case, which the top panel’s Styrofoam being much larger than the base.
The following is the specifications that they’ve mentioned:
|Size||L420 x W185 x H430mm|
|Front||1 x 120mm|
|Side||1 x 140mm|
The case has a single USB 3.0 connector, 2x USB 2.0 connector and the audio jacks.
The first things that you’ll notice is the obvious is the top panel’s handle that’s practically a ripped-off design of CM Storm Trooper and the design of the front panel buttons. A part of the top panel has a mesh on it for ventilation.
The left USB port is sealed for odd reason, followed by USB ports with audio connectors in the middle and then a single USB 3.0 port. A single USB 3.0 header cable supports 2 physical ports, but the manufacturer chose to implement only one and keep the left mould as empty. On the top, there’s the large power button with a smaller size reset button on the top of it. How much money is the company saving in this?
Both the sides of the top panel have a small array of vents. You can also notice passive vents on the sides of the top as well. Other than the matching protruding side panels, there’s a 140mm fan mount and a headset stand on the left side panel.
The front panel has 3x 5.25” bay drives and an exposed 3.5″ drive bezel which can be easily removed from the outside.
The vents are towards the bottom. As you can observe from the pictures, the front panel bezel touches the ground. The 5.25″ removable bezels are not meshed.
As you can see on the rear panel, there are air filters on the top and on the bottom. But the top panel’s filter wasn’t ready to come out until the entire top panel bezel was removed from the frame. 6 out of 7 PCIe slots are vented, but the cases use the most annoying PCIe installation setup, something that Bitfenix did the same with Bitfenix Merc Alpha. Only the first PCIe slot is re-usable, rest are something that you’ll need to snap them. The following was what I’ve said in the following review:
To avoid the recessed part of the PCI slots which usually lets you secure the PCI slots from the inside is not implemented here. I am not sure if its to cut costs for some other reason- but whatever the reason: you’ll need to balance the PCI installation part a bit on the outside and bit on the inside. Unscrew, remove the metal bracket from the case, then remove PCI cover of the slot(s) you want to use, hold the card with your right hand, put back the securing bracket and screw it back with the left. Its a hassle, especially with more than one card being installed. Even if you want to remove one card: you remove all the screws from the PCI slots.
This case has started to make few bad impressions already. You can also see that the paint on the screws have come off, most likely at the time when this case was put together.
The handles don’t really help. It’s made of plastic and you do have to wrestle a bit to make the side panel slide out. Without the section on the side panels to hold and pull- other than the plastic which is bound to break- this is a problem.
The case has 4 case feet with and a fan filter to prevent dust from being collected within the power supply.
I don’t really understand why the heck did the manufacturer decide to have the front bezel touch the ground. Typically, it kept short so you that you can reach the front panel handle from the underbelly of the case to remove to the front panel bezel from the frame. In this case, you have to lift it at an angle.
There are no fans installed on the rear. There seems to be a mounting (I hope) for the 2.5″ drive behind the motherboard tray. There are many cable management holes and a very large hole towards the right of the HDD cage. Above the HDD cage, there’s a mounting for 2.5” drive on the left side panel section.
The case uses white coloured wiring jacket which obviously doesn’t go well with the colour of the case. That so….90s!!!
The single USB 3.0 port on the front panel comes with a header, which all the more reason the actual manufacturer should have simply put the second USB 3.0 port on the empty slot.
There are 2 fans provided with the case- 1x 120mm fan for the front and 1x 140mm fan for the side panel. No specs whatsoever. The fan uses Molex and there is no Molex to 3 pin converter. These fans are sleeve bearing fans. The side panel fans do not have an air filter
The actual manufacturer of the case is made by a company called “Guangzhou Aojie Science & Technology Co., Ltd.”- one of those manufacturers that supply to companies that re-label their products. They already have their own retail lineup in China called Sama. The product link is here.
There is a 120mm fan mount on the top, with a spacing for 25mm thick fans. Since there isn’t much space between the top panel to where the motherboard would be mounting, this makes more sense. There’s only a single 120mm mount because next to it is where the handle is present. It should be noted that along with the clips, this case uses 6 screws to secure the top panel on the frame.
What’s funny about the front panel is the 120mm fan mount setup. They simply riveted 2 thin support plates with multiple holes which only lets you mount only a 120mm fan. There’s an HDD slot which can be seen just below the fan mount. I don’t understand why aren’t those strips riveted in places where the fan can provide air throughout all the section of the HDD bay.
I am not sure why the manufacturer used foam instead of the usual air filter material. Foam usually will be more of an obstacle course and make things worse, especially when a layer of dust is eventually accumulated. The foam is also attached on the mesh so unless you un-clip the mesh you will not be able to remove it.
There are no filters on the side vents of the front panel.
After removing 6 screws from the inside, I was able to pop out the top panel bezel.
Just like CM storm trooper, the top panel handle is riveted. it should also be noted that there’s a plastic attachment below the handle. Truth be told I was expecting far worse considering that the observations made on this case so far is not very positive.
The manufacturer installed the front panel controls and headers on the bezel rather than on the frame- big mistake!! As said previously whenever a case comes like these, you cannot remove the top panel unless you unplug and remove your existing cable management.
And you may end up doing so because for some reason the manufacturer has 2 air filters- one on the frame and one under the bezel. What’s makes this funny is that the one under the bezel uses foam. Really now???
Just like the front panel bezel, the top panel doesn’t have air filter for its side vents.
The space between the motherboard tray and the right sidepanel is 1 cm. The only cable management you can do is the section near the HDD tray and the cable management holes next to it which has a space of around 2 cm. There’s no hole to route through ATX/EPS cable, but hey!! That doesn’t matter because there is hardly any space behind the motherboard tray.
There was no point in doing installation impressions because in addition to the nuisances mentioned above, the HDD clips do not secure the hard drives at all. They fall off!! To make it worse, the HDD slides all the way in- and touches the front panel fan once the mounting holes are aligned. This is the last straw!!! Ratings are not given for this case for the same reason.
There are better cases than this one so its best to avoid the hassle no matter the price. The only part that surprised me is that the handle is riveted on the case exactly the way Coolermaster did for Trooper. But the entire is case is so flawed that it doesn’t make sense to buy the case at all. You have to ask the question why did Zebronics choose THIS case to relabel. I understand and acknowledge that there would some oversight or the other in such el-cheapo cases, but the list of flaws and oversights simply discourages you to keep an open mind.
For those who are interested. Zebronics informed that this case is officially priced for Rs. 4,900/- at the time of writing.