Inwin shows off it’s design skills

CES 2014: Looks and quality in one glass case

Inwin logoInwin used CES to not only show off their design prowess but to lay down the gauntlet about quality too. It wasn’t just the cases that stood out, their accessories were also a cut above the normal fare.

The first thing SemiAccurate saw in the Inwin booth was the frame for the new 901 case. It was a bare 4mm thick aluminum hoop with cutouts for the fan and card slots, but otherwise a single piece. To this they bolt the various internal brackets, holders, and cages that one needs to build a PC. The sides are a bit out of the ordinary, a single piece of smoked glass rather than a plexiglass or metal sheet, and it is bolted to the chassis with a large screw.

Inwin 901 and 904 cases

The new look in PC cases

With the internal LEDs off, the 901 looks almost opaque, but once you turn on the LEDs, it looks like the dark hunk of smoked glass that it is. Blue LEDs on the full-sized 904 beside it are borderline sinister. The cutout on the bottom has ports on the sides, a fan intake on the bottom, and a magnetically attached washable screen over the grill. As soon as you feel the pair you will realize the quality of the materials, something that makes the price of about $190 for the 901 and $280 for the 904 seem quite low.

On the accessory side, there were four things that stood out starting with the iBite phone stand. What was a prototype last year is now a product, and comparing the old and new models shows they are exactly the same dimensions but the new one is significantly lighter than last year’s model. Other than that, you can buy them now for only $9, $15 if you want a pink one with embedded sparkly crystals and such.

Two mouse pads also stood out, the Rockermat2 and the Batmat. The Rockermat2 is a thick chunk of anodized aluminum with a cable holding sticker made out of that washable material used for the wall walking octopus type toys. The Batmat is a larger, thicker version with a black rubberized coating, little wings on the top and bottom, plus diamond cut edges. If you want heavy aluminum mouse pads, take a look at this pair.

Inwin Mr Bubble headphone stand

Mr Bubble was not an expected item

The last accessory was a bit unexpected, a blown glass headphone stand that looks like a giant mushroom just before it unfurls. Inwin calls this Mr Bubble, and as far as we could tell it is the only hand-made blown tempered glass headphone stand in all of CES. Even with the market all to themselves, Inwin only charges $59 for each Mr Bubble, dirt cheap for hand-made items like this.

Inwin 707 case

707 is code for prototype at Inwin

Next up we have a prototype case Inwin calls the 707. It is far enough along that you will probably see them for sale at Computex but officially there is no timetable. The cases are made from thick aluminum plates and the door is offset from the interior plastic panel to aid airflow. Also note the top panel, it hinges up to vent the case or folds flat with just a little gap for ventilation.

Inwin Tou limited edition case

Tou is the new look in high end cases

Last up we come to the latest limited edition cases from Inwin. If you recall last year’s H-Frame and 2012’s D-Frame, you will understand what this year’s Tou is all about. It is a limited edition run of 200 units made from chunky cast aluminum and thick mirrored glass. It is really solid, not some cheesy shiny plastic thingy with hollow ribs, this is one heavy case. The mirrored glass case is similarly thick and like the 901/904, bolted on with big screws.

With the internal LEDs off, the Tou looks like a mirrored case, but when you hit the front touch buttons to light up the internals, it becomes transparent. The look there is like the smoked glass of the 90x line, and to this author it looks really good. If you like the looks too, you had better order soon because the last two went quickly. The only down side is that the case costs $999, but for the quality and design, that seems inexpensive.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate