Fractal Design Pop Air (RGB) review. Dullness aside

Pleasant exterior

The Pop series is a new range of cases from Fractal Design. Pop is divided into two categories, Air and Silent, and these into three size variants. We received the Pop Air case, which is the middle sized model. It is the only one in the series to offer a wide choice of colour options. The Pop Air has a perforated front panel, and cooling should be more efficient as more of the mask area is open.

Basic parameters


Pleasant exterior

Don’t expect much in a box with polystyrene filling. In addition to the box, the essentials such as screws and disposable tightening strips are also included. To attach a water cooling radiator to the top of the case, you get an additional bracket. This is included in the accessories. Of course, there are also instructions.

The first impression of the case is positive. The first thing that catches the eye is the colour design of the case. Only the Air case offers colour variants. In addition to the colours, it is possible to choose between a metal side panel instead of tempered glass, with or without illuminated fans or a variant with a white body instead of black. In total, you can choose from up to nine different versions of a single case. The build quality is solid, as is usual with Fractal Design. The tempered glass in the reviewed version is embedded in the grooves of the chassis.

The thickness of the glass is 2.85 mm. It is anchored with two screws from the back of the case. It’s a pity that they didn’t take the latching system for the side panels from more expensive series, such as Meshify, and apply it to the new line of cases. But if you don’t reach inside the case often, it’s not something you’d necessarily need.

Although the front panel is largely perforated, it does not have a fine dust filter on the intake. This is partly replaced by perforations with holes that are 0.9 mm in diameter. Compared to other, similar designs, this mesh is finer, but still a bit too thin (and inefficient) for a dust filter.

Hexagonal protrusions are pressed into the perforated sheet for a better look. They are slightly protruding from the surface of the mask and you can hardly see them when looking perpendicularly at the case. The sheet metal itself is thin and flexes even when touched lightly.

Although the front panel may appear to be one piece, this is not the case. The bottom plastic part is removable. It serves as a cover for the two short 5.25″ slots. You can use this one for a CD reader, USB connector extension or even a fan speed controller, for example. A drawer inside one of the two positions serves as a storage compartment for small items. I can’t imagine myself storing SD cards or candy in there. But on the other hand, it is to be commended that the empty space is at least used in this way.

The front panel can be removed from the body for easier cleaning. Of course also for handling fan positions. The entire Pop series is equipped with 120 mm Aspect fans. In our case they are Aspect 12 RGB, 3-pin version (with DC control only). If you’d like to swap out the two pre-installed fans for larger ones, you have the option for two 140 mm fans. Alternatively, you can also fit a water cooling radiator up to 280 mm in size.

   

Perforations can also be found on the top of the case. You can mount two 120/140 mm fans or a water cooling radiator up to 240 mm. But be careful that the height of the memory modules is not more than 46 mm. Dust protection is not so necessary here, as it serves as an exhaust and not an intake. But still, there is a grille with the same holes as in the front, 0.9 mm. This is held in place by magnets all around the perimeter. The grille is placed in the groove. It is slightly deeper and so unintentional manipulation of the grille is easily avoided.

The functional I/O panel extends the length of the case and not the width. It is lined with an orange strip – the colour depends on the colour variant of the case. The power button is positioned slightly lower than the structure, so you can easily find it by touch. When the backlight is on, it also glows the same colour as the fans. Next to it is a button to switch between colors and backlight modes. Then there are two 3.5 mm Jack connectors, two USB connectors, and a covered section that says “Type C”. That’s right, if you want to have a Type-C connector as well you have to buy it separately. The recommended price for this expansion accessory is 10,99 EUR.

   

The back of the case features a different shape for perforation. Instead of the standard honeycomb shape, Fractal Design used triangles. Otherwise, everything is the same as before. A hole for the motherboard I/O panel, seven slot covers for PCI Express expansion cards, and a hole for the power supply. The latter is designed for ATX power supplies.

The case is held upright by four feet with non-slip pads. These provide sufficient resistance to prevent the case from unintentionally sliding. The power supply is protected from dust by a dust filter with a fine mesh.


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