It’s been a while since I’ve done a review, let alone one for a PC case. They’re deceptively simple constructs; built to house and protect your PC components while also providing a sense of magic about how on earth you managed to fit all of those cables in there. Lately, they’ve also been tasked with amplifying the “gamer style”, with the addition of fancy lights, and neon cooling systems. And on the surface, it seems like the NZXT H710i does all of that with a sense of simple elegance. But where’s the poop?
Nothing is perfect, and that’s definitely true of the H710i. It looks the part, and at first glance convinces you that it could serve as an in-home piece of modern art; A great monolith to observe. But when you open it up to get down to its core duty, you realise you’ll need a team of small-handed rogues (or children, as they are colloquially called) to actually install any of your components. Luckily I can fit my abnormally nimble (for their size) hands in a Pringles can, so I managed. But man, was it a drag.
I’m not going to pretend that this case has somehow revolutionised the computer chassis game, so I’ll cut right to the chase.
What you need to know
It’s really really pretty. That’s it. That’s the review.
No, I’m only (mostly) joking.
The NZXT H710i, like all technology, has things that try to prove itself slightly different from the rest of the PC cases on the market, including its predecessor. But apart from a matte steel outer shell, what exactly does it have to offer? Here’s the basic rundown:
- Two RGB lighting channels, and three fan channels (for voltage regulated or PWM fans)
- The new Smart Device V2 with two RGB LED strips along the inside edge of the case
- A USB-C connector on top
- A cable management bar (that white U-shaped thing), and a rather heavy tempered-glass side panel
- A little cable routing kit, with some useful pre-installed channels and straps
- Four front fans – No RGB on these,
- Removable front panel and PSU intake filters
- A reversible, removeable, top-mounted bracket designed for radiators (up to 360mm) – I didn’t need this, but it’s a need to know, I guess!
- A built-in mounting bracket for if you felt like installing your GPU vertically is something your setup can’t do without
It’s really really pretty. That’s it. That’s the review… No, I’m only (mostly) joking.
While it’s a really attractive case, it is not cheap; I checked around on a few local sites, and the H710i will put you back between R3-4000 depending on where you get it. But that’s about on-par with NZXT’s immediate competitor in the space, Corsair. So I guess it just depends on what look you’re going for in your final build*.
* Refer back to the “really really pretty” comment I made earlier.
Now it’s time for a good, old game of “Pros & Cons”! Because honestly, this isn’t a bad bit of hardware. In fact, I wouldn’t be mad if I owned one but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a few areas where it’s lacking.
While I may have complained a little at the start of the review about this confounded contraption, it does have a few things going for it. For instance, accessing the nitty-gritty, back-end of your PC has never been easier with the way they’ve designed the latch for the steel back panel. Simply press a button and off it pops! And it snaps back with just as much ease.
On the opposite side of the panel, you will find a rather anxiety-reducing lever attached to your tempered glass panel, which helps it stay put even when the screw securing it has been removed. It comes loose with a satisfying click and stays put until you actively remove it from its slot. Which, as a first-time tempered glass owner, I really appreciated.
you’ll find a system of pre-installed goodies that has made getting started as simple as plug-and-play
Going inside the case you’ll find a system of pre-installed goodies that has made getting started as simple as plug-and-play, no additional accessories needed really. Leaving your own components essentially as easy to set up, barring one or two drawbacks along the way. But we’ll get to those soon enough.
Additionally, the software that accompanies the new generation of cases, the NZXT CAM, is a very nice addition to your overall setup. It allows you to control and monitor almost every aspect of your system that it is able, including time spent in a game and your computer’s performance while running it.
All in all, it’s a PC case that most would be happy to have. It’s built to be naturally quiet, easy to set up and bring a sense of wonder to your space without being too out-there.
On the flip side, I did start this review off by asking “where’s the poop?”, and I guess I’m here to reveal it at last.
While the H710i has a few good points going for it, I really can’t ignore how laborious it was getting some of my pieces into the actual case. In the review video you’ll see a (shortened) sequence of me trying my best to simply get my hard drive into its designated, and really poorly thought-out, slot. How they expected someone to just slip their HDD in there when the case comes with pre-installed cables barring its entry, I have no idea.
On top of that, the “innovative cable management system” they were trying so hard to achieve made actually plugging in vital power cables a tedious endeavour for me, despite my beforementioned dexterity. In the review video, you’ll see me wiggle and pull at a power cable meant for my motherboard because it felt as if the case itself was barring me from connecting it.
I really can’t ignore how laborious it was getting some of my pieces into the actual case.
The same can be said of the square metal box at the bottom housing the PSU. On the far right-hand side, there’s a nice, little convenient hole that they’ve manufactured for your cables to flow from your PSU to wherever they need to go inside the case. What they didn’t take into consideration is the fact that it’s exactly above the spot where you had to wrestle your HDD into. So for a user like me (who some would argue might not have done it in the correct order), I had to slightly remove my HDD to actually make use of it. A design oversight I can’t be convinced they didn’t know of.
And lastly, which mostly bleeds into my other hard drive woes, is the fact that there is only space for 3. As someone who just came from an NZXT case that had at least 5 openings for drives, this reduction and poor placement was quite concerning. I managed to wrangle my two drives in, but I actually have no idea how someone would get the third in there. It would be like seeing an SUV parallel park between two other large cars on a busy city street.
Now that you’ve heard the thick and the thin of it, here’s my parting thoughts:
The NZXT H701i is a lovely piece of hardware that would make a great addition to any setup. It’s great to look at, comes with more than enough space for SSDs and other additional items, and runs rather quietly. But what every buyer should be aware of, at least, is the fact that the designers considered the look of it over its functionality. There were moments I questioned the practicality of a lot of things they decided to do, but in the end, I still loved the thing my PC now calls its home. But good heavens, am I dreading taking this thing apart!