First Impressions and Case Exterior
The Colossus Micro-ATX emerged from the packaging in perfect shape, with a finish free of obvious defects. The case does make a very nice initial impression upon lifting it up, and is quite heavy for its size and feels very solid. The “SofTouch” black plastic on the top and front gives the enclosure a unique feel and a very smooth matte appearance, far above the norm for an enclosure at this price.
Computing With a "Softer" Side
Between the front and top panels there is actually quite a bit of soft-touch plastic employed on this enclosure. The rest of the case is constructed of typical rolled steel, but the prominence of the "SofTouch" (as BitFenix calls it) creates an impression that this case is different. Think of the soft plastic on some smartphones – like the back of an LG Nexus 5 or a Nokia Lumia 520, or if you remember the later Palm Pre phones. If you’ve felt that velvety, subtly rubber-like finish before, you know exactly how this feels (and looks). It’s not for everyone, and it will show finger oils and the like, but it doesn’t smudge as much as a traditional finish on steel. There is a tendency for lint to stick to this material, however. I used a microfiber cloth to wipe finger marks and dust away before taking photos, and this worked pretty well.
A Look Around
The Colossus Micro-ATX has a slightly aggressive aspect in its design, with a subtle rise along the top toward the front. The front panel comes to a point along the center, with the lighting bar setting off the detail with a slight "V" under the BitFenix logo. The design is reminiscent of the Raven series from SilverStone, and it's nice to see some style on a smaller case like this – especially at this price point. The angle of the trim along each side is sharply angled as well, and even without the lighting enabled the white plastic provides a really nice contrast. (We will cover the RGB lighting feature a bit later in the review.)
The right side panel features not only two USB 3.0 ports, but the traditional front panel connections to the motherboard (power and reset, status LED's) are on this side panel as well! Very unusual.
The back of the case has mounts for both a 120mm fan (included) or a 140mm fan. The inverted placement of the expansion slot covers and rear I/O shield cutout provide the first evidence of the internal layout of the case.
The bottom of the case features a magnetic "heat shield", which is intended to prevent heat from the power supply from rising up against bottom mounted hard drives. I removed it during my testing since I made use of bottom mounted fans.
The first thing I tested was the front door. I'm often skeptical of these, depending on the design. No worries here, though: Simply put, it’s the best implementation of a front door I’ve seen on an enclosure.
The door is constructed of two plastic panels, with an air gap and vents to promote airflow. It has the same soft-touch plastic finish as the case front and top (the side panels are steel). The element that makes this door stand out has to be BitFenix's use of magnetic closures, which holds the door level and secure while providing a satisfying soft ‘click’ when it shuts. The magnets are not overly strong, and while firmly in place when shut, the door is still easy to open. Very nice!
Even after repeated use I had no concern about the door’s durability. With the magnetic closures there are no parts to wear out or break. It’s just a smooth and surprisingly strong implementation. The hinges look like they’re made to hold up over time, and they’re connected to the case with philips screws if you desire to remove the door entirely.
Behind the door the front panel is also soft-touch plastic, and there are mesh covers for a standard 5.25” optical drive, and what I initially thought was a front intake fan – and ended up being the exhaust for the power supply. Once installed the PSU fan will face the front panel, with warm air directed upwards and out of the top through cutouts above the door.