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NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller Review

Indybird    -   October 11, 2010
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Conclusion:

Out of the box, the NZXT Sentry LXE stunned me with its ultra-sleek appearance and great feature list. The whole concept of an external fan controller is already extremely rare, but inclusion of a touch screen only makes it that much more unique. The brushed aluminum and the bright on-screen graphics really make the Sentry LXE look like a high-end piece of equipment. Aside from its practical purposes, it simply looks great on your desk. It wasn’t all looks however, the features provided their fair share of innovation. To start I was surprised by how useful the automatic fan control was, it truly maintained an active balance between performance and quietness. Having the five channels, each at 10 Watts, didn’t hurt either; most users shouldn’t have any trouble wiring up their entire cooling system.

Good looks and great concepts however, can’t make up a whole product. I had several slight issues with the core components, mostly relating to usability. The main problem with the controller is the responsiveness and rubber feet issue. The screen is not as responsive as it should be and when you press a little harder to make up for it, the controller gets pushed around and can even tip over. Another inopportune design choice was with the placement and size of the on-screen buttons, only adding to the frustration from the responsiveness. Smaller issues such as manual speed adjustment lag and a lack of target temperature in "Auto" mode can also be noted, but are more or less just strange design choices than design flaws.

Even though there are some distinct issues with the Sentry LXE, I find myself still using it even after the review. What it does, it does very well and that is automatically or manually control your fans, and it looks good while doing it. Some minor fixes such as screen layout, responsiveness and perhaps feet positioning would make this product as close to perfect as you can get. At around $60 for a fan controller, some consumers are going to demand this perfection; however, as there is not another device out there with the looks and feature set of the LXE, many cooling enthusiasts and general power users will most likely find the NZXT Sentry LXE to be the perfect addition to their high-end PC.

 

Pros:

  • Top-notch appearance
  • Solid build quality
  • Automatic fan control
  • Can turn fans off
  • "Desktop" control
  • Bright screen
  • Adequate wattage per channel
  • Temperature and RPM alarms

 

Cons:

  • Sketchy touch response
  • Poor on-screen layout
  • Ineffective feet
  • Less-than-desirable vertical viewing angle
  • No target temperature in "Auto"


 

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  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Installation & Configuration
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing
  6. Conclusion
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