ProsBeautiful aesthetics; premium materials; fantastic manual; quiet operation; low price
ConsThermals and fitment with high-end components are not acceptable
Since 2013, we've reviewed nearly three-dozen cases, in fact, we're up to #35 today! These reviews include some of the most popular, best-selling mini-ITX cases ever released. One brand that turned heads back in 2017 was Phanteks, with its unique Evolv Shift ITX model. We reviewed the original Evolv in 2016, and loved its premium materials and attention to detail, combined with its reasonable pricepoint. When the ITX version was released, however, it suffered from some well-known thermal issues due to its use of tempered glass side panels right up against the CPU and GPU. The updated Shift Air, which uses mesh side panels, actually made of speaker mesh like what you'd find on audiophile speakers, is how Phanteks addressed this issue.
But how does it work? That's what we aimed to find out in our review. Special thanks to Phanteks for providing us a sample of the Phanteks Evolv Shift Air Mini-ITX Chassis.
TBG's Video Review
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So, in some ways, the Evolv Shift Air absolutely blew our minds, while in other ways, it was a significant disappointment. Depending on what your goals are for an ITX system, it's either among the very best options on the market, or just about the worst. We feel that Phanteks has overplayed the Shift Air's use in high-end, liquid-cooled gaming systems. While it may technically be possible to build such systems in the case (as we demonstrated), it certainly isn't advisable. On the other hand, the unique aesthetics, premium aluminum and mesh materials, fantastic manual, and surprisingly-quiet operation would make this a fantastic case for use in a mainstream content creation system, where style counts just as much as performance. Anyone who routinely shoots content that includes their workspace would be proud to showcase the Shift Air next to their ultra-wide monitor and sophisticated studio setup. Phanteks could easily charge more just based on the materials and unique tooling required for the Shift Air, from the smooth action of its spring-loaded top panel to the stable stance provided by its custom rubber-infused mounting foot. From head to toe, this case looks and feels like "a million bucks". So at around $100, it offers quite the value proposition, as long as you don't try to stuff it with $2,000+ worth of hot-running gear.
The Phanteks Evolv Shift Air Mini-ITX Case is available for $109.99 shipped from Amazon, in both black and the Phanteks trademark anthracite grey.