BitFenix Recon Fan Controller Review
Performance, Testing and Conclusion.
Looking first at conventional operation via the touch screen we are pleased to announce the Recon is a joy to use. The screen is responsive to touch, requiring just the right amount of pressure and not leaving you with the feeling that you're about to poke a hole in it to get a response. manual mode is simplicity itself and the wealth of options with regards to auto set up and temperature monitoring modes leave pretty much all the bases covered. Add in to that the ability to set up presets and you're not exactly left wanting for additional functionality. But additional functionality the is, as we can also control the Recon via a web browser, either locally from the operating machine, or remotely via any web connected device. We have to say that at the outset we weren't too sure why we would want to do this, but having lived with the Recon for a few weeks we can now report that we're actually quite taken by it. Once you've fired up the web browser on your local PC you find yourself using it rather than the touch screen panel to set up all the programs and presets. There's also something very cool about watching the sliders that represent the fan speeds move up and down of their apparent own accord as the sensors detect an increase in temperature inside the case and so up the fan speeds in response. If you have a folding rig you'll be familiar with the feeling of worrying about your temps when you're away from home, certainly in the early days. The mobile web browser allows you to not just monitor those temps, but if you're unhappy, actually do something about them. Sitting playing a game on your HTPC? want the fans up full but the other side of the room seems so far away? no worries, just pick up your phone and select the a high fan speed preset. Decide you want to watch a film or listen to a little music? Either let auto mode take care of things, slow things down manually, or select a preset that will see the fans slow right down, or for that matter stop them completely should you so desire.
Are there any limitations? yeah, a few, it's 10W per channel (as opposed to the 30W on the box), so you're probably not going to be using it to control the water pumps in a water-cooling rig. The screen is monochromatic and not colour, although we have to say we think this adds and air of class and sophistication over those units that can be a bit more blingy. The Bezel is plastic as opposed to metal, but then it is covered in that very naughty feeling soft touch plastic coating. The quality of the unit as a whole is as you would expect from BitFenix, and certainly the quality of soldering and surface mounting of the components on the PCB is done very well.
So what's not to like? Well, it is a bit of a fiddle to set up, especially if don't happen to be a bit of a whizz with networks. that said, there are plenty of very helpful guides out there on the old T'internet should you feel you need a little extra help. Apart from that, there's Zippo to dislike about this controller. Heck we can't even slate it on the price, coming in as it does at around the £30 mark it costs less than a great many fan controllers that offer little of the same functionality and struggle to match the quality.
When we first got this controller for review we really did wonder what the point of the browser interface was. Just a gimmick we thought. We we're wrong, and we don't mind admitting it too ourselves. A bit of time spent with the Recon and the extra functionality it offers will have you totally hooked.
And so to the award. it goes without saying that it has to be Gold, But gold isn't the only award The Recon is picking up. Seen a fan controller with a browser interface that can be accessed from any web connected device before? No us neither. And because of that we feel that it deserves an Innovation award also. Well done BitFenix, you've brought us the cake and the icing on the top, and you haven't asked for the earth. Oh, and a certain person might also be pleased to know it also comes in white!