Final ThoughtsWhile intrigued by the concept behind it, I wasn't completely sold on the Antec LanBoy Air's looks when it was first announced. Now that I've worked with one for a while, I would classify it as something that fell off a construction site and that can't be completely understood by just looking at pictures.
As with most radical case designs, the LanBoy Air is not for everyone. Personally I have come to appreciate its aesthetics, reminding me of when I used to attend LAN parties in the Quake World days. However I've since become accustomed to the subtle elegance of other cases and I believe I'm not alone there. For instance, I can already hear the Performance One crowd jumping up and down about how ugly the LanBoy Air is.
Beyond the appearance of the LanBoy Air, I found a number of potential issues that are not limited to the 3.5" hard drive bays. Being a heavily ventilated case there is nothing directing the airflow over the critical system components. We suspect much of the air will follow the path of least resistance with much of it exiting the case before having any real effect.
Another major problem is dust -- and lots of it. The combination of a heavily ventilated case without any dust filters could spell disaster. Antec claims installing all fifteen fans avoids this problem, but we dont see it happening. Even low volume fans will make quite a bit of noise when there are fifteen of them.
The installation process is relatively straightforward, but unless you completely disassemble the LanBoy Air before you begin working, it can be daunting. Internally the case is somewhat crammed and compared to cases such as the Cooler Master HAF X, we found it challenging to access various connectors on the motherboard.
In fact, although Antec doesn't give the LanBoy Air any size classification, we'd say its more of a mid-tower than anything. If the case were about an inch longer and perhaps an inch taller, it would have been much easier to work with.
Another issue worth raising is that the LanBoy Air features no tool-less components, instead relying in what seems like an army of screws. We typically find that most tool-less designs don't actually work that well, so the complete absence of them in the LanBoy Air doesn't bother us greatly. However, having to remove fourteen screws to peel away the side panels might be overkill for some.
At $150-180 the Antec LanBoy Air is well priced and represents an provocative choice that unfortunately isn't without a number of inherent flaws. Nonetheless, we feel that the LanBoy Air falls under a similar category as the Thermaltake Level 10 -- both cases can be wildly impractical but the target audience doesn't really care.