A Closer Look - Outside
To further protect the smooth plastic parts during the packing and shipping process, NZXT has covered them with thin, clear plastic sheets. This guarantees that you will receive your Phantom in pristine condition and without any finger prints.
NZXT has chosen to go new ways with the Phantom. While we have seen the use of smooth plastic with their enclosures many times before, but the big difference to the fact, that this case is a full tower case and NZXT has used a prominent plastic top on the chassis as well. Overall, the design combines straight, edgy lines with a few curved aspects. Turning the chassis around, we also see that the interior of the enclosure is white, while the interior of the black version is all black. There are a few companies going with white cases recently. While Xigmatek and Cooler Master have already released such cases, those were originally never intended to be offered in the light color. The NZXT Phantom and Bitfenix Colossus on the other hand were also intended to be available in multiple colors - including white.
Both sides of the Phantom have black metal mesh elements to further underline the excellent two tone color theme. Since there are only round cut outs for the air circulation, you can clearly see the white color of the metal sheets underneath.
The lage opening can hold a 200 or 230 mm fan, while the smaller one gives the two included 120 mm units access to fresh air. I cannot see any screws or rivets which hold the mesh parts in place, but none of them have any play so you do not need to worry about any vibrations.
NZXT has put a lot of work into the overall design and I have to admit, it looks really sexy in my humble opinion. In the bottom is another metal opening which can clearly hold another fan to further cool the hard drives. There is no dust filter present here, but the hard drives are already actively cooled by the side fans. Above that is the plastic door, which makes a very good impression in terms of quality. A little cut out gives way to the very subtle NZXT logo and the door can only be opened from left to right - which is perfectly fine, as most people place the case to the right of their work space. If you look closely at the drive bay covers, they have a little sliding lock, which allows you to remove them really easily - very nice!
Turning the Phantom around, starting at the bottom, there is the PSU bay. You may mount the unit with the fan facing upward or downward. I would suggest the latter. Above that are the seven mainboard expansion slots, which are filled with mesh covers. We have seen these in past NZXT cases before and the company has just used them here as well. As you can see, there are four openings for water cooling setups, two to the right of the slots and two above them. The very top space is filled by a 120 mm fan and a mysterious button on the top left corner.
The button is actually intended to turn the lighting aspects of the chassis on/off. These LEDs are embedded in the top 200 mm fan, so if the cooling unit breaks down, you may also loose the lighting features. It would have been nice to have them installed in the chassis instead. Another nice little tidbit are the spring loaded locks of both side panels. While a pair of thumb screws hold each of them in place, a third one is used to hook the panel into place. This is great for those who frequently open the Phantom up to install new parts for example.
Before we dive into the insides, let us take a quick look up top. As mentioned before, there is a 200 mm fan embedded into the roof. As this unit blows air out the top, there is no dust filter present. NZXT has embedded a simple fan controller here as well. It covers every possible location where cooling systems may be installed at and allows the user to control the fan speed with the use of a simple slider. There is no automatic setting, but those who want that can simply connect the fans straight to the mainboard. On the other side you will find the I/O, power and reset buttons and standard LEDs. NZXT has included two USB 2.0, one eSATA and the standard pair of audio connectors. You will not find USB 3.0 here, which is not a big downside in my opinion, as there currently is no standard mainboard connector and cables would need to be routed out the back instead.