As the name suggests, the Phanteks Evolv Shift X is part of the Evolv-series of the brand. This means a certain design with playful corners and cutouts. In this case it also means the use of high-end material: thick panels of anodized aluminium and tempered glass. The chassis itself is made of powder coated steel.
Whether you place it vertically or horizontally, the Evolv Shift X has an elegant appearance: there are no big holes, grids, sharp edges or other things that show us we are dealing with a computer case. A few days ago on our Instagram-post about the case we received a reaction with the question if it was a new air conditioning of some sort. If this were true, it would be designed by a luxury brand, because in terms of aesthetics the Evolv Shift X immediately is a classic in our opinion. We can definitely see someone placing it in their living room, without the need for an argument with any fellow residents.
On the back we find a single opening which serves to route cables that are connected on the top. If we look closely, we see the connector for the power supply at the bottom. If you place the case next to your television, the video cable can be routed out of sight very easily. With some adapters for a wireless keyboard, mouse and network you can work with it wirelessly. Next to your desk you will also route the cables to the top. Only when placed on your desk you need to be careful not to have a lot of cables dangling at the top of the case, especially if you want to connect everything with wires. However, everything comes out of a single opening, so if you use some tie wraps and a cable organizer you should be able to make it look a lot better.
An alternative is to simply have the Evolv Shift in vertical orientation, which is made possible by the four small feet on the glass panels (that are not necessary to secure or remove them, but more on that later). It is a surprising option, but there are positives about this implementation. With 17 cm it is not extraordinarily high, and through the glass panel you can still admire your system. It is characteristic of Phanteks that they realized cable management could be a challenge in such a compact case and therefore they made the glass slightly darker. If you do not want to meticulously remove every cable from sight, someone has to gaze at your system very well to see this. If you did do a good job of this, some (tasteful) led-lighting is all that is necessary to show the interior to the outside world in full glory.
When you place the Evolv Shift X vertically, the cables can easily be routed from an opening on the back.
The top is home to an aluminium grille. This is also where you can find the power- and reset buttons (on the left in the photo).
Push on the grille and it opens immediately. Phanteks uses a comparable solution that is also found in more luxurious kitchen cabinets. According to the brand it should be able to open and close effortlessly thousands of times, without wearing out. The neat thing about this construction is that all connectors that are usually found on the back are now available on the front. Plugging in a usb-stick or external drive is very easy – this way you also have access to for example usb 3.1 (if present on the motherboard) or other connectors that you usually do not find externally on a case.
Those external connectors are still there, two times usb 3.0 – and that is pretty much it. There are no audio-connectors. Phanteks assumes that you connect everything using the back panel of the motherboard. Considering the position of the external connectors this is easier in a lot of cases, but we can still imagine you would want to connect your headset on the outside. A memory card reader would have also been nice, especially if you do place this case in your living room. Taking a quick look at photos is a lot easier with an internal reader than an external one that you have to place somewhere outside of the case.
Lastly: a close-up of the bottom; this is where you connect your power supply. An internal cable connects it with the mounted power supply. This brings us to the interior of the case.