Bitfenix is company that is probably more known among the PC world for producing highly rated cases like the Coloussus, and Shinobi series line just to name a few. However Bitfenix does not only put out enclosures. USB 3.0 bay drives, modded cables, case fans, and fan controllers are just some of the other items Bitfenix offers, and to be honest they are not too shabby in the least.
Today we bring to you a review of two of the “not too shabby” offerings from Bitfenix. The Recon, and the Hydra Pro fan controllers. We would of done a review for each controller separately, but we thought, hey why not do both at once, and be able to give you a comparison of both controllers. We actually do use our noddle once and a while here. Who knew? : ) So lets get to it.
The Recon comes in a mostly black box with hints of green showing the Bitfenix name, and logo in white, a picture of the controller itself, as well as a curious indication of the product being internet connected for mobile devices. Hmm. What does that mean? Keep reading, and you’ll find out.
The back of the box gives you the features offered using the Recon. These include…ah hell why write it? You can see it in the pic : )
Opening up the box you are greeted with the Recon controller itself protected in a red anti static bag, two extension fan cables just in case the stock cables can’t reach your fans, two additional sensor probes, adhesive strips to aid in placing the probes near components who’s temperatures you wish to monitor, screws, and of course the manual. The manual itself is pretty straight forward, and most people will not have any problems hooking up the controller we feel.
Taking a closer look at the controller we see what makes her tick. Yes we called the controller a she. Big whoop, wanna fight about it? : ) The Recon sports a dual processor config which allows you to use the controller locally, and via mobile devices. Yup. We said via mobile devices. More on that later.
The components, and cables overall are well designed, and we found no loose connections which is a plus. To be honest that’s what you should expect from something like a controller, but as some will tell you that is not always the case. Fortunately with the Recon it is the case.
The Recon can control up to five fans. There is a USB cable which plugs directly to your motherboard as well as a molex power cable that plugs into your PSU. Each cable is clearly labeled so there is little chance of confusion. The cables themselves are a decent length. Fan, and power cables being about 24 inches with the sensor probes, and USB cable being about 26 inches. We don’t have a stand alone picture for the power cable, but trust us you won’t miss it when hooking up the Recon.
The Recon is a 5.25″ bay controller which can control up to five fans. The touch screen display is well lit, and easy to navigate. The screen gives you information on things like the current RPM of each fan, and temperature of areas where the sensors are placed within your system. You can also chose to switch from manual, allowing you…well manually… to control each fan separately, and changing the RPM of said fan via the plus or negative icons on the bottom left of the display. (can you say run on sentence?)You can also set the Recon to auto where the fan profiles you select, three custom profiles in total, will do the job of changing fan speeds for you. The controller also has audio which you can turn on or off. The audio is basically alerts you to changes in speed, and to indicate the device is on. You also have the ability to shut the controller off, or on via the on / off button on the bottom right of the display.
The Recon can be controlled via browser based software which can be found on Bitfenix’s website for download. Software does not come bundled with the controller itself, and is not required in order for you to use the Recon. However it does allow for some added control options for the controller.
The software allows you to control, as does the touch screen display, the RPM of each of the fans you connect to as well as set up profiles, three in total, that can control the fan speeds in different scenarios of temperature changes. Now the thing that differentiates the Recon from other fan controllers is the fact that you can control the controller via a mobile device. This method involves copying your IPS address which is shown to you via the user interface in the software on your desktop, and utilizing a router address to your mobile phone. The problem you may run into is if your firewall is configured in a way that blocks the needed ports to make the connection happen. A little troubleshooting should resolve any conflict you may experience. Instructions on how to enable the mobile device control option can be found in the manual.