Antec Sonata Plus 550
The Sonata Plus 550 is simpler than the P182 and competes with ordinary middle-tower cases even though being more expensive than most of them. Antec positions the Sonata Plus 550 as a quiet yet rather advanced “ordinary” case. Included with it is an Antec NeoHE 550 power supply.
Compared with many similar products of this class, the Sonata Plus 550 is distinguishable for the glossy coating of its side and top panels. It also features a third color: besides traditional gray and black, the Sonata has an unusual bronze in its color scheme. This is the color of the thin bezel around the 5-inch bays and of the vent holes in the side panels. I don’t think this color makes the system case very beautiful, yet it is surely distinguishing.
In the right part of the front panel there are Power and Reset buttons with a column of connectors: one FireWire, two USB and two audio connectors. Interestingly, the USB ports are positioned vertically. It means you can plug in two thick flash drives simultaneously, which is usually impossible, but cannot plug in two wide drives. I guess the latter possibility is more important, though.
As opposed to the P182, this system case has a standard component layout. The back panel is classic. A 120mm TriCool fan with speed regulation is responsible for exhausting hot air. There are no outputs for the pipes of a liquid cooling system although they might be made in the vent grid near the expansion slots.
The side panels do not have three layers now, but feature an additional sound insulation layer which can be seen in the photo above. The spring-loaded thumbscrews on the left panel remain in place when you remove the latter. You can take the panel off without fearing to lose the screws.
The feet are somewhat odd. They are made from the same soft material that is used in the P182 to reduce the vibration of the HDDs (the P182 has the same feet, too). The case stands firmly on them without transmitting vibrations to the surface beneath. That’s good if you want to place your PC on your desk.
The chassis is simpler than in the P182 but that’s not a problem at all. It is a thick metallic thing without vibration-prone spots. All the edges are neatly finished and rolled in.
You can see odd plastic things where HDD screws are usually located.
These plastic caps have duplicates on the other side and are connected to them with pairs of parallel flat rubber bands about 1 centimeter wide.