NZXT Hue Review

NZXT wants to make your case pretty now, with the Hue. The Hue can add any color to your computer, with many special effects. So let’s have a look at this accessory.

The Hue is comprised of three pieces: a 5.25-inch control unit with attached wires, a two meter flexible strip lined with LED’s, and a little bag of M3 screws to fasten the control unit. The strip is backed with 3M 200MP double-sided sticky tape so you can lay it along the floor, up the wall and along the ceiling of your computer case and still have some left over to make a horseshoe in the top of your case. The control unit lets you change the colors in an “infinite” variation, with the knobs doing double duty to give you an array of special effects.

Front view

NZXT Hue Front view

All lit up

Features

(Courtesy NZXT)

NZXT has expanded their bay devices with HUE; an LED configuration that is customizable to your liking. HUE grants you the power to select how you want to illuminate your chassis with infinite possibilities. Take charge of the RGB controls to adjust the color fade, pulsating light effects, and brightness levels of your internal LED sleeve. HUE is equipped with an on/off mode for times you may need to go stealth and possesses a unique semi-mesh design, blending flawlessly into any chassis with a mesh front panel.

  • Infinite color options that you can customize to your heart’s content
  • Three RGB controls to adjust the color settings, brightness level, and pulse speed of the internal LED sleeve
  • On/off mode to completely disable the LEDs
  • Effect modes: normal, fading, flashing, and pulsating of colors
  • Internal LED sleeves that vibrantly illuminates and accents your chassis based on your liking
  • Unique mesh design that blends flawlessly into any chassis with a mesh front panel

Exploring the Hue

Open the box, you will find the 2-meter LED strip coiled on a clear plastic tray. The strip in the picture has already had its turn on the case, so the paper lining doesn’t look quite new.

NZXT Hue box

NZXT Hue box

Packed in box

Packed in box

Handsome little devil, isn’t it? Neat and trim.

Front view

Front view

Control unit rear

Control unit rear

The wire to the strip is 50cm long (19.5 inches). That was long enough to reach across the case so the light strip could start in the bottom back corner. The SATA power wire is 60cm long. That’s 34 inches. SATA? That’s right. The Hue is a SATA device. You might possibly build a rig with no Molex plugs.

Wires

Wires

SATA connector

SATA connector

The control panel continues to look neat and trim when mounted in a case – the NZXT Phantom 410, er, in this case (sorry; the pun is almost unavoidable). And then we had some LED strip left over, so it goes into the top space of the case.

In case

In case

On top

On top

If you’re willing to set up the lighting and not make any changes, you don’t even need an open 5.25-inch slot. You can simply find a place to stash the control unit in your case. In fact, you could probably dismount the PCB from its 5.25-inch case so it would take up less room.

Using the Hue

So how do we use this device?

Trying to download the Hue manual from NZXT’s website gets you a 404 error, so I’ll try to wing it for you. The manual is a double-sided 20.5 by 14-inch piece of paper, with large line drawings showing you how to install your Hue on the back side, and line drawings showing you the various parts of the device on the front. Also on the front side is an explanation of the various modes, in eight languages. I’ll stick with English; my German is rusty.

The three control knobs continuously vary the Red, Green and Blue LED’s. Pressing on the Red knob will give you five levels of brightness. The light levels in the pictures below were on the lowest level. The brightest level is bright indeed. Pressing and holding the Green, or middle button, will power the unit on or off.

The Blue button has the most complex functions. Press it and you will cycle between the various color modes: Custom Color Display (adjusting the relative colors by turning the three knobs), Custom Color Flashing, Custom Color Fading, Flashing Color Changing, and Fading Color Changing. During the various modes, turning the Blue knob changes with each mode. It’s dizzying, but it all works. Lots of fun effects.

Below is a selection of colors: blue, red, red and blue (gets you purple) and green.

Hue on blue

Hue on blue

Hue on Red

Hue on Red

Red & Blue

Red & Blue

Hue on Green

Hue on Green

In order to let you know what colors you have chosen, the control unit’s faceplate glows with those same colors:

They’re like eyes glowing in the dark. We’re watching you!

Conclusion

NZXT provides us with a convenient way to produce and manage colors on our rigs. No matter what your color preference, you can have it. You get it all in one system, and don’t have to assemble the color capacity from disparate devices. It’s cool.

Pros

  • It works as advertised: infinite colors, lots of special effects.
  • Lights up your system.
  • Generous length of wires.
  • Powered by SATA.

Cons

  • None

I spent a fair amount of money on CCFL’s and LED clusters to light up my rig. This would have made the job much easier.

Verdict: thumbs up.

Click the stamp for an explanation of what it means

- Ed Hume (ehume)

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17 Comments:

wagex's Avatar
ohhhh this is what was in everones white box
Janus67's Avatar
That is pretty cool. If I still used a case (and used lighting for that matter) I would pick one of these up.
Suppressor1137's Avatar
Does this support UV?

I know it does Violet, But Unsure if It can hit the UV spectrum
TsunamiJuan's Avatar
i don't think it does UV, but if you found someone manufacturing UV strip leads i am sure could throw it into the mix.

Maybe we can suggest this to them for the next revision. As I do love UV reactive case modifications.
rpjkw11's Avatar
How much? It's a cute idea, but not worth much money or installation effort.
Suppressor1137's Avatar
looks like a pre-order is up for $32.99 at NZXT armory store

http://store.nzxt.com/product_p/ac-hue.htm
txus.palacios's Avatar
Looks cool, but it ain't for me... Not that I won't like to have different colours and that in my case, just that I could do something with RGB LED stripes and an Arduino. It would be cheaper (you can find a meter of RGB LED stripe for barely 5 USD), open source (want to control depending on your CPU temperature? You could hack something with a LM35!)

Nevertheless, it's a nice project that will find a home for those that don't want or don't have the time to mess with DIY electronics.

@TJ, I hardly think RGB stripes can give UV light, because they are merely three LEDs (R,G,B) stuffed in the same SMD package)

@Ehume, nice review. I just find a little think you could improve. Could you upload a video showing the different effects? And what the blue knob does while it's fading? That would make the review perfect !
notJUSTguitar's Avatar
Ooh...very cool.
I don't have any lights in my case yet (Still a WIP with mods and water cooling)

I might pick this up.
Thanks for the review
nightelph's Avatar
Not a bad price, and takes care of all the DIY. But, like txus.palacios said, you could homebrew this yourself.
Operant's Avatar
I was planning on doing something like this with an addressable LED strip in my case already. Like others have said, this seems to be aimed at those who want a "pre-built" package for case lighting.

And awesome idea txus.palacios. Totally forgot about reacting to the temperature of various components (or possibly the water temp in a liquid cooling setup). I will have to add this to my list of ideas. Now I just have to find the time to make it clean and hidden...
Steven90's Avatar
Wonder is it can do white light?
txus.palacios's Avatar
@Steven90, for light, red + blue + green = white.
XNine's Avatar
It can do white. It's controlled via RGB, so depending on the amount you adjust each hue (get it?) depends on the color.

For the price, there's nothing else out there that can compete with it from a manufactured level. Of course, DIY'ers and modders could probably put something together similar, though, that might take a bit of ingenuity and a knowledge of circuitry to do so.

The nice thing is that this uses Superflux LEDs, not your standard 3-5mm LEDs. The color and light is richer and more balanced throughout than typical LEDs can offer.
givmedew's Avatar
Why is everyone fighting for one of my 5 1/4 bays. I wish they offered this with a controller that was all shoved into a tiny box that was like 1"H x 2"W by whatever deep.

It is def cool looking but I my 5 1/4 bays are taken up by resevoirs!
givmedew's Avatar
Can you control those strips with a T-Balancer BigNG?

I have one just laying around since I got a Sabertooth 990FX I just don't have a use for it anymore.
txus.palacios's Avatar
There is a similar product available at IKEA (called DIODER) that is veeeery small, but without the fancy fading and such. It works just as good.


You could make something with three voltage-regulated fan outputs.
novabean22's Avatar
got mine and almost half the strip doesn't light up blue, deal breaker considering I have a blue theme and only bought it for the blue, and different modes. seems a lot of people have this problem.
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