Armor For Your Console – Calibur11’s Gears of War Vault Reviewed
To a serious gamer, an entertainment system is more than just a couple of dusty shelves housing your consoles, games, and TV – it’s an extension of your personality. The same can be said about your console. We all remember the faceplates that were available for the original Xbox 360 and the many vinyls that have come out to dress up your 360 or PS3; but now Calibur11 has a three-dimensional solution to add a bit more flair to your gaming shrine: enter the Vault.
For the purpose of this review, we will be looking at the Gears of War 3 Vault.
Calibur11 does a beautiful job of making graphic art come alive in everything they do, and the Vault is no exception. Each piece that I’ve seen coming from their line of licensed products is a collage of painstaking detail combined with functionality and form. The Gears of War 3 Vault is the embodiment of this practice. Featuring the trademark red and black infected motif of the Gears 3 art deco and COG skull on the side, this unit is a must have for any fan.
Assembly is quick and painless. Simply combine the two halves around the console, insert the holding pins in the top, and snap in the stand on the bottom. It all takes about two minutes to do and then your console is looking fantastic! The stand on the bottom serves a dual purpose as it provides stability for the unit so there’s no risk of toppling, while raising the console slightly off the ground allows better air circulation through the vents underneath. On one side of the vault is a handy little shelf to hang up your controller, or your headset if desired. On the other side, you’ll find the Gears of War 3 Omen.
The Omen’s skull and COG gear illuminates in six different modes. The first lights up the skull, the second illuminates the outer ring of the COG gear, and mode three triggers both. Modes 4-6 allow the Gears of War 3 Vault to interact with the game via a built-in microphone. It will randomly flash at different sounds it senses from the gameplay giving it a kind of eerie effect with the red glow emanating from your entertainment center. This feature works exceptionally well while the speakers are on; however, if you like to keep the sound closer to the ears with a headset, it’s best if you just leave it in one of the first three selections.
The front design is form-fitting and does well so as not to interfere with the tray, power button or the IR/USB access ports while looking absolutely stunning. The Gears of War 3 logo is emblazoned on a tag that can be replaced with a customizable name tag for an additional $18 on Calibur11’s website if so desired, however, the default adds handsomely to the fit and finish of the unit. The rear of the unit is similarly unintrusive, allowing easy access to the back panel to insert your cables. The only complaint is that the Vault does add some additional depth to the eject button making it a little more difficult to access.
Calibur11’s Gears of War 3 Vault does so much right and so very little wrong in looks and functionality, it is truly a sight to behold from just about any angle. However, this in itself can be a flaw, as it is designed to make your console an exciting conversation piece. With so many angles to show off, there’s no easy way to arrange it in your entertainment center. Turning it sideways to show off the crimson Omen makes it difficult to open the tray or hang up your controller on the opposite side. Turning it front facing allows you access to the buttons and controller tray, but then the Omen is obscured. So unless you can put the console in a spot where all sides are easily accessible, it might just look awkward. Once you do get your arrangement worked out, though, you have a work of art that is both functional and asthetic.
The Calibur11 Gears of War 3 Vault receives a 4.5/5.0.
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