Anidees AI-PI Aluminium Case for Raspberry Pi
It's been a while since I reviewed anything Pi-related, or rather a while since I took the time to actually write about it rather than simply Tweeting my adventures.
I have a few bits and bobs in my pipeline, but today I thought I'd talk about a shiny metal Raspberry Pi case from a brand new designer/manufacturer apparently based in the Netherlands.
The origins of Anidées are quite hazy, however, and I can't confidently say where they're based. What I can say, however, is that they make a really nice machined-aluminium Raspberry Pi case.
The Anidées "AI-PI" case is available in both silver, with a clear acrylic top, and black with what looks to me like an extremely dark, reddish-brown acrylic top which they call black.
In the box you'll find not only the case, but an acrylic VESA 100mm mounting kit with fixings, a Micro-USB to USB cable with an inline power switch and screws for mounting the Pi securely inside.
In order to effectively use this case, you'll need a Pi with mounting holes, so if you're still rocking a dinosaur rev 1 or 1.1 then look elsewhere! I found this out the hard way, and currently have a Model A mounted inside mine. It leaves a few gaps, but it fits fine.
Anidées were kind enough to send the black version of their case my way. Black is definitely my preference, and I was pleasantly surprised since I didn't even know it was available in black. The extremely dark, but definitely not-quite-black lid is what I find most endearing. It has a colour very much reminiscent of the glass I remember from 1980s Hi-Fi cabinets, perhaps I'm imagining it, but I always remember a dark, chocolate brown.
The acrylic lid comes with extremely obvious paper stickers covering it for protection. Unlike the Pibow, where the clear layers are rather infamously and frustratingly confused with opaque plastic, it's absolutely clear that these should be peeled off.
The case itself is an impressive hunk of metal, it has cut-outs for all the usual ports and includes handy clip-in plastic blanking plates for the RCA and 3.5mm jack connections which are commonly unused. It doesn't protect a full-sized SD card, however, leaving it protruding slightly. I feel a little extra length could mitigate this somewhat and render the SD slot safe from the sort of accidents to which it seems prone. Forget using a half-height adaptor, since you'll not be able to remove and re-insert the SD card without completely removing the Pi from the case.
The Pi is screwed in securely with two metal screws and, once the acrylic top is secured into position, is extremely well protected. If you opted for a half-height SD card and didn't need to remove/reinsert it often then you're going to have more Pi-protection than you'll ever need.
The acrylic top is thick ( a generous 5mm ), solid and extremely good quality. It's difficult to tell if it's been cut with a physical tool or by a laser but I'd guess the latter. The edges are smooth and don't have any burr, and the screw holes are counter-sunk for a flush top. It's a small but worthwhile touch that makes all the difference.
While the top doesn't have any holes for IO, the case itself has a cut-out for fitting a GPIO cable that you can run to a suitable breakout board ( like the Pi T cobbler or otherwise ). The inside of the case is spacious enough to fit a PiGlow, and the black/brown top will reduce the LEDs to levels you can view without vapourising your eyeballs.
I'll admit that I haven't tried the VESA mount yet. I don't have anything with 100mm VESA mounting holes on the back, and even if I did I can't quite concieve why anyone would want to hide a case as beautifully machined as this behind a TV or LCD display.
The USB cable with its inline power switch is extremely useful, It's a handy thing to have around but very similar things can be picked up cheaply online. It's a good value-added extra, and makes the AI-PI case into what I'd consider a really nice gift set for the discerning Pi-owner.
In terms of price, it weighs in at a hefty £39.99. That places it near the top of Pi-case pricing. In fact it's right alongside the UniPi Aluminium Raspberry Pi Case which has fewer accessories but does come with a handy cut-out top for GPIO and camera access. In context, this makes the AI-PI a pretty good deal for what it is. It's an appropriate price for a machined aluminium case. If you want to mix-n-match you can also buy a replacement top cover for a fiver, letting you have a black case with a clear top, or a silver case with a black top.
In summary, this is a really slick case. It's beautifully packed in a very giftable box, and comes with some handy accessories that set it apart from its closest competitors. It's not, as first glance might suggest, overpriced. It would, however, be great to have a alternate top with GPIO and Camera cut-outs.