An External Look
The unit has Hi-Fi-component-like silver feet, which act well as an isolation platform from the surface the HD135 is to be located. It isn't as tall as the HD160 we reviewed a while ago, due to some of the build improvements and hardware limitations that we will go into in more detail later.
A close up of the brushed aluminium finish reveals how good it actually is, and in the case of the silver variant fingerprints are nowhere as visible when handled as they would be on the black version. The power button is solidly built and is likely to withstand the test of time, although the remote switching capabilities of the system will probably render the button a simple decoration.
The decals are unobtrusive and unlikely to scratch off. However, one point that I must make is that having DVD printed on the optical drive bezel is possibly a bit short-sighted. With the addition of other media types such as Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, a purist may be upset that his optical media of choice may be misrepresented.
The minimalistic front is kept intact by hiding the front extension capabilities underneath a neat and well designed flap. Of robust construction, even multiple daily use is unlikely to cause issues with durability. Once flipped down there is access to the VFD for cleaning, two USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire port microphone and headphones sockets.
There is also an optional 3.5" drive bay to perhaps place a multimedia card reader or even a floppy drive if you have urges for retro media. The VFD itself came protected well with an easily removable sticky plastic sheet, we recommend that you use a soft non static cloth to clean the VFD filter as it is easily damaged plastic.
There is no doubt that a lot of thought went into the design of the HD135, with it's ventilation holes practically invisible along the edges, concealed by the lines of the aluminium going front to back. The addition of these no doubt adds to manufacturing costs, but in for a unit likely to be visible every day is essential. It's only as you turn the unit round that you are 100% certain that this is in fact a PC and the gaping hole demonstrates that the HD135 doesn't come with a PSU included.