Aside from the cost, most of the changes seem to be pretty good. I don't understand all of the complaints on the first page. To me they just sound like people complaining that the SOLO II is not designed like most cases on the market. The biggest complaint I can't understand is the need to have the PSU at the bottom. Having the PSU at the top makes use of the dead space behind the 5.25" bays so that you have a more direct front-to-back airflow. Sure a large tower cpu heatsink gets in the way, but let's not pretend that having the PSU at the bottom has zero drawbacks.
I can't argue with your take, 80 Plus Gold makes top position PSUs less of an issue I'd say. But as to complaints on page 1 I have to at least say;
3 months ago we had far less information about this case. The early pictures from summer 2011 don't match the case as you would get it if you buy one in 2012. So some of our complaints were from us looking at prerelease prototypes/engineering samples.
After reading the latest Anandtech review and the SPCR review I have more respect for this case than I had before each review.
I don't remember any mention or speculation of such a higher quality stock rear fan being included. Maybe I missed mention of that while looking at the more obvious changes?
I was assuming the Tri-Cool would be replaced by the Two-Cool as seen on the Antec TWO HUNDRED V2 (1500 and 900 RPM on the twocool). Having a stock fan with 1000RPM max is a plus as it's one less fan swap for me should I ever get my hands on one. On the old Solo my swap was to take out the Tri-Cool and put in a Yate Loon 1350 RPM which was quieter or at least better sounding than even the Tri Cool on low (1200 RPM?). I've never heard the Two-cool or the Truequiet but I'm assuming either would be an improvement over the tricool.
As to the power buttons for any that don't know there are now at least 3 revisions
Solo with Antec replaced front cover*
* They added a plastic backstop to reduce the chance of excess button travel which was an improvement just not a huge one. They also shipped these out free to customers that had a broken power button. The whole front cover design changed to strengthen the button so that cost them a decent amount in materials, shipping, and handling.
** additional improvement by using some metal to fasten the plastic pieces to the front cover. Maybe other changes I didn't notice. Presumably this will be enough to keep people from breaking the buttons in normal use? I haven't seen one up close so I'll have to take their word on it for now.
I like the changes to the drive cage and the support bar. I consider those win/win.
I'm pleasantly surprised they went with 2 120mm fan mounts on the front. I was thinking they might do a single 120mm mount on the front.
Going over the cons from the article
* Only one fan included
* Questionable power/reset buttons
Group 1 is all about price. If this were a $50 case I wouldn't care as much about including only one case fan or even the power buttons. The Antec Online store lists the Solo and Solo II with only a $10 premium for the II revision. I'd pay $10 more just for the USB 3 front ports and the better quality fan. All the other improvements are gravy assuming I will eventually be able to get a Solo II cheaply.
* Glossy finish attracts fingerprints
* Missing con of reduced external drive bays.
Glossy vs Matt vs White. They would make some friends by offering 3 paint options but I'm OK with either black option. I think the all black front looks better than the old silver/black front. I do wish they hadn't reduced the number of external bays so much. Where do you put a fan controller front plate if you have two optical drives?
* Only two sets of hard drive suspenders
* Could use better cable management
Doesn't bother me at all. Those that are bothered by this could argue for these to be in the price related cons of Group 1.
All in all I still like the Solo/Solo II but I'm not ready to toss >$100 for it and so long as it looks to be in that price category I'll be more likely to mention any flaws in the hopes that someone from Antec will address them in a V2 style manner like they did with the TWO HUNDRED (no I'm not yelling but product names that are spelled out in all caps are what someone at Antec thought would be a good idea) or in the hopes they'll see fit to drop the price to offset it's flaws.