Another case review. This time, it’s the red-and-clear Pibow Coupe B+ from Pimoroni. This is an outstanding case, so expect lots of positives and very few negatives. Unlike other Pibows, you get fewer layers so that the USB/ethernet ports protrude from the top, but it means that you get much better access to the GPIO pins (more on that later).
First, the positive:
- The case comes in environmentally-friendly paper packaging: a candy-striped bag.
- Once assembled, it’s very solid (like all Pibows) despite the individual layers being very flimsy. This is a design feature of the case and it’s the assembly that makes it strong.
- Because there are fewer layers, the design of the case allows you to get access to the GPIO pins very easily. You can even plug in a GPIO expansion board, like the Pibrella, without removing any part of the case.
- The GPIO pins are labelled on the top of the case, as you can see from the picture.
- There are slots for the CSI and DSI ports.
- The overhang of the layers provides excellent protection for the micro SD card, but it is still accessible.
- The layers have been drilled so that you get access to the Pi’s mounting holes.
- The colours are just perfect – really looks slick.
Now, the negative points:
- For some reason, they’ve chosen to include assembly instructions as a sticker. This sticker is stuck on the back of the wrapper, across where you would naturally open it. It’s not possible to peel it off without ripping it and it’s pretty difficult to get into the wrapping without ripping it.
- Little bits of red plastic fly off everywhere as you unpack the case, making you wonder if you’ve snapped something somewhere. Actually I think it’s the insides of the screw holes but still, it’s a bit disconcerting.
- The pin labels use the BCM numbering scheme. This is fine for most people, as the BCM scheme is widely used, but it does mean that those used to other numbering schemes aren’t catered for.
- The EEPROM pins are not labelled at all – this could cause confusion and incorrect connections. They would be better off labelling them DNC or just putting a -, rather than just skipping them.
- Because of the design, you don’t get much protection for your USB/ethernet ports.
This is an outstanding case. The guys at Pimoroni have clearly given a lot of thought to the ways in which people use their Pis. The killer features are clearly to do with the GPIO – you can plug in a GPIO board without removing the case and the port numbering is a masterstroke. Plus there’s the little touches like being able to still access the Pi’s mounting holes and also the great protection there is for the micro SD card. There is the slight problem with the packaging, but I must admit I’m a bit of a sucker for environmentally-friendly wrapping so I can see what they were trying to do. They could perhaps redesign the label so that the tear comes neatly between the instructions, but that’s a very minor point. I’m going to say it’s a 9.5/10 for the Pibow Coupe.