4. Let Me Move Those Fans Around
Even if you have fans, you need to have them in the right place. Not all laptops are built alike and, as such, not all of them build up the most heat in the same place. That’s why you want the ability to move the fan(s) around as needed.
The Vizo Mini Ninja offers lateral movement, but the company went even further with the Vizo Ninja HS by offering vertical adjustment too. When I went to visit the Choiix and CoolerMaster people during the Consumer Electronics Show in January, they showed me another notebook cooler that offered near infinite placements for the two fans. I like that and you should too if you want to get the best possible cooling for your particular laptop.
5. Adjust the Fan Speed (and Turn It Off)
Continuing on the subject of fan adjustment, there are far too many notebook coolers out there that are lacking one very important feature. They may have a good aluminum build and they may have a couple of good fans keeping the temperature down on your laptop, but they might not have a power switch. I know I said that I want to have fans for the functional aspect of keeping my laptop at a nice operating temperature, but I want the ability to turn off the fans when I’d like to minimize noise or reduce power consumption. It amazes me that so many coolers do not have this function.
In addition to a power button (or switch), notebook coolers should also have some sort of dial in order to adjust the relative speed of the fans. If you’re under heavy load, editing HD videos perhaps, then you may want to crank up the performance of the cooling fans. Under a lighter load, you might want to lower it. Innovative companies may even want to have a temperature probe that does it for you automatically based on the heat of the CPU or hard drive.
6. Expanding Utility with Easy-Access USB Ports
It’s good that the majority of notebook coolers get their power through a conventional USB cable. This way, you don’t have to fumble with another power outlet, drawing the necessary juice from your notebook instead. That makes sense. However, you are effectively taking up one of the USB ports on your laptop and you may need that spot for an external hard drive, mouse, webcam, flash drive, or some other peripheral. That’s why it helps if the laptop stand has a USB hub.
That said, this USB hub needs to be accessible. As much as I liked the NotePal ErgoStand from Cooler Master, I was peeved to see the recessed placement of the USB hub. This can be harder to find, access, and use.