There are countless reasons why you would consider getting some sort of cooling solution for your notebook computer. If you're a guy and you plan on having children at some point in your life, you may not want to cook your soldier's under a smoldering laptop. If you're a gal, having flaming thighs might not exactly be appealing either. Add to this the performance perks and extended life that you can gain from having a properly cooled laptop, and it is clear that having adequate cooling for your notebook should be one of your top priorities.
To Power or NOT to Power
If you take a peek at your local computer store (or online store), you'll find that the options are plentiful. On the one hand, there are powered solutions that either plug into a USB port for juice or carry a set of batteries of their own. These are typically equipped with fans that blow cool air into the underside of your notebook, helping to keep the temperature down to a more comfortable level. These don't do much in terms of keeping your thighs nice and chilled, but they'll certainly serve up a cooler hard drive and a more efficient computer.
On the other hand, there are non-powered solutions like the two that we are looking at today. Both have their inherent pros and cons, but both come in at a very similar price. Costing about $30 online, the Thermaltake iXoft Cooling Pad and the LapWorks Futura Notebook Stand approach the laptop cooling game in two rather different ways and we're about to find out which one comes out on top.
Thermaltake iXoft at a Glance
ThermalTake's iXoft Cooling Pad is pretty plain looking. It looks sort of like a glorified butt pillow (it also works well in that context, but let's save that conversation for another day), but underneath that unassuming skin is some pretty cool technology, no pun intended. It feels like there are crystals under the surface of the iXoft and what makes them remarkable is that they stay cool on their own, well below room temperature. In this way, they're somewhat similar to those heating pads that you can buy at the flea market, the ones that heat up when you squish around the gel inside. The difference, of course, is that the iXoft stays cool rather than heats up.
On the underside, there's a corduroy-like fabric material that helps to grip your pants (or skirt, as the case may be), ensuring that your uber expensive laptop doesn't go flying off your thighs and onto the unforgiving concrete below. On the top side is a smooth material that feels somewhere between vinyl and plastic, and yes, it has the smell to match. I'm sure the plastic aroma will dissipate after some use, but out of the package, it'll hit you like a big rig.
Because it is cool to the touch, the iXoft makes for a rather comfortable experience on the part of the user. Place it on your lap and then place your notebook on top. No messy setup. No complications. Just a cool lap and a cool web surfing adventure. Of course, you could also place the iXoft on a desk or table and use it too, but that's not exactly what this is designed to do.
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