“ Brand: CDL Micro „
I have had problems with laptops in the past due to them overheating and burning out, ie shutting themselves down due, so when I read about the benefit of a cooling mat I decided to invest in the CDL Micro Newlink Laptop/Notebook Gel Cooling Pad. Although my current laptop has a good fan, over time the fan in any laptop will begin to slow down and can also get clogged up with fluff from the air. This greatly decreases the life of the laptop and so a cooling pad can help in this area, by putting less pressure on the fan and the circuitry inside the laptop.
I remember when laptop and PC fans kicking into action meant loud annoying whirring noises akin to a helicopter landing in your ear. They tend to be more muffled now and also better designed so that they last longer before your system overheats, but a laptop can still easily overheat and in the recent hot weather I found that mine started working slowly and shut itself down a few times when I was careless about using the gel pad.
The CDL Micro Newlink Cooling Pad cost me £6.99 from the Currys store in town. The pad is roughly 35cm by 30cm and it is about a centimetre in diameter. It is hard but also slightly bendy, so easy to use on different surfaces, although I usually use it on my lap. I find it comfortable to use. It doesn't weigh much, although it is quite a thick gel pad with crystals inside it in patches which makes the pad bobbly in texture. It is easy to cart around the house with you or to pack away and take away with you, due to its size and weight. The texture of the pad also helps to give it a little grip for when you place your laptop on it, and indeed I have never had the problem of my laptop sliding off the pad, which could be a potential hazard without the grip as I have a very light and small laptop. I am not sure whether this would apply to a notebook however.
The pad contains special crystals that help to regulate the temperature of your laptop by absorbing the heat if it goes over 25 degrees, for as long as 5 hours according to the product details, although I have used it for longer than this to good effect. I imagine this is because my laptop rarely gets so hot that the pad stops working, and for me the pad works by prevention - through keeping the temperature of my laptop low enough that the fan is not overworked and does not to impact my laptop working. The area of the pad that is placed under my laptop fan does heat up quicker than the rest of the pad, but this is easily solved by occasionally rotating the pad so that the cooler side is on the hot edge of the laptop.
Occasionally the pad needs a clean, as dust can get embedded in the shape of it, so I use a baby wipe to clean it now and again, and it seems to work well regardless of the dust factor. Since regularly using this pad I have certainly noticed a difference with how long I can use my laptop before without it getting too hot, and I believe this is adding to my laptop's shelf life. For only £7 I think this is great and I highly recommend investing in one of these, and using it regularly, even when your laptop doesn't seem that hot, as it will increase the longevity and efficiency of your laptop or notebook.
5 stars from me.
My once reliable laptop decided to become a temperamental little sod after years of faithful service and began to overheat at regular intervals either resulting in singed lower limbs or an emergency shutdown to preserve the inner circuitry which is clearly not good for all concerned. The usual outcome - the fans would start noisily going overboard in a last ditch attempt to salvage the situation before the inevitable sigh of death followed by a depressingly black screen and potential loss of work. Wanting to go for a cheap solution rather than getting a technician to look at my laptop or pulling it apart myself for a full scale dusting which would probably result in either an unwanted expenditure or the need to buy a completely new laptop, I was on the prowl for some kind of convenient cooling system and the concept of a gel cooling pad fitted the bill nicely and thus the CDL Micro NEWlink Laptop/Notebook Gel Cooling Pad came in to my possession.
The pad, which I spent £8.99 on, comes packaged in a thick, see through plastic case which needs a small nuclear detonation to have any chance of getting in. Seriously, you have zero chance of opening the package with your bare hands - a sharp implement is required, for which I opted for your everyday pair of household scissors, and even that was hard work and left the plastic all jagged and dangerous - frankly I felt myself lucky not to slice an artery open. Taking care to cut around the pad, which would have been incredibly easy to damage trying to hack your way through the plastic, when you do finally manage to free it you gain access to the paperwork inside which gives the low down on how best to use and maintain the pad, and the fact if the inner granules escape from within via perhaps a tear in the outer material it would render the pad less effective / useless. Oh, I wonder what could possibly cause irreparable damage...a jagged piece of plastic, perchance? I suspect a better form of packaging would be helpful in the future...
==Science explains it all==
The pad is approximately 35cm W x 30cm H x 1cm D and weighs about 830g so is a good size to fit all laptops / notebooks on and is pretty lightweight - put it this way, using it to defend yourself against a burglar won't stop your stuff being stolen. So, what's the science behind the miracle of this cooling pad? Well, basically the pad is stuffed full of a macromolecular compound in a symmetrical undulating pattern of small nodules which under a temperature of 25°C remains in crystal / granular form. As the heat increases to more than 25°C this compound is able to absorb the excess by changing its state to that of a viscous gel thus lowering the temperature of the laptop, and the fact its surface is non-uniform means the fans remain unblocked so can go about their normal business uninterrupted. The great thing about this compound is it will revert back to its crystal state when the temperature drops back down again, allowing for repeat use.
The manufacturer claims the benefits of using this pad are:
* By lowering the operating temperature of your device its longevity improves
* The style of the pad allows for use on soft and hard surfaces plus laps
* It is portable and fits easily into a laptop case
* It is compatible with all types of notebooks / laptops
* You can get 5 hours of use before an external power source is required
So, as the heat of the laptop begins to rise to uncomfortable levels, can this pad rise to the challenge?
The usual times when I operate my laptop for prolonged periods are when I find a plausible excuse like snow or malaria to work from home so I'm looking at an 8 hour period of solid laptop use. This generally takes place in my office space - aka my bed on top of a duvet - which does not allow the free flowing of air and by using my laptop this way I probably did not contribute to its general wellbeing and subsequently it is in this scenario that my laptop most often spluttered and died at many inopportune moments through my working day. So, using the pad the last time I worked from home? It didn't die once over the entire 8 hour period. I call that a result. My observations throughout this experience were firstly that the fans were infinitely quieter so the strain put on them must have been considerably reduced which is clearly a great thing for keeping the internal workings ticking over safely and more efficiently and to stop corrupting things like my registry with unexpected shutdowns.
Secondly, the pad itself, despite absorbing a lot of heat, remained very cool to the touch and underneath (the part that would be in contact with your lap and human flesh) had no noticeable change at all which meant the horrible burning sensation I used to get when the fans previously gave up the ghost is now a thing of the past, and when the top side eventually started getting slightly warmer, for me it was localised on the top left hand side of the pad so you could simply swivel the pad around allowing the cool side to now be in contact with this molten hot spot to gain even more life from the pad and then all that is required is to rinse and repeat throughout the day. Well maybe not the rinsing part since water and electronics have historically not mixed well together.
Thirdly, to test the claim that this pad works well with soft and hard surfaces as well as a lap I can confirm that the pad, whilst being fairly rigid has a certain degree of flexibility so it does sit well on hard surfaces such as a desk, and moulds quite well to soft surfaces like a duvet, but the lap is where a rather serious problem does arise. If you have a good posture and are sitting upright with your lap parallel to or at a higher angle than the ground there is no problem. If you are slouching or reclining, as I often do whilst watching TV for example, the pad has absolutely no grip for the laptop and gravity takes over violently pulling your laptop towards the unforgiving ground on a cataclysmic collision course, which is a bit disappointing. Even if your posture is good, if you are in the process of rearranging yourself to achieve maximum comfort, an accident is just waiting to happen.
The underside however is made of a lovely felt material which is nice to the touch and rather ironically does allow the pad to grip quite firmly to whatever surface it is laid on (apart from smooth surfaces), but alas means it also grips rather firmly to such things as dust and cat fur so this pad does require a frequent dusting. I'm not sure whether or not this pad is suitable for a machine wash, but I wouldn't recommend it - a simple wipe down with a damp cloth or a duster seems to do the job nicely enough. As for the other claims, my laptop is pretty large compared to ones I've had in the past, but the pad is large enough to encompass the whole base, so I would be confident that this pad is indeed compatible with all other types of laptops or notebooks out there on the market at the moment, and its thinness does indeed make it very portable as I've found that it does slot nicely into my own laptop case and adds very little to the overall heaviness. As for the 5 hour life span of the pad and the increased longevity of my laptop I cannot definitively prove these claims either way, but what I can say is that I notice no real change in the pad after 5 hours of use positively or negatively and my laptop continues to chug along issue free and I can only believe that this will help keep my laptop remain in a usable state for longer now it has stopped shutting itself down constantly and that by the laws of electronics the lower operating temperature will indeed allow for all the various components to live for longer.
So, you can in theory keep your laptop cool all by itself by making sure you dust it properly and using hard surfaces that won't block the air flow unlike say a duvet, but for people that this just doesn't work for, an external cooling system may be the only way to go. Other choices range from sturdy, aluminium adjustable stands to smaller cooling pads both with in-built fans usually operated by a USB connection to your laptop with prices ranging anywhere from £4.99 to £30 but the obvious advantage with this particular gel cooling pad is that it is comparatively cheap, compatible with all laptops, is more portable than these raised stands and does not require the use of a USB port from your laptop. If you are looking for a permanent solution, a more expensive stand may work better for you, but for people that want the flexibility of using their laptop anywhere from desks to laps to duvets I have no real complaints with this other than the terrible lack of grip with lap usage.