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As you may have guessed from my other reviews, I use computers... a lot. Specifically, I would mostly use laptops - mainly because they're more practical than a desktop PC. There's some obvious advantages to having a laptop but unfortunately, there's also some downsides too.
Unlike a desktop PC, it isn't quite as easy to keep a laptop cool. Usually, a solitary fan tries in vain to keep temperatures down as you work your computer hard. Quite often, you can end up with the underside of the laptop becoming extremely hot to touch and the computer becoming slow as a result.
There are many laptop cooling devices out on the market now, all designed to keep your laptop as cool as possible. Some of them are a bit gimmicky, and some are actually reasonably good at doing the job.
When I was searching for one of these devices, I spotted this one from CoolerMaster. To be honest, I didn't spend much time reviewing the competition as it was reasonably priced and from a reputable manufacturer. Plus it was advertised as coming with an additional USB port - although, as the device is powered by USB, you're really just replacing the port that you lost.
General design is very good - the Notepal looks a lot better than many laptop coolers on the market with a metallic black and silver metal finish. It gets a bit plasticy around the back, but thankfully it's not too noticeable.
The cooler itself is tilted at an angle, which can be a useful feature if you use your laptop on your lap. It's also pretty handy if you use your laptop at a desk as it raises the screen height a little and might just be a little easier on the neck. The only drawback with the tilt is that if you do not place your laptop on the cooler in the right position, it can slide about a little. Four rubber grips are designed to allow you to place your laptop in the optimum position to prevent slipping and to get the most out of the cooler.
The blue-LED backlit on/off switch is place around the back of the device beside the fan speed settings, the additional USB port and a vent to allow hot air to escape. Overall, it's nicely packaged.
The device has three fan speeds which allow you to adjust how much cooling you want. Although in reality, it's more a case of how noisy you want the fans to be. At the highest setting, the noise is a reasonable level but not so much that you can't put up with it. It's not really an overly annoying noise either, more like a background 'brrr', if that makes sense. The lowest setting is the quietest, but as a result, it doesn't shift as much air as the highest setting.
Performance wise...well.. it's not going to turn your laptop into a block of ice, but it does what it's supposed to do quite effectively; Namely, that is to draw the hot fan air/radiating heating from your laptop into a fan and blow it away from the computer. If your computer has a fan which blows air out from the bottom of the laptop, then you'll probably notice an increased effect.
The device has come in pretty handy when I've been putting a lot of strain on the computer for long periods of time. The cooler seems to keep the laptop performing at it's best and reduces the chance of lag, especially when playing videos or using software that demands a lot from the CPU (processor).
However, if the room temperature is already very warm, then I'm afraid this device won't be much good. Circulating warm air won't prevent your laptop from overheating and to be honest, you can't really expect the device to perform well in those circumstances. Really it's designed for keeping a laptop cool when it's being put under a bit of strain.
If your laptop gets some hefty use for long periods of time, then this device might be useful for you. Realistically, if you use it in the right conditions, it will keep your laptop a little cooler and let it run a little smoother. Long-term, it might also extend your laptop's lifespan a little as the laptop won't need to work as hard to stay cool.
Overall, a useful product for those who use their laptops for extended periods of time.