Product Type: Targus PC Cooling / Fan
Newest Review: ... you fall asleep with your face pressed against the chill matt... Not me honest. The Targus matt is very minimalistic there are no flash... more
Targus hit my target
Targus Lap Chill Mat
Member Name: Dryad
Targus Lap Chill Mat
Date: 06/06/12, updated on 06/06/12 (170 review reads)
Advantages: Simple to use, a reasonable price and does the job for average usage.
Disadvantages: None that I am aware of.
I bought both my new laptop and the chill mat from the 'Very' catalogue which has allowed me to defer payment on the laptop until next year and will give me a chance to save up, otherwise I could not have afforded to replace it so quickly. The Targus chill mat was the only one they offered so I went with it as at £19 it seemed a reasonable price.
The design is simple and light weight comprising of a softly rounded hollow plastic wedge. The area which sits against your lap (or table/desk) is covered in a soft dark grey neoprene fabric and feels very subtly cushioned. The top surface is perforated plastic which has a matt feel to it and has four little rubber 'stops' set about an inch in from each corner which grip the laptop firmly with no slip evident at all (these are movable). There are two fans to provide the cooling effect and these are activated by plugging the attached usb cable into your laptop. The whole thing is very lightweight and doesn't add much weight to the laptop which is great if you have it sitting on your lap for extended periods.
I have been quite lucky that my new laptop seems to run quite cool so far anyway but in hot weather even a cool machine can overheat because of the ambient temperature. Also as I'm sure you know if using your laptop on a soft surface including your lap the vents can get blocked and lead not only to the machine overheating but also your lap. I always had to move my old Toshiba laptop around regularly and place it so that something was underneath it to hold it up from my lap and it was a pain having to constantly adjust my typing position etc. If only I'd know about the joy of a chill mat then.
I find this product very easy and comfortable to use. My youngest daughter has a chill matt which looks slick and glossy but is quiet noisy, a little heavy and angular which can be uncomfortable if using your laptop in bed and you fall asleep with your face pressed against the chill matt... Not me honest. The Targus matt is very minimalistic there are no flashing lights or adjustable bits or even an on and off switch just the mat usb connector and the well hidden fans.
I'm not a gamer so I can't say how the mat would perform for laptops being pushed to their limit. However I do use my laptop quite heavily for entertainment and word processing often having 20 or more tabs open at one time on Google chrome, sometimes having more than one window open at a time too, Dooyooing, watching films, dipping in and out of YouTube and Spotify, i-player etc. For my use the heat insulation is superb and even after using for quite some time I feel no heat coming through the matt to my skin, in fact on a warm day I find it even cools me a little too. The fans are very quiet and the first time I used the mat I could only tell it was working by a very faint vibration if I put my hands up against it, and of course by the cool air coming out of the perforated top. Despite being very quiet and having only one speed the cooling effect is quite dramatic and if I lift my laptop and feel between it and the mat the whole area including the base of my laptop is lovely and cool. The fans are placed towards the back third of the mat and are very well protected by a plastic guard which looks a bit like a small flattened colander covering them. This is good news if you have small children (or husbands) who might be tempted to put their hands through the open sides of the mat, or if you have deranged cats who might want to 'catch' the fans.
The angle is very comfortable for writing and general use, and though I've long since adapted to touch typing on a 'flat' keyboard I find when using the mat I'm able to use the hand positions I was taught as a touch typist more easily. I've been surprised to notice that my typing is a little more accurate and faster at this inclined angle. The angle also makes for a comfortable viewing experience lifting the screen a little higher so your neck isn't constantly dipped down too much.
My laptop has a 15 inch screen and fits perfectly on the mat, my beloved defunct 10 inch netbook sits beautifully on it too (I'm hoping to be able to get it fixed as it seems to be only the screen that's knackered). The husband's 17inch work laptop also sits nicely on it even though it is about a hundred years old and weighs nearly as much as I do, the lightweight and almost delicate feeling Targus handles it well. The rubber stops can be popped out from the perforated top as they their shape includes rubber 'pegs' on the underside which can be popped out and re popped in, in a different position on the mat. However my little 10 inch(ish) netbook sat on the surface fine with only its own rubber stops to keep it in place as I didn't bother moving the ones on the mat just to try it out for size. So in my opinion this mat would work well with most laptop shapes and sizes.
I don't notice a significant drain on the battery charge through using this chill mat and the laptop still runs for about 4 hours between charges - a lot less than I'm used to with my netbook but not so bad for a heavily used laptop.
One tiny thing that could have made this product slightly more ergonomic is to have somewhere to clip or stash the attached usb cable when not in use. The fact that it is attached to the mat is a big plus for me because I do have a terrible habit of losing things. However my absent mindedness is rivalled only by my clumsiness and I don't want to wreck my new best friend by ripping out the usb cable by catching it in something when carrying it about. This is hasn't been an issue so far though as the cable is not too long and dangly. I'd say it's about the right length not so long as to get in the way and not too short as to make it difficult to stretch between mat and laptop wherever your usb ports are located (mine are on the left hand side and the cable is attached centrally at the back of the mat). You can of course improvise and shove the attachment inside the curve of the mat, but it will pop out again easily, though I have found a discretely placed blob of Blu-tack helps with that issue.
The mat is widely available online from Amazon, ebay, Targus just Google it and it's there. I'm not sure where to get it (if you can get it) on the high street because I do pretty much all my shopping online these days but it is available from PC world for one at about £16
I can't really fault this product at all and I'm hoping that the simplicity of the design will help with longevity, in fact I like is so much that I've ordered another one for my youngest so she doesn't lacerate her face on her old chill mat. The old one will be recycled to her older sister who is very together and never falls asleep face down on her lap top.
Summary: A simple comfortable product that does what it says on the tin.
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