Cooler Master NotePal LapAir Cooler

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Product: NotePal LapAir Cooler
Provided By: CoolerMaster
Price: ~$29.99 MSRP

 

Introduction:

Today we are looking at the NotePal LapAir cooler that has recently launched from the Cooling Master laboratory.  This cooler supports laptops up to 17" and is designed specifically for use on your lap while you are relaxing in your favorite chair.  It is pretty basic, but has a couple nice features that make it worth considering.  It has some decent styling and comes with a "blower" fan that moves a fair bit of air without a lot of noise.  Keep on reading if you need a cooler for your laptop that is equally comfortable on your lap as it is on your desk.

Box Front
Box Front
Box Back
Box Back

 

About Cooler Master:

Cooler Master has been around a long time and are one of the pioneers in the cooling market, so they need little introduction.  If you're new to the PC game, take a look below and find out a bit more about this company before we carry on.

Cooler Master was founded with the mission of providing the industry's best thermal solutions. Since its establishment a decade ago, the company has remained faithful to this mission, emerging as a world leader in products and services for companies dealing with devices where heat issues must be resolved.

In pursuing this mission, Cooler Master is absolutely committed to delivering solutions that precisely meet customer requirements for features, performance, and quality. Moreover, we strive to be a reliable long-term partner for our customers that they can truly depend on. Cooler Master aims to be the first and foremost name that comes to mind for companies around the world seeking thermal solutions, and seeks to build such a reputation through outstanding technology, sophisticated design, and superior service.

 

NotePal LapAir First Look:

Cooler Master asked if I wanted to look at this last week as it was launching and they were hoping to get a "launch review" done on it.  As it turned out - it showed up just after launch day.  As such, we took some extra time to take a better look at this cooler and get a bunch of use out of it and do some Sound Pressure Level testing as well as power consumption tests.  Before we get into that, let's take a peek at the unit below.

Bundle
Bundle
Top
Top
Bottom
Bottom

 

The LapAir has a nice soft padded area that is meant to fit on your knees.  This not only provides more comfort, but also helps keep the LapAir from sliding around.  It has no fan controller, lights or extra USB ports.  The non-detachable USB cable is stored below and has several grooves that allow you to keep in tucked under and feed it up to the side of your laptop that has a free USB port.  While it doesn't have extra USB ports, the USB connector has a pass-through feature so you aren't taking up one of your few precious ports.  On the next page we'll cover the specifications features before we jump into testing.

 

Features:

As we take a bit of a closer look at the LapAir, we also will check out some features as well.  We'll copy and paste some of the information from the Cooler Master product page.  For all of the details, please check out their site.

   

General Info:

ProfileThe Notepal LapAir is a simple and elegant solution to a problem that has existed since the mass production of laptops. That is, finding a comfortable way to use a laptop away from a desk without it overheating or burning the user. A laptop cooler and a cushion have come together to create the perfect away from the office companion. It allows users to work on their laptop anywhere they can find a seat or lay down. The LapAir becomes an ergonomic surface for viewing and typing while resting on a user's lap. Cooler Master understands that comfort is paramount in these situations and the NotePal LapAir is engineered to deliver.

  • Noiseless fan with great cooling performance.
  • Comfy sponge mat provides comfort.
  • Ergonomic design for best viewing/typing angle.
  • Easy access to fan for quick cleaning.
  • Powered by USB port extender, you won't lose a USB port.
  • Cable grooves for easy USB cable management.
  • Supports up to 17" laptops 

 


Specifications:

Specs

 

While Cooler Master claims the fan to be "Noiseless" - it is most certainly not.  In fact, the LapAir is one of the louder Notebook coolers we've tested.  It is said to draw up to 1.7W of power on this 5v connection which greatly exceeds the 500mAh specification of a traditional USB port.  In some cases, it could actually overload and bugger up your USB ports on your laptop.  I'm not too worried about that though, but I'm concerned about the 42.4dBA measurement I took in my office with other computes off and the LapAir running under my laptop. 

Fan
B9225-18RA-2RN-F1 Fan @ 65cfm

The Sound Pressure Level measurement was taken at my ear - about two feet from my laptop.  That is much louder than the 23dBA rating on the fan.  In all fairness, the office ambient measures 40dBA so it doesn't add a lot of noise.  As a reference, the Thermaltake Massive23 LX cannot be measured above ambient office noise levels. 

On the last page we'll take a look and see how the LapAir performs.


NotePal LapAir Performance:

LapAir Used To get some baseline temperatures for the laptop we first ran it on the Lenovo Advanced Dock doing some Prime95 to get things heated up.  While many may say that this is not a typical situation for a laptop to be ran at 100% load, many people today use their laptops for 3D Modeling and light workstation rendering.  This puts the laptop under huge amounts of stress and things heat up quickly.  CPU temperature was recorded with CoreTemp and was logged to record the maximum temperature reached.  The full-load was applied for 1 hour and then all applications were closed for 20 minutes to gain an idle temperature.  This load/idle situation was repeated with the computer on the LapAir and compared with the same numbers from the Thermaltake Massive23 LX.  The results are displayed below.  

 

Please keep in mind that the ThinkPad T410 runs a toasty Core i7-620M 2.66GHz processor that "Turbo's" up to 3.1GHz.  Also the temperatures recorded below are CPU Core temperatures and these are always reported much warmer than "standard" CPU temperatures.  With that in mind, take a look and see how much the Cooler Master LapAir compares to the Massive23 LX and the to the stifling Lenovo Dock.

 Temperatures

Because of the small heatsink on the CPU and the fact that we are recording CPU Core temperatures, we don't see a lot of cooling gains when running full load on the Core i7 CPU.  At idle though, the LapAir makes a huge difference.  It drops the idle temperature a whopping 12°C lower than the Massive23 LX and 29°C lower than the Lenovo Dock.  It is the loudest solution of the bunch, but if cooling and stability are important, this could make all the difference to your system.

On Lap
On Lap
Side Profile on LapAir
Side Profile

 

 

Final Thoughts:

The Cooler Master LapAir does exactly what it's supposed to do - cool down your laptop.  I use my T410 as my main workstation and it sits in a pretty fancy dock that allows me a bunch of extra USB connections, eSATA ports, 2 Display Ports, 2 DVI ports and a lot more.  The only downside to this dock is that it hinders airflow and cooling.  This was never more apparent than when I pulled it out of the dock and used in on the LapAir - both on my desk and when watching some NHL playoffs for a few days. The LapAir is probably worth the price, but with the extra noise it adds to your system, it may not be the best choice.  While it may not seem like much, the noise is very noticeable and reminds me of working with a large desktop PC instead of a quiet laptop.  Still, if you've got a toasty hot laptop, this cooler will probably perform better than many other coolers on the market.  Overall, this is how we feel it breaks down:

Pros:

  • Pretty durable, plastic construction
  • Removable Fan grill to clean unit
  • Cable storage and management
  • Excellent Cooling
  • USB Pass-Through doesn't hog a port
  • Easily fits up to 17" laptops

Cons:

  • Loudest Laptop cooler we've tested

BCCRating

Silver 

 

I'd like to thank Cooler Master for sending out the LapAir for us to review.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them at the "Comments" link below.