Vizo Mini Ninja Laptop Cooler

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Product: Vizo Mini-Ninja Laptop Cooler
Provided By: Vizo
Price: ~$29.99 Online

Introduction:

In the not too distant past, laptops ran much cooler than they do now.  Consumers were quite content for their mobile computer to be slower than their desktop computer.  People didn't care if they couldn't processes large amounts of data in a split second while on the road.  Times have changed.  Today we expect lightning fast performance from a laptop and the performance line between desktop and laptop PC has all but merged.

Dual-core laptops have become the standard, and while they claim some major energy consumption improvements, they still get darn hot when under full load.  Today we are taking a look at a product from Vizo that helps provide better cooling for your portable PC while you're on the road, at home, or even at the office.  We've got the Vizo Mini-Ninja on our bench and will find out if this small new actively cooled product from Vizo has big performance and what it takes to put out the fire of a Core 2 Duo laptop.

 Ninja Box
Ninja Box

 

About Vizo:

VIZO Technology Corporation is a leading global manufacturer and designer of computer peripheral products serving customers around the world. Established in Taiwan in 1992, VIZO has expanded and now operates in the market completely reorganized and prepared to meet the demand for high quality products which are “Made in Taiwan”.

We have the best team and own completely innovative technology. Our company’s philosophy is simple: share results among the employees, build trust with our customers, maximize efficiency in our work and innovation in our designs. Utilizing many years of experience and a mature skill set, VIZO is able to provide PC users an incredible variety of “Do It Yourself” products and peripherals.
Pursuing growth, efficiency and innovation has always been the essence of VIZO's research and product development. Our goal for the near future is to constantly strive for technological advances and perfection in product quality. During our daily searching for new ideas, our growing company continues to supply additional features to our flashy products and constantly reaches for the leading position in the global market.

In addition, VIZO embraces changes for our customers, partners and even for ourselves. Our flexibility enables us to adapt to various customer necessities at any time and our technology assists our clients in expanding their market share rapidly. VIZO offers solutions that are designed to provide the overall capabilities and specific flexibility to meet, if not exceed our customers' requirements. VIZO's fully dedicated sales team and engineers are always working to deliver our clients effectively maximum customer satisfaction.


Full company info can be found over here:


First look at the Mini Ninja:

We received the mini-Ninja about two weeks after Jill contacted us and asked us if we were interested.  We are always interested in cooling products if they provide better temperatures and in turn prolong the life of your laptop.  We agreed and in a couple of weeks we had the mini-Ninja and if you are fan on Ninja’s you may be happy with this product.

 Ninja Profile Top
Ninja Profile Top

 

The Vizo Mini-Ninja has a much smaller footprint than many other laptop coolers on the market.  It still manages to house a couple of fans that are USB powered from a single USB connector.  What makes this adapter unique is that the USB connector has pass-through capabilities.  The Mini-Ninja is not meant to support the entire laptop – instead the cooler is designed to support the backend of the laptop with the front end of the laptop remains on the desk.

Before we take a closer look at the mini-Ninja we’ll take a look at the list of features and specifications from Vizo.


Features & Specifications:


Features:

  • Real 350 mm long for 7”~15.4” Widescreen Notebook PC
  • Reduce the temperature of your notebook PC for best performance
  • Aluminum casing for excellent heat dissipation.
  • Dual fans provide the maximum airflow and air pressure
  • Adjustable positions for fans to suit your needs
  • Low dBA level
  • Powered by USB, no adapter necessary
  • T shaped USB connectors without losing use of the USB port
  • Compact, space saving, light weight, easy to carry
  • Ergonomic designed angle for easy typing
  • Easy to install


Specifications:

  • Housing Dimensions : 350mm x 170mm x 40mm
  • Housing Material : Aluminum
  • USB Bus Power : 5V / 500mA
  • DC Fan Dimensions : 70 x 70 x 15 ( 2 PCS )
  • Bearing Type : Sleeve Bearing
  • Speed : 2000 RPM
  • Noise Level : 20 dBA
  • Max Air flow : 13.72( Min:11.22 )CFM
  • Rated Voltage : DC 5 V
  • Rated Current : 0.24 ( Max:0.34 ) A x 2
  • Compatibility : 7" ~ 15.4" notebook PC
  • Weight : 600 g

 


 

Closer Look: 

The Vizo mini Ninja is a nice small solution that is designed for desktop use. While it works on a lap, the design and function of this laptop stand is best fit for desktop use.

 Cable And Screws
Cable And Screws
Passthrough USB
Passthrough USB

 

Included in the package is the aforementioned USB power adapter with pass-through capability.  This cable provides power for the two 70mm fans and still allows you to plug in a device into the USB port.  Also included are a couple of extra screws so that you can move the fans around to blow directly on the hot areas of your laptop computer.

The power connector plugs into a single fan and there is a power cable that is hidden below the edge of the aluminum housing that provides power to the second fan.  The connector is more or less a standard 5v DC connector that you might find on a router, cordless phone or other electronic device and this allows you plug in power from the wall if you don’t want to hook up a USB cable and if you plan on keeping the mini Ninja mostly stationary.

Fan Power Connector
Fan Power Connector

 

A look at the bottom side of the mini-Ninja shows how this unit is laid out.

 Ninja Profile Bottom
Ninja Profile Bottom
Bottom Profile
Bottom Profile

 

The fans are located at the outer edges of the cooler, but can be moved along the vented section to e desired position of your choice.  This is useful if your CPU or graphics card is located toward the center of the notebook.  You can move the fan to optimize cooling.


Tne beef I have with the Vizo mini-Ninja is the tape that is applied in order to keep the mesh in place.  While the fans keep the mesh mostly in place, the tape assists - not only for shipping, but also for the general usage of the product – to keep the mesh in place.  If the tape is removed the grill can be pushed down at the edges causing a gap in the top of the cooler.

Tape For Support
Tape For Support

 

Due to the design of the Scythe Mini-Ninja, the unit is strong, sturdy and doesn’t slide around on the desk thanks to the four rubber feet mounted on the bottom.  This provides excellent stability as many laptops also have soft rubber feet which help keep the laptop securely in place on top of the Ninja as well.

With all that being said, we’ll put this laptop cooler up against the more expensive Lapworks Attachè which doubles as a laptop stand as well.  The mini-Ninja is meant to cool your laptop and not raise it to the height of a desktop monitor like the Attachè.  Therefore the large price tag of the Attachè holds more merit than just as a laptop cooler.


It’s Cool:

To get some baseline temperatures for the laptop we first ran it on our lap doing a couple of instances of 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 and HDD temperatures were recorded with HWMonitor that logs and records 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 a desk and then placed on the Attachè and the mini-Ninja with the fan off, and then finally with the fan on.  The results are displayed below.

Ninja vs Attache
Ninja vs Attachè (Click for Larger Image)

 

You`ll notice that the Attachè performs better than the mini Ninja and that is because of the overall design of the Ninja and the Attachè.  The Attachè has a concave surface that provides a larger gap between the bottom of the notebook and the surface of the laptop cooler. The Vizo Mini-Ninja has a convex design that provides less clearance than the other cooler.  The result is higher temperatures on the Ninja with the fan turned off on both coolers.  Even with the fans on, the Attachè provides better performance than a stock laptop and even the Vizo Ninja.

Under full load the mini-Ninja is a mere 1.5C warmer than the Attachè but is 5C better than with no cooler at all.  Please keep in mind that all of these temperatures are taken with CoreTemp  which always shows high CPU temperatures.  Comparisons were always with an ambient room temperature of 21C.  At idle, the performance is very close and there is only a 1C degree difference between the mini-Ninja and the Attachè.  The Ninja comes in second but it is much cheaper than the Attache.

Final Thoughts:

While the Vizo Mini-Ninja isn't a miracle worker and doesn't provide an insane amount of cooling prowess, it does do a better job that no cooler at all although it comes in second place to the Lapworks Attachè.  A laptop is made to be used on a lap, but you can see by the temperature chart above that it gets pretty uncomfortable and temperatures uncomfortably warm.  When used on a desk the laptop runs much cooler, and this is even enhanced by the Mini-Ninja.  When moving from a lap to the actively cooled Vizo unit we see a drop of 10C on the CPU when running full load and as much as 14C at idle.

If you've got a 7" - 15" laptop, the mini-Ninja will be a nice addition to your setup and provide a nice small platform to put on your desk.  Heat is a killer when it comes to computers, and the mini-Ninja helps tame the heat a little bit and every little bit helps.

 

Pros:

  • Low profile doesn't cause wrist strain when used on desk
  • Helps cool down a warm laptop (and lap)
  • Passthrough USB doesn't hog a port
  • Sturdy aluminum framework
  • Adjustable position of fans


Cons:

  • Poorer performance than other coolers
  • Doesn't provide extra USB ports
  • Fan grill is taped in

 

The Vizo Mini-Ninja isn't the best performing cooler we've seen but it can be found online for under $30 which provides the consumer with some pretty good value.  It doesn't have the best overall build quality, but it's not a bad unit to leave on your desk and rest your laptop on.  Overall, it scores 8.2/10.

 BCCRating

I'd like to thank Vizo for sending this unit over for us to review.  If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please post it in the forum at the "Comments" link below.