Review: Keep you notebook cool throughout the summer
It will soon be summer time, meaning abundance of hot days and this is probably a wise time to purchase a laptop cooler. The latest model to come from CoolerMaster’s offer is dubbed the NotePal ErgoStand, and today we’ll play with it to see what it has to offer. Note that this model was designed by Choiix, CoolerMaster’s peripheral device brand.
While laptops in general come with appropriate cooling, this works only in scenarios when you keep them on flat and solid surfaces. Naturally, most users tend to keep and/or use their laptops in their laps when sitting around the room or lying in bed, which usually results in key outlets getting blocked and might even lead to equipment overheating and failure. In order to prevent this, you can resort to various passive or active laptop coolers that at the same time serve as platforms.
NotePal ErgoStand is a universal cooler that functions as both a notebook stand and a cooling pad and is aimed at laptops from 9” to 17". Cooling is performed by one 14cm fan with rpm regulation, which means that you can choose whether you want quiet operation or optimum cooling performance. Furthermore, you can easily set the angle and to top it off – the device features a 4-port USB hub.
NotePal ErgoStand comes in a sturdy cardboard box featuring a few pictures of the device. Within the box you’ll find the NotePal ErgoStand, together with the USB power cable and adjustable anti-slip holders for 9’’ to 17’’ notebooks.
Dimension - 370x265x33~58mm (WxHxD)
Weight - 1.05 kg
Color - Black
Material - Metal mesh, Plastic and Rubber
Operation degree - 6.5 ~ 45 degree
Power - USB 5V DC
USB Port - USB 2.0/1.1 x4, Mini-USB x1 (for power in)
Compatibility - Supports all 9" to 17" notebooks
Fan Dimension - 140x140x15mm (WxHxD)
Fan Speed - 700 ~ 1400 RPM
Bearing Type - Rifle bearing
Fan Noise Level - 15dBA (Min.)
Fan Life Expectancy - 40,000 hours
Cable Length - 600mm
NotePal ErgoStand is manufactured using a combination of metal mesh and plastic. The mesh functions as a platform whereas the plastic acts as a base for the cooling pad.
The fan is pretty large (140mm in diameter) and is placed in the center so that cooling is equally good for both smaller and bigger laptops. You can regulate the rpm via the wheel on the left side (top). Minimum rpm is at about 700-rpm, whereas maximum rpm hangs around 1400-rpm. Apart from rubber pucks on the mesh which keep the laptop from sliding, the two holders on the bottom will further make sure your laptop doesn’t slide off of the ErgoPad. You can set the holders so that they work for smaller laptops as well.
As you can see from the following picture, the device also features the On/Off key, which will work well if you don’t need the fan. As we already said, the flat and solid surface of the cooling pad is enough of a prerequisite for the laptop to cool itself. The fan, however, will really come in handy when your CPU and/or GPU, which are usually the hottest components, get more demanding tasks and start heating up more seriously.
Fan is powered via the provided USB cable, which is 60cm long. One end of the cable goes into the laptop’s USB port and the other, mini USB connector, goes into the ErgoStand. Choiix also implemented a 4-port USB hub, and if you use all the ports at the same time, the 1A from your notebook has to be shared equally among components, so AC power connection is advised. Unfortunately, a 5V AC power adapter is not included in the packaging. Power connector is also on the left side. The same row features a LED that glows whenever the ErgoStand is connected to your laptop. The On/Off key is used only for the fan, and the LED goes off only when the power to the NotePal ErgoStand is interrupted.
Moving to the other side you will find all of your inputs; that’s where the miniUSB connection for power and 4-port USB hub are located.
The USB is placed a bit awkwardly, but we got used to it in no time. In fact, the mechanism for setting the angle will come in pretty handy in feeling your way towards the USBs.
Although the USB ports are pretty close to each other, the problem is not in the thickness of the stick, but rather the width. Our Kingston Data Traveler 200 could only fit in the two upper USB ports, whereas the access to the lower two is blocked by the angle mechanism. Note however that this is only a problem when the NotePal ErgoStand is not in one of the four allowed angles. This is not a big problem though, as the lower two ports can be used for USB cables, smaller sticks or similar.
Although NotePal ErgoStand has been designed to keep your laptop at a lower angle, the mechanism allows for much more extreme angles. This means that setting the height and angle allows for anyone’s and everyone’s preferred position, and will come in handy for those who use a real keyboard with the laptop, as the angle can easily be adjusted to suit your position.
It’s worth noting that NotePal ErgoStand weighs in at 1kg, which makes carrying all the more difficult. Fortunately, Choiix designed the small handles on the sides which make carrying with a laptop onboard pretty easy.
You can also use the handles for cable-management, and you’ll find additional cable holders in the back. This can come in handy if you don‘t carry your NotePal ErgoStand around much, but rather keep it on your desk as a fixed setup.
NotePal ErgoStand is aimed at laptops from 9’’ to 18’’, and while the versatility is appreciated, we’re sure that it will suit those with bigger and thus usually hotter laptops. The device comes with fan speed regulation, which means users have full control over how fast their fan spins. The fan’s minimum rpm stands at 700 whereas the maximum is 1400 rpm. We’re talking about a fan with a rifle bearing mechanism, which is often used on fans that sit in horizontal position.
At minimum rpm, the fan is very quiet but not inaudible. The airflow through the metal mesh is almost inaudible, but our test sample had a slight buzzing sound which could get on your nerves, especially if the room is quiet. Fortunately, CoolerMaster assured us that this issue is due to our test sample, and that the buzzing will not occur in the final version. In case you require total silence, you can always turn the fan off and still retain superior airflow that your lap, bedcover or similar would definitely hinder. It’s well worth noting that the fan noise is acceptable when running at 1400 rpm, and you can bet that the airflow will be great.
As you can see from the results, cooling performance is pretty good. Fujitsu Siemens Amilo MS2243 in idle mode ran up to 7°C cooler with NotePal ErgoStand and up to 4°C during the intensive Prime95 CPU test.
As far as portability goes, NotePal ErgoStand is not quite a small device – it measures 140x140x15mm (WxHxD). This means that you’ll need a pretty large backpack if you want to carry it around. Thanks to the side-handles, carrying the NotePal ErgoStand with laptop onboard will be a piece of cake, regardless of whether the entire setup weighs 1kg or 5kg.
In cooperation with Choiix, CoolerMaster devised its NotePal ErgoStand laptop cooler that can be used practically anywhere. Apart from good performance, the device brings a few more functions than classic laptop coolers and can be used for laptops up to 17’’.
As you can see from the tests, the device is more than up to the task of cooling. You can regulate the fan speed in order to draw maximum performance or make it quieter for when typing in bed for instance. Our test sample emitted a slight buzzing sound, which could get on your nerves, but CoolerMaster assured us that this is an issue with our sample only and that production samples will not do that. Note that unlike NotePal ErgoStand, many similar devices on the market use two smaller (80 or 92mm) fans, which further increases noise and in comparison doesn’t quite improve airflow.
NotePal ErgoStand allows for setting angles and can be used as a laptop stand, which will be a blessing for those who use classic keyboards for typing. CoolerMaster also added a 4-port USB hub, which is a nice touch and can be used to connect a keyboard, mouse or other external devices.
All in all, NotePal ErgoStand is a pretty attractive device which combines good looks and functionality. Priced at around €35 or €29 without tax, which is the usual price for laptop coolers, NotePal will surely end up being your laptop’s best pal.