With the prevalence these days of more and more powerful notebooks we are seeing a shift away from them being simply an additional computer to be used only when travelling or out of the office, and towards them being seen as a viable desktop replacement. The added power of these machines is simply incredible when you consider what your money could buy only a few years ago and compare to what you can get now for the same amount. Of course along with all that added power comes added heat, and that can be a serious problem for laptops due to the confining nature of their casings and the drive to continually make them sleeker and smaller, cramming more and more in to an ever diminishing space.
Notebook coolers are therefore becoming more and more important as any additional cooling can have a dramatic effect on the longevity of the sensitive electronics of any modern laptop, not to mention the comfort of the user! Added to this is the shift towards use as desktop replacements and you have the Health and Safety requirements for preventing neck and wrist strain to consider too notebook riser stands have long been a feature in offices where achieving the correct screen height is important for day-long use.
The Cooler Master group have been at the forefront of innovation in their product ranges and this is well reflected in the design of their latest offering - the Notepal Ergostand. This device is not only a superbly able notebook cooler, coming top in all our tests, but also a great step towards the perfect desk companion to any notebook with its height adjustment, cable management, and integrated USB Hub. It has already been reviewed in depth here and has won Vortez Hardware\\\'s Gold Award and according to the results seen here today it deservingly wins this group test too!
However, for the purposes of this group test it was included only to give comparative results and so it will be excluded from the awards this time around. Besides, there are clearly one or two other units tested here today which deserve special mention.
Firstly the Notepal X2
The Notepal X2 has shown some superb cooling results and coming equipped as it does with that massive 140mm fan I\\\'m not surprised either! Along with the Notepal Ergostand it was streets ahead of the competition on the HP laptop tests, it lost some ground when tested against the ACER laptop but was still up there with the best. It looks good too, with nice clean lines and curved edges and wouldn\\\'t look out of place on any desk, under any laptop. Unfortunately it was the only one which I couldn\\\'t find a price for but based on all the others it can\\\'t be far off the £15-£20 mark which makes it a pretty good offering. Its lack of extra USB ports is one detraction though it does give you one back for the one you need to use to power it, but there\\\'s no more than that.
Overall a great notebook cooler which is efficient, quiet and stylish the Cooler Master Notepal X2 wins Vortez Hardware\\\'s Silver Award.
Next the Choiix Air-Through Stash.
What a novel piece of innovation this device is! At a shade over £20 you get a notebook cooler, a USB Hub and a SATA HDD dock too stunning value for money! And it does a pretty good job of cooling too it didn\\\'t show too well on the HP laptop at idle, but managed to cool quite well under load and kept up well with the rest of the field, which is especially good considering it\\\'s got just a single small fan. Style conscious users should be well pleased with it too as it is definitely one of the less industrial looking units tested today. All in all a well rounded and rather unique piece of kit which costs very little. Choiix is clearly a brand name to be considered and I eagerly await their future offerings as they show great innovation and style.
It is with great pleasure that the Choiix Air-Through Stash wins Vortez Hardware\\\'s Gold Award