Manufacturer and Sponsor: Cooler Master
Product on review: Cooler Master Notepal AX
Street Price: £18.74
The box front of the Notepal AX doesn't give much away at all! This unit will handle notebooks from 15” to 17” and is an almost entirely plastic casing with a metal mesh in the centre to direct the airflow.
The box rear has the standard features and Specifications, some pictures detailing the salient points and that's about it!
Features and Specifications
• Uniquely designed built-in fan for intake of airflow from all sides
• 140mm fan for superior silent airflow
• Fan-speed control knob for adjustable settings
• Adjustable foot stands for comfortable viewing angle
• Fits most 12”-15.4” laptops perfectly (up to 17”)
There does seem to be a slight discrepancy between the sizes of notebook which are supported – the specifications do seem to suggest a slightly greater range of sizes are supported than the box front does. This is not a great drama though as I guess most of the devices we have so far covered could easily handle a smaller notebook provided the right rubber feet were used to provide sufficient grip. There is nothing worse than having your notebook sliding around whilst you are trying to type!
A Closer Look
From the front the sheer size of the 140mm fan is instantly obvious – that should give some decent cooling performance! The proper mesh is a nice inclusion too – in all that plastic it's a welcome sight. The Notepal AX is pretty sturdy despite the plastic construction but it's clearly not designed to be a portable device and would be a permanent feature of a user's desk. There are no rubber grip pads in evidence here though and the unit relies on the rubber feet of the users notebook to provide the grip needed to keep things stable.
Underneath the Notepal AX you can see the multitude of air intake positions with grilles to each side and of course under the fan. There are adjustable foot stands to give a second slightly higher angle if the user feels the default angle is too low – the stands are the same as you'd find under a keyboard. You can also see that here at least Cooler Master have provided large rubber anti-slip pads at each corner of the unit.
In use... well, firstly and most obviously there is the blue led fan. I can't really understand why anyone would want to have an LED fan in a device which is designed to be hidden underneath a notebook. Really, it's beyond me! Anyway, the fan itself is very quiet and moves a lot of air which is as you'd expect from something of this size – it's rated to run between 700 and 1400 rpm depending on how you set the adjustable fan speed. The Notepal AX comes with a seperate USB cable for powering the device, there is an On/Off button and the fan speed adjuster wheel for fine tuning the cooling and noise level. There is also a second USB port on the back of the unit so you could attach another peripheral device should you want to.
• Adjustable fan speed
• Huge 140mm fan
• Adjustable height with 'keyboard' type riser feet
• Fan power switch
• Small mesh panel could limit airflow?