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Keeping Temperature Under Control 

In the past I have used a number of methods to ease the discomfort that can be caused by heat emission from a laptop. Now it is the turn of a product from Belkin.

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Despite some recent advancements with regards to combating heat issues, laptops, whether of the notebook or netbook variety, still have the propensity to cause the user some discomfort.  This generally happens when the mobile computer is positioned on the user’s lap (hence the product’s designation) for a lengthy work or play session.  Various solutions, some of which are of the home-made D.I.Y. type, have been adopted by users to help combat this heat issue.  The latest such solution to come by way is the Cooling Lounge from Belkin which takes a pro-active approach to the problem.

The Cooling Lounge is a one-piece unit with a permanently attached USB lead.  Measuring 304 x 370mm, this slightly bevelled support for your mobile computer increases its thickness from 30mm at the base to 55mm at the top.  Located in the hollowed out space, between the compressed plastic top and the padded material base, is a fan mechanism which makes use of a patented wave design for improved circulation of the air to help dissipate heat.

The Cooling Lounge works by sucking in cool air through an elongated crater-like ventilation grill which runs along the deeper front of the unit.  This cool air is then expelled through a circular grill mounted on top of the Cooling Lounge.  As the unit is bevelled slightly, the cool air has passage to flow around the base of the mobile computer so reducing any heat emissions.  Belkin also claim that this system would help improve the performance of the computer but I was unable to detect any improvement with regards to performance.

Naturally the fan will need power in order to operate and this power is provided by the host computer.  As mentioned earlier, the Cooling Lounge has a permanently attached USB lead which emerges from the centre of the front mounted grill.  Although relatively short in length at 38cm, this should not cause a problem as the Cooling Lounge is going to be positioned in very close proximity to the available USB ports.

The USB lead features a couple of serrated plastic ball objects.  These balls are not meant as a decorative feature but, instead, are to be used to help secure the lead within the space found at the front of the unit.  By carefully positioning these two balls, the USB lead can be held firmly in position so it does not get in the way when the Cooling Lounge is being transported.

As you might expect, using the Cooling Lounge does mean its power requirements will have an adverse effect on the host machine’s battery life.  In test there was a 5% decrease in battery life when the Cooling Lounge was in constant use during long work sessions.  Of course if you have access to a mains power charging facility then this power drainage would be less of an issue.  However what might be more of an issue would be the extra 800g weight of the Cooling Lounge and the storage space it would require when being transported between locations.  I would struggle to fit the Cooling Lounge in the notebook case I use when travelling.

The Cooling Lounge is effective when reducing the amount of heat being transferred from a mobile computer.  The noise emitted by the fan is kept to a level that is hardly intrusive and power demands are not excessive.  Due to the size and weight of this product, I can see it being used more in a home location rather than forming part of a travelling package.  This product has been priced at £32.99 although you could find it available at a lower price by shopping around.

http://www.belkin.com/uk/conserve/valet/

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Features2
Performance2
Value2
Ease of use2
Design2
OverallBelkin Colling Lounge rated 68 out of 100

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