If laptop heat is a major problem for you, it may be time to move beyond simple passive laptop desks into the realm of powered devices. After all, singed legs and overheated thighs are a major issue for heavy notebook users, and a wide variety of products are out there to provide some much-needed heat dissipation. Rather than a simple plastic board designed to expose more of the laptop's surface area to the air, the $45 Antec Notebook Cooler has two built-in fans that suck hot air away from the overheated bottom surface of your system.
Unlike the LapWorks Laptop Desk 2.0 or the LapWorks Laptop Desk UltraLite, both of which have extended wings for use as a mousing surface, you won't get any additional work space from the Antec Notebook Cooler. Instead, the device sits directly under your laptop and is powered by one of your system's USB ports, via a proprietary (and easy-to-lose) cable.
Measuring 13 inches wide by 11 inches deep by slightly less than one inch high, the Antec Notebook Cooler will fit a wide variety of laptops, although smaller ones will leave the edges visible, while larger laptops will spill over the sides. The unit is attractive, with a silver-and-black design and curved sides. We were able to pack it into our midsize laptop bag with no problem.
Using a popular business laptop, the Lenovo T60, we put the Antec Notebook Cooler to the test by running CNET Labs' grueling Multitasking test on the system and recording the CPU temperature.
Running the test without the laptop desk, the CPU got as hot as 80.8 degrees. After a cool-down period, we ran the test again, this time with the laptop sitting on the Antec Notebook Cooler, set to the higher of two fan-speed settings. The highest temperature recorded during the second test was 74.8 degrees, a notable decrease. This easily beat the two LapWorks desks, but was essentially tied with the Xpad Laptop Desk, a bulky, passive laptop cooler which is clearly as effective as it unattractive.