Last month, I wrote a piece on how to build the perfect notebook cooler for Futurelooks. Unfortunately, it seems like the product designers at Antec's California studio didn't have an opportunity to read it before they produced the Antec Notebook Cooler Designer. Though their latest laptop cooling stand certainly boasts a few desirable features, it falls short in other areas. Let's have a look at what it has to offer and how it stacks up against other suitable alternatives.
Features at a Glance
Yes, it's "just" a notebook cooler, but they're not all built alike. The Antec Notebook Cooler Designer comes with a 110mm blower fan that "silently operates" at 800rpm. I wouldn't quite go as far as to say that it's silent, but it's not terribly loud either. This notebook stand is suitable for laptops up to 15-inches in size and it can be powered completely through the provided USB cable. The slim line design improves ergonomic comfort and it can be used on a desk or in your lap: your choice.
Let's Start with the Good
The 110mm fan certainly isn't the biggest thing in the world, but it seems to be reasonably effective at providing a constant supply of cool air to the underside of your notebook. The cable management grooves on the bottom help with portability too.
Perhaps one of its best features is its dual functionality. Unlike the CoolerMaster NotePal ErgoStand, the Antec can be just as suitable on a flat surface as it is on your lap. Most coolers aren't designed for both circumstances.
And Then There's the Bad
It's not all rainbows and unicorns with the Antec Notebook Cooler Designer, however. For starters, you won't find any adjustment whatsoever for the provided fan. You can't crank up the speed or dial it down to suit your needs. You can't adjust its position to target the hottest areas on your laptop. There isn't even a power button; as soon as it gets USB power, it starts spinning away.
You'll also notice that Antec did not include any additional features on this notebook cooler. The Choiix Air-Through Stash, for instance, comes with an internal hard drive dock. Other coolers have USB hubs, card readers, or other added functionality. The Antec does none of that.
Real World Performance Test
But how well does it work? I used my Dell laptop for some casual web surfing and Twitter updating without a notebook cooler for several minutes, getting the "before" readings in SpeedFan 4.32 below.
I then continued with similar tasks for another 15 minutes, this time with the Antec Notebook Cooler Designer to get the "after" readings shown above. The temperature reductions are minimal at best, but you have to bear in mind that I wasn't doing much heavy lifting to begin with.
MegaTechie Cool or MegaTechie Lame?
In the end, I'm conflicted over my conclusion for the Antec Notebook Cooler Designer. I really appreciate the good build quality and its dual-purpose design, but the lack of fan adjustment and additional features brings it down several notches.
It's a good option, but you may be able to find better options out there for about the same amount of money. For now, I'm going to use it as a nice cooling stand for my Xbox 360. Yes, it can do that too.