As more and more people use their notebook computers as if they were desktop computers, the greater the need there is for some good notebook coolers. Speaking for myself, my laptop has been my primary computer for a number of years, but I have it connected to a wireless keyboard and mouse; for all intents and purposes, it may as well be a desktop.
It's not enough for a notebook stand to simply prop up your laptop anymore; we want it to be an effective cooling pad and we want it to have some extra features to boot. The CoolerMaster NotePal ErgoStand, despite a somewhat awkward name, seems to fit the bill quite well.
Highlights and Box Contents
Featuring a design composed primarily of high-quality black plastic, the CoolerMaster NotePal ErgoStand is actually remarkably complex and robust for a "simple" notebook cooler.
Inside the box, you'll find a basic user manual, a couple of anti-slip props, and a USB cable. There is a port for an external power supply, but this is not included. Unless you are using some heavier draw USB peripherals via the hub, you probably don't need one anyway.
USB Port and Fan Controls
I really prefer active cooling solutions over passive ones, so it's great to see that the NotePal ErgoStand has a large fan in the center. Unlike so many other stands, this product has a power button and a dial for adjustable fan speeds too. That's very useful and highly appreciated. The bad news is that these controls are slightly recessed (over two inches) in one side, making them difficult to access when you are actually using the notebook stand. It would have been better if they were flush with the edge of the cooling pad.
Along the other side is the four-port USB hub. Like the fan controls on the left, the hub is also recessed about two inches into the right. This may help to hide some ugly cables, perhaps, but it makes the ports easier to see and access too. It needs to be moved closer to the edge.
Does It Actually Work?
In terms of cooling effectiveness, SpeedFan really tells the story.
Throughout the process, I was putting my Dell laptop under moderate load. I played some casual games, edited a few pictures, updated a few tweets, and surfed a few websites.
For the "before" portion, I placed the laptop flat on my desk. After just five minutes on the NotePal ErgoStand (on the highest fan setting), I got significant improvements in both core temperatures. This continued to improve over time.
MegaTechie Cool or MegaTechie Useless?
The four adjustable heights are good for getting the best ergonomic angle. These are great for putting on your desk and using an external keyboard, but I found even the lowest setting was too high when I wanted to type on the notebook itself.
The overall construction of the CoolerMaster NotePal ErgoStand is impressive, despite being made mostly of plastic. I prefer aluminum construction, but this still felt quite solid. The styling is good too.
If you're looking for a good desktop cooling stand for your laptop, the NotePal ErgoStand is a great option. It does the job and gives plenty of adjustable features. Not to mention, at a launch price of $39.99 US, it won't break the bank, and will help your trusty notebook avoid heat stroke in the process.