Appletell reviews the Heatshift Laptop Cooling Pad

Sections: Cases / Bags, Laptops, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Peripherals, Reviews

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heatshift padProvides: Laptop cooling
Manufacturer: Thermapak
Compatibility: Laptops from 13-17″ (various sizes)
Cost:: 13″ – $27.99; 15″ – $29.99; 17″ – $34.99
Availability: Now

The Macbook Pro is an amazing machine; extremely powerful and versatile, with a compact design. But as anyone who plays graphics-intensive games on it knows, it also gets hot—I recall one FPS where the graphics card was running so hot that the W key (right over the processor) was painful to the touch.

Even during normal operation, a laptop can get uncomfortable; resting against your legs or with poor ventilation, heat can build. So here’s the Heatshift cooling pad, which is filled with a mystery material (“organic crystals,” they’re called) that starts out firm but bendable, and gradually softens as it absorbs more and more heat from your laptop. You don’t have to refrigerate it or plug it in, you just set it under your Macbook (or any laptop), and let it absorb whatever heat is put out.

It works in three ways. First there’s the material inside the pad, which absorbs and distributes heat. Second, the pad has a “quilted” design, which allows air to circulate—if you’ve ever propped a laptop up on a pillow, you know that smothering the bottom of it can cause a lot of heat to build up quickly. Third, if you’re working with your laptop sitting on your legs, it acts as a buffer, keeping your thighs from getting sweaty.

The Heatshift is completely unobtrusive; since it has no need for power, it doesn’t run down your laptop. There’s no fan to make noise, and even at normal room temperature it’s flexible enough to fold or roll up and put inside a backpack. I used it while playing several video games, and while the laptop got warm, it never got painful to use. The only problem I’ve had is that while my wife was using one of the two review units, it sprang a leak and I got a first-hand demonstration of the liquid goo turning back into a solid state. She hadn’t done anything to it, indeed she hadn’t even taken it out of the living room, but there was a small hole in the fabric which had perhaps gone unnoticed while the crystals were in their solid state. The other pad, however, the one I use, has been carted back and forth in my backpack, rolled, folded and stuffed without any integrity problems.

It’s not often that I find myself pushing the Macbook Pro to its graphical limits—more often it’s casual use, leaning back on the couch with my MBP on my legs. In both cases, though, the Heatshift makes heat issues less of an issue, by protecting both my laptop and my lap.

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Heatshift Laptop Cooling Pad

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