Having a laptop brings a lot of things to the table: convenience, instant mobility, and plenty of hard-working performance in a lightweight package. Unfortunately, this can mean your portable workhorse will undoubtedly run burning hot, especially for those still clinging to the power-hogs of yesteryear. In desperate cases like these a good cooling pad is essential, especially if you’re looking to avoid overheating your laptop into a useless paperweight. While most are a dime a dozen, Belkin’s own lineup of cooling pads should do the trick nicely, and I was lucky enough to sample their standard Cooling Lounge, which surprisingly manages to combine both comfort and functionality in a single package.
The Cooling Lounge is essentially what the name implies; a USB-powered pad that houses a single large cooling fan to help direct airflow both in and out of your precious laptop. The body is definitely robust, with an attractive off-white matte elevated surface and rubberized strip on the front, with a unique cushioned lapdesk on its underside that guarantees useful (and comfy) cooling just about anywhere.
Despite its stylish intentions the appearance is far from inconspicuous and does add a bit of noticeable heft. Medium-sized laptops (14”-16”) look fine when perched on top, but the base will leave plenty of unoccupied space for smaller notebooks. You also won’t forget that your laptop is sitting upon a cooling pad with the fan humming along constantly in the background; sure, it’s a bit loud but probably no more perceptible than what’s in your laptop already (and to be honest, failing miserably in its native cooling responsibilities).
Nitpicks aside, what ultimately counts is the performance, which is really quite good considering that just a single (albeit hardworking) fan is handling the show. The Cooling Lounge makes effective use of airflow that directs cool air in and actively pushes heat out, a feat typically reserved for beefier, dual-air conditioned pads. That’s not bad considering that it’s drawing power from a USB connection, though it would have been nice to have a USB pass-through option. Another nice advantage is added comfort in that it doubles as a handy cushioned lapdesk, which is just the thing when your knees/lap could use a break.
Beyond the exceptional cooling and added comfort, Belkin’s Cooling Lounge is a good solution for those looking to keep their laptops from overheating. It performs exceptionally well, despite only working with a single fan, and having it double as a cushioned lapdesk available is a really nice bonus. Some might take issues with its somewhat noisy fan and bulky dimensions, and those with smaller computers may want to seek out a suitably smaller and less overpowering solution for their cooling needs. These gripes aside, the overall value is undeniable and probably essential if you’re looking to keep your laptop – and your lap – from roasting beyond repair.
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