Cooler Master is well-known for their Notepal line of notebook cooling options, a family of products most of which we've had the pleasure of reviewing. Furthering their coverage of mobile computers, the Choiix brand from CM offers several new designs including cooler, sleeves, and mice that focus on portability as well as comfortability. Today I sit down with such a hybrid, the Comforter Lapdesk.
Product Name: Comforter Lapdesk
Review Sample Provided by: Choiix
Pictures by: Adam
The Choiix line is out to establish a brand of it's own, which is obvious in the lapdesk's break from the Cooler Master packaging theme. Instead of a container box with the typical white-and-purple features, Choiix has packaged the Comforter Lapdesk in a simple clear plastic bag. The comforter is enveloped in a cardboard insert sporting the new orange-white-green scheme, covered front and back with clip art of a family setting putting the product to good use. Along with a few bullets of information, a few real photos of select angles complete the cover. The bag is easy to open and keep nice for re-use, but doesn't sport the carrying handle that I've always loved from the Notepal line.
Being a short section of this review is a plus for this sort of product, since simplicity is a trait Choiix is aiming for. It's a target that is hit well, with nothing involved past postioning the lapdesk comfortably on your lap and setting the laptop on top.
The 'comfort' aspect of the Comforter Lapdesk comes from the cushion on the reverse side of the desk, which obviously rests on your legs. It's difficult to express comfort in words, though the lapdesk definitely deserves praise in this aspect, it should be enough simply to recognize the difference between hard, hot plastic and a nice, cool cushion. Choiix has really found a good balance of cushion for the size of the lapdesk, especially when the angle is taken into consideration.
Too much cushion could not only be uncomfortable and dense, but also create too much of an incline. The Comforter Lapdesk creates a much more ergonomical solution to a flat set-up usually encountered when using just a notebook on the lap. This is achieved with the question-mark shape of the lapdesk, a protruding 'U' shape dip just on above your lower calf, knee area that lifts the back of the notebook, much like the Notepal line is famous for. This in turn puts the keyboard at an upward slant, which adapts to the natural rest of your wrists for typing, and brings the screen closer to eye level.
Though the Comforter Lapdesk isn't designed to radically decrease system temperatures, it will have an affect. Removing the bottom of the laptop, generally the hottest portion, from your legs not only keeps you cool, but the laptop as well. When a material, such as cloth or jeans, is surrounding the many vents and even the hot spots of a laptop, it doesn't allow for the heat to escape. The plastic top of the comforter ensures that the vents are blowing into a cave of fabric, and creates a surface more resistant to heat.
The dip that was touched on earlier can also be used for storage, which our LanOC community member CrazyBillyBob is sure to be excited about. This is a great place to hide cords for power or even external hard drive connectors, the enclosure of which can be kept on the comforter itself, depending on the size of the laptop. The lapdesk supports widescreen models at 17" with wiggle-room. To keep the laptop from shifting, regardless of it's size, two anti-slip rubber circles, as well as a large rubber bar, hold it in place well.
Having worked with Cooler Master in the past, I just couldn't get over a laptop stand that didn't have a fan in it. Again, please keep in mind the Comforter Lapdesk isn't designed to decrease temperatures like the Notepal line is, but I saw no reason there couldn't be a happy union of the two. Though it creates quite an incline, the solid surface solution of the lapdesk does allow for the use of smaller notebook coolers, such as the Notepal D1.
Though the Comforter Lapdesk may seem a little large at first, straying a bit from the portability aspect, shaving off any inches may upset the nice balance of comfort and functionality Choiix has achieved. The latter of those two is understated; as a father whose only retreat from Yo Gabba Gabba is a laptop, a cushioned desk is much, much better than hot plastic. Relieving that heat is also beneficial to the laptop, especially a gaming build such as mine, whose video card vent is usually buried in my jeans. And with a little creativity, I even managed to add my own cooling into the mix. However, the Comforter Lapdesk still stands very well on it's own, and is a great steal at an MSRP of $19.99. Maybe you can't put a price on comfort, but Choiix has thrown a number out there, and frankly, it's pretty comforting, too.