Laptop cooling products are something we have seen more and more of on the market. You can usually find something designed for your purpose just by looking around. You might be going for cooling, comfort, or some combination of the two. The Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim aims for the cooling side of things with an emphasis on being compact and portable.
Product Name: Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim
Review Sample Provided by: Cooler Master
Review by: Jakob Barnard
Pictures by: Jakob Barnard
- Classic X design, slim and lightweight for easy transportation.
- Silent 160mm fan with great cooling performance.
- Two height settings for the ideal viewing/typing angle.
- Full range metal mesh for superior airflow.
- Cable grooves for easy USB cable management.
- Powered by USB port extender.
- Supports up to 17" laptops.
Cooler Master shipped the NotePal X-Slim in a box with their usual white and pink coloring. The front of the box shows a picture of the product and the back walks you through the various features. Opening the box we can see that the cooler is protected by two foam pieces and a plastic bag. Removing the X-Slim, the first thing I noticed is that there really isn’t much in the way of included accessories beyond the installation manual. We will get to it in a moment, but no accessories are really needed here anyway.
The NotePal X-Slim as I mentioned doesn’t come with anything in the way of accessories. This is because of a new feature that they are using with the USB cable that powers the fan. It is actually a USB pass-through cable. This is different than the NotePal ErgoStand that we have seen previous to this cooler. The concept is nice, though if you chain anything off of it, you will have to be careful about moving it around a lot as it sticks out a fair way.
You lose any possibility of a USB hub, but since the concept here is high mobility, it isn’t very likely you will be using more than the built in USB ports anyway. For testing I used my Dell Latitude E6410, fitting nicely in that middle 15 inch range. Operation of the fan was simple: plug it into any USB port on the laptop and the fan kicked in.
The Dell laptop that I used for testing usually keeps itself at a moderate temperature, but naturally we are going to push it a little bit here. With laptop coolers I use two applications in 15 minute cycles. The first test is taking a temperature at full idle after 15 minutes, using SpeedFan to take the temperature. The second test is maxing out all four cores on the CPU using MaxCPU for 15 minutes and taking a temperature reading. The third and final test is repeating the test with the laptop cooling fan running.
Before we even discuss the chart above it is important to make one very important note about laptop coolers. Your mileage will vary. They are highly dependent on how your laptop is constructed and how the ventilation is designed.
You will notice that the NotePal X-Slim did net us a 3.5 degree Celsius reduction in temperature. This means that overall the laptop cooler did indeed help reduce the overall temperature. During normal usage when you only have spikes in temperature periodically, this will help remove the excess heat buildup quicker. It was also very quiet. I couldn’t hear the cooler over the internal laptop fans.
I liked the X-style of this cooler, the feel of it, and enjoyed how light the whole thing was. However, what most impressed me was how quiet the fan is. I like cooling products that I can’t even tell I am using, and the Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim certainly fits the order. It is light enough that I can see throwing it in my laptop bag and bringing it with me, unlike many I have seen.
The only thing that bothered me was how far the USB pass-through stuck out. The laptop I tested with has a total of three USB ports, so I felt this wasn’t really needed. A simple USB plug-in would have used less space and worked just as well to power the device. That being said, I can see how some would certainly like it, so I will not be knocking down the rating much based on that. Overall it was a solid product and worth consideration.