The ability to stay connected to the net whilst on the move is becoming more and more popular with netbooks being the latest must-have gadget. With more power and quicker speeds combined with a decrease in product size, the need for efficient and effective cooling is an ever-greater necessity. One way to supply extra cooling potential is through a notebook cooler; the marketplace has been hit with a wave of these coolers released left, right and centre and all claiming to offer effective cooling.
In reality though, many coolers just couldn’t hack it in terms of raw performance and just weren’t worth it. That said, added features such as USB hubs and such like have made some coolers a more tempting purchase. One such product that includes a hub to bolster its marketability is the Choiix Mini Air-Through Notebook Cooling Pad. Let’s take a look…
- Single fan provides airflow for efficient and effective airflow
- Aluminium panel and frame design for superior ventilation and cooling performance
- Ergonomically designed for maximum comfort
- Air is drawn in by the rear fan and passes through air vents to cool the notebook’s underside
- 4 port USB hub for expanding connectivity
- Optimally designed for 7”-15” netbooks
Contents & Packaging
The concept of Choiix, a Cooler Master Group subsidiary, is to provide simple yet refined products that attract consumers who adhere to the same sort of lifestyle and its evident right from the outset that this is so. The simple black background gives rise to the cooling pad with a few logos and a sticker distinguishing the model contained within.
The back is a little more informative giving a range of images showing the Mini Air-Through Cooling Pad in use in an attempt to show off its practicality and usefulness. The features and specifications are present and accounted for atop two thermal images of an Aspire One laptop showing off the temperature drops achieved by the product.
Asides from a simple paper manual, the only other accessory is a short USB cable for joining the cooling pad to the laptop so as to benefit from the USB hub.
Choiix Mini Air-Through
As with the package, the cooling pad has a very simple matte black finish making it compatible with pretty much any laptop or netbook as there shouldn’t be any colour clashes (the pad can also be purchased in white).
The sloped front is large enough for any laptop/netbook from 7” to 15” to sit on with the large hole in the centre allowing the hot air to be dissipated through the ventilation slots.
Rubber feet are attached to the underside of the Mini Air-Through cooling pad to keep it in place and prevent it from slipping.
Just a single 70mm fan is utilised in the design and is turned on and off via a small switch on the side. Unfortunately, a fan speed control has not been included in the design and so there is no middle ground between noise levels and fan speed – simply on or off.
At the back, a 4-port USB hub is situated for greater connectivity (connected to the laptop via a short USB cable on the side).
Weighing in at just 575g, it’s a very compact and lightweight product due to its aluminium construction that looks simple yet sleek. So now we’ve taken a look at the Choiix product, how will it perform? Read on to find out…
The first part of testing looks at the cooling ability of the cooler by taking temperatures, at both idle and load states, of the laptop’s processor. Idle state is achieved by not running any applications of processes for 30 minutes and then recording the temperatures using Core Temp; for load testing, the processor is loaded to 100% by using Prime95 for 20 minutes.
Other factors such as practicality, compactness, noise and aspects such as USB Hubs are also taken into consideration.
The laptop used throughout testing was an ASUS Eee 100HE PC; ambient temperature was 18 degrees Celsius.
Clearly, the CPU temperatures are not affected a great deal as a result of the cooler but it is important to point out that the cooler helps to lower the temperatures of all internal components and also the system as a whole. Consequently, the life span of the netbook or laptop should be increased and over longer periods the product helps to remove hot air and prevent the heat from simply being projected back into the netbook.
NoiseThe noise levels are noticeable; it’s not overly loud but a little of the noisy side and so it would have been nice to see a speed dial in order to allow the fan speed to be reduced and thus a reduction in noise levels.
OtherIn terms of practicality, the cooler is very compact making it easy to transport but the 4-port USB port is the other main feature. This allows extra connectivity for memory sticks and other USB devices which is certainly useful.
CostAt £30, it’s neither cheap nor overly expensive but at £10 less it would have been a much more tempting purchase.
As a whole, the Choiix Mini Air-Through Cooler is a good sound product. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the product is “exquisite” but the sleek black finish works well and the simple yet refined approach is certainly a winner.
In terms of raw cooling performance, the cooling pad doesn’t dramatically drop the temperatures down but it does offer some extra cooling that should improve the life span and help to keep the laptop cooler especially over longer periods.
The extra connectivity from the USB hub is also a welcome addition. However, it’s not all rosy; the fan is a little noisy and a fan speed control would definitely be an improvement. Moreover, the £30 price tag could be considered a touch high and at just £5 or £10 less, the product would be a much more attractive purchase.
Choiix have certainly done a good job and the Mini Air-Through cooler is definitely better than many notebook coolers on the market. As is stands it’s a good product but a few refinements could make it even better.
- Compact and lightweight
- Reasonable cooling potential
- USB Hub
- No fan speed control
- A touch expensive
Thanks go to Choiix for providing the Cooling Pad for review.