Review: Antec Notebook Cooler 200
Iain Laskey find the Notebook Cooler 200 makes for a comfortable laptop experience
|Product||Notebook Cooler 200|
|We like||Looks, quality of construction, works well|
|We don't like||Rather pricey|
Antec are best known for their fine range of enclosures and power supplies. They do also produce a number of specialised cooling solutions such as the hard driver cooler we reviewed a while back. This time however, we are looking at the Notebook Cooler 200 designed to help with laptops with a tendency to overheat.
The Antec Notebook Cooler 200 is so named because of the huge 200mm Antec Big Boy cooling fan that dominates the middle of it. Whilst we're on the subject, someone, please tell Antec that 'Big Boy' sounds, well, just a bit suspect!
The Cooler 200 is designed to either sit on your lap or to be on a desktop. The laptop simply sits on top and is connected to the cooler via a single USB connector. This provides power for the fan as well as a rather cool looking blue lighting feature.
Laptops tend to have their fans underneath and as a result, can easily start to overheat if the intake(s) are blocked. Even more strangely, the fans are often placed just where your knees end up, thus getting blocked. The idea behind the Notebook Cooler 200 is that the large fan keeps the air underneath the laptop moving and also keeps the laptops own fans free of restrictions.
The fan runs at two speeds, selectable via a small switch at the back. You can also opt to have the lighting on or off. For our money we'd say on - it looks really good. The cooler is essentially a strong plastic framework with some slightly tacky looking mirrored support pads in each corner. We tested it with 13inch and 15 inch laptops but it looks like it will handle a 17inch machine too.
The fan is incredibly quiet, between 23 and 27 dBA - you'd really be hard pushed to tell if it was on or off were it not for the gentle breeze on the trousers (possibly too much information!). It is protected by a sturdy metal mesh so there's no danger of getting your fingers or bits of clothing caught in it.
The first test machine had a slight hardware fault - it overheats really easily on a lap and spontaneously powers down at random as a result unless you're really careful about keeping the fans and air ducts free. However, we thought this would be a good test. Having used the laptop pretty much daily, we can report zero power downs in over three weeks.
The large but slow moving Big Boy fan (sorry, we really can't stop giggling on that one) seems to do its work well. We tried to be fairly abusive, using it on laps, duvet covers (thus reducing the airflow) and on a desktop. Across the board it managed a significant drop in temperature and a big improvement in reliability.
The second laptop was a gaming laptop which manages to get its fans running hard after playing games for any period of time. The fans go through 3 levels of speed/noise as the laptop heats up with the fastest speed being quite obtrusive. When partnered with the Notebook Cooler 200 though, it never went above the second speed.
We liked the Antec Notebook Cooler 200. It looks really good, especially with the LEDs on and works well. We can safely say it made a definite difference to both the laptops we tried it with. However, we did feel the price is a little on the high side. As such, we can't give it a firm recommendation but if you do need something to cool your laptop, this is the one we'd go for.