My luck with laptops is short and pathetic; two succumbed to overheating in the past five years despite owning a lapdesk meant to prevent that particular affliction. I decided that my third attempt would only get purchased after thorough research. I did not want to tolerate a trial-and-error scenario where an error meant sending my laptop to some distant state for repairs under warranty.
I searched the Internet and scoured the local department store aisles leisurely, methodically, and in a last minute gesture, frantically, looking for the perfect accessory to keep my laptop in cool, operational order. The selected product (a Lap Chill Mat from Targus) needed to meet my very strict and specific criteria: sturdy, effective, quiet, affordable, and easily obtained.
The mat’s first positive feature is its well-constructed (albeit plastic and foam rubber) design; it fits comfortably on one’s lap and remains equally stable when placed on a flat surface, such as a desk. This detail is important because my primary use for it is during large-scale, professional presentations.
Second, my laptop’s fans are poorly positioned on its underside and require relatively even distribution of air. The Chill Mat plugs in via USB and its fans are barely detectable. It does not seem to drain the battery much either, despite hours of ongoing use, and its airflow is focused toward the bottom hinge of the laptop, drawing heat away from the main battery and fan areas of most notebooks.
The design could have been improved by placing a wire clip or other similar device to more easily store the USB wire when not in use, and the rubberized grips that lift the laptop slightly above its surface are pretty poorly constructed and may fall off. Mine were falling off when I first bought it, but I didn’t realize their initial purpose until I tested it out at home. It should not pose a great problem as long as the Chill Mat is kept upright. Also, despite any design flaws, the product works steadily and well. My laptop has been on for over four hours now and it barely feels warm to the touch.
Finally, the Chill Mat was readily found at a large, recognizable store-Target. I needed it at the last minute, and can imagine many deciding to buy it while browsing, on a whim. I was glad to see it in stock, but would have been happy to receive it via Amazon Prime in two shipping days. Either way, it was an excellent purchase with a price tag under $30, excluding tax. For some reason, the silver-tone version is more expensive at $34.99 on Amazon.com for the color variation. Please note that my laptop is also only 15′ across. If you have a larger model, you will need a different, wider lapdesk. Unfortunately, this one only comes in one size at this time.
Overall, the Targus Lap Chill Mat met my qualifications and exceeded expectations. I am a pleased owner (for nearly a month now), and would recommend it to any friend, relative, or complete stranger who might need a similar, fast fix for their notebooks.