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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Weight is a major concern for those who buy a laptop. Since it’s supposed to be carried around, it has to be as lightweight as possible. Most people don’t realize however that heat is also an issue. Notebooks have a tendency to get really hot during prolonged usage. There are several cooling solutions on the market, most of them USB-powered fan units that are both heavy and noisy (click here to take a look at Cooler Master NotePal cooler and see what we are talking about). iXoft, a new product from Thermaltake, is neither, relying on simple chemistry to cool a laptop and prevent the user from feeling its heat.

Figure 1: The iXoft Notebook Cooler.

[nextpage title=”Product Description”]

The iXoft Notebook Cooler is like a table mat with thermal capacity. Lightweight and bendable, it supports notebooks ranging from 12” to 17”. It is made of two layers of fabric with a chemical solution sandwiched in-between: sodium sulfate decahydrate (Na2SO4.10 H2O), also known as Glauber’s Salt, a heat storing substance used on hot/cold gel packs. The surface is grainy because of the sodium sulfate decahydrate crystals inside. Underneath it has a suede coating that is very comfortable and soft when resting on a user’s lap. The sandwich edges are reinforced with thick embroidery so the Glauber’s Salt – who liquefies under intense heat (more about that later) – doesn’t spoil all over the pad.

Figure 2: Surface detail.

Figure 3: Underneath the iXoft.

[nextpage title=”Testing The iXoft”]

For our review we used a HP Pavilion dv2000 (1.8 GHz Pentium M, 512 MB RAM, 160 GB hard drive). We measured its temperature using a freeware from Softpedia called MobileMeter. The test was done in two different ways: first we used the laptop for one hour and half over a glass table without the iXoft; than we used it on our lap for the same amount of time with the iXoft.

During the first experience the laptop reached 147º F (64º C) – a veritable inferno to work with on our lap, unless you use a book or a mattress underneath. When we used the iXoft on our lap, the temperature reached 140º F (60º C) – and we never felt any heat coming from the notebook. The product retained and dissipated the heat all over the Glauber’s Salt filled-core, which melted a little. It crystallized back again after a while without the laptop over it, always retaining its original form.

It’s very comfortable to use the iXoft. Although the cooling is not as effective as done by an active cooling device with fans, at least it’s finally possible to work with the notebook on the user’s lap without feeling the intense heat and having to resort to cumbersome countermeasures.  Plus the temperature dropped deven degrees F (four degrees C), which is always nice. The iXoft easily fits into a laptop briefcase/backpack and provides extra protection for the unit. For those who endure long hours at the airport with a notebook heating their pants like hot coal, the iXoft is a must-have item.

Figure 4: iXof under a laptop.

[nextpage title=”Specifications”]

Thermaltake iXoft notebook cooler main specs are:

  • Available colors: White and black.
  • Dimensions: 13.8 x 12 x 0.47 inches (353 x 305 x 12mm)
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs (640 g)
  • Power consumption: zero.
  • Noise level: 0 dBA.
  • Material: Sodium sulfate decahydrate (Na2SO4.10 H2O).
  • More information: https://www.thermaltake.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 29.00

* Researched at Shopping.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Strong points

  • Easy to use and carry.
  • Keeps the heat generated by the notebook away.
  • No power consumption.
  • Noise-free.
  • Padded design helps protect the laptop when transported together.

Weak point

  • Cooling function not as effective as some powered units.