The Notepal Ergo 360 is one of the most unique laptop cooling pads we've seen in some time. The ability to quickly swivel your notebook for multiple seating positions or others at your desk/table may have appeal to some, but the swiveling mechanism also detaches to become a table stand as well. Don't worry, it caught us a bit off guard at first as well, and didn't we say it was unique?
Notepal Ergo 360
A multi-functional laptop cooling pad that is a laptop cooler, laptop stand and tablet stand with 360 degree rotation all-in-one. Two silent fans provide excellent cooling performance. Height setting stand can be removed and used as a tablet stand.
Courtesy of Cooler Master
|Color||Black and Silver (plate)|
|Materials||Aluminum and Plastic|
|Dimensions (W/H/D)||39.9 x 29.7 x 3.5 cm (cooling pad) / 20 x 11 x 1.7 cm (tablet stand)|
|Fan Dimensions (W/H/D)||80 x 80 x 15 mm|
|Fan Speed||1700 ± 10% RPM|
|Fan Noise Level (dBA)||23 dBA|
|Compatibility||13" - 17" laptops, most tablet PCs and smartphones|
|Courtesy of Cooler Master|
The NotePal Ergo 360 ships with only a simiple multi-lingual user's manual, not that we'd expect it to come with much else. Foam inserts keep the cooler tidy and protected inside the clean purple and white box.
The upper surface of the Ergo 360 is made up of a large black brushed aluminum plate which meshes solidly with the rest of the plastic chassis. The cooling duty is taken care of by two 80mm fans which each have a max rotation speed of 1700 RPM. Above the fans are flexible vents which slightly direct the airflow toward the front of the cooler. The cooler feels assuringly solid, but is also rather hefty weighing in at about 2lbs. The bottom edge has a raised sill and two foldable tabs to hold your notebook in place, especially when the stand is fully deployed at about 50-60°. The bottom has raised feet on the front and back which prevent the swiveling pad from touching the surface when it's stowed away. Rubber pads do a satisfactory job of prevent sliding on the desktop, and a simple USB stowage slot is included near the back of the cooler. One either side of the swivel stand are the two vents for the 80 mm fans.
The swivel pulls out with a slight "click" as it snaps into place, and a support piece swivels up and notches into the primary arm into one of several points, which allows you to set the amount of tilt. The swivel mechanism is smooth, and the front feet don't have any rubber so that it swivels smoothly. The swivel stand also quickly and easily detaches and can be used as a convenient table holder, a unique and intelligent solution to hit two birds with one stone.
Testing notebook coolers can be a bit tricky, as we have yet to find a reliable fan speed controller for our Dell XPS laptop (readers, throw us a comment if you know of something we can use!). Fan speeds on notebooks often work like this: a load is applied and temperature goes up, then the fan kicks up a bunch and cools the CPU back down, so the fan speeds relaxes, then the temps go up, and that cycle tends to oscillate during temperature testing. As a result, we've been better off monitoring the fan activity of the notebook, which has its own benefits. If the fan in your notebook (which is highly integrated and difficult/expensive to replace) isn't working as hard, it's a fairly safe bet you should see some lifetime improvement from it. Our old torture-test notebook has since succumbed to a graphics card failure, and so we'll observe fan speed behavior in different usage environments.
During stress testing and gaming, when the fan is usually automatically at full speed, we saw a slight reduction of the fan speed, where it would frequently dip to around 90% fan speed. Since only one of the fans is near the CPU and the GPU is located a bit farther forward, we didn't see quite as much of a reduction when compared to the coolers which had larger fans. The fans have a more noticeable noise because it's higher-pitched than larger fans, but with a notebook sitting ontop they're still very quiet. The vanes, which push the airflow slightly forward, created airflow that could be lightly felt on my wrists, which is a nice auxiliary benefit. The notebook surfaces were notably cooler, albeit only slightly, but the bottom was significantly cooler to the touch. The large aluminum top creates a large heatsink area as well, and combined with the airflow helps wick heat away from the critical components.
For $40, you get a unique cooler with a clean look (and I personally love the brushed metal look) and simple operation. For those also looking for a tablet stand, the Ergo 360 has added value which helps make a pair of twenty dollar bills worth it. For those who often share their notebook screens, the swivel mechanism would come in handy for you. And although I tend to prefer a single larger fan as opposed to two smaller fans, as you generally have lower noise for a given amount of airflow, the noise levels are still very low and nothing I'd find myself complaining about. It also wouldn't have been practical, or possible really, to install a single larger fan since the stand mechanism takes up most of the room in the center of the cooler.
The Notepal Ergo 360 is definitely more a home or office companion, with its unique screen-sharing swivel, and the fact that it's rather bulky in both size and weight. It weighs about 2lbs, and it's awkwardly thick to pack away in most notebook bags. We would also like to see a fan speed adjustment, but are happy that the cable management is there if you want to stow the USB cable. The convertible stand which works for tablets is also a nice companion around the house, or where you might use the tablet at work.