Kohl's Cools Our MacBook Pro, Part 2: The Review

​A typical week at Miami New Times involves long hours of intense typing and photo cropping, web browsing, and transcribing. Needless to say, our three-year-old MacBook Pro undergoes a series of vigorous tests each week, and is often on the verge of internally combusting.

As reported on Monday, we bought a lo-tech device, the Spi Fan Cooled Lapdesk, from Kohl's in Hialeah, in an effort to reduce the chances of our computer exploding at the office (or at home). We're proud to report that the $14 investment wasn't a complete waste of money, but rather a useful computer accessory that we're likely to keep around. Here's a breakdown of what happened.

There was a bit of confusion as to where we'd set up our ergonomic laptop docking station. It was our first day in the new office and the seating chart had us at one desk first, then another 30-minutes later. Nevertheless, we comfortably set up shop in the Riptide bullpen once the confusion was settled and started testing.

The Fan Cooled Lapdesk is a simple machine. It's shaped like a Serta contour pillow, except plastic, and a flip down plastic leg "elevates and angles laptop screen to help prevent wrist and neck strain," like the package says. A short USB cable connects the cooling station to the computer, and powers the quiet fan in the center of the Lapdesk.

Our computer ran effortlessly without annoying freeze-ups and reboots. The bottom of our Mac was as cool as the day we bought it; day one using the cooling pad was a success.

We worked from home on Tuesday, punched out several witty blogs and (legally) downloaded music off the web. Sometime after lunch, though, the computer began warming up around the track-pad. The machine's performance wasn't affected--we effortlessly browsed websites and ran several programs at once--but the heat was noticeable and uncomfortable. The external cooling fan was not living up to our expectations.

Back at 4500 Biscayne, we wrote about a holographic 3D event for the day's blog from the comfort of our desk in the writer's pit. The computer warmed up quickly, and Word and Safari slowed one another down, testing our patienc

After repositioning the computer three times--up a little, down some more, maybe to the left--on the docking station, we finally found the right spot to maximize airflow and managed to cool our computer.

We had an unusual morning. We chose the stairs rather than the elevator, felt well rested as opposed to lethargic in the AM. Why the change of mood? Our ergonomically designed cooling dock, of course.

Sadly, the positive, upbeat day abruptly came to a halt at four in the afternoon. Writer's block and a finicky laptop ruined our sweet vibes. It took an hour to load a Santa's Enchanted Forest commercial onto Cultist.

Today, Friday
Earlier this morning, we started piecing together this in-depth product review and realized we're terrible at conducting experiments. There're too many variables that affect this test--laptop's age, varied room temperature, and no real method of calculating "hot" and "cool" temperatures.

We probably need a new computer, but in the meantime, the Spi Fan Cooled Lapdesk made working on a latptop really comfortable. The extra pep in our step and glorious morning feeling was a result of the ergonomic design; our necks and backs feel great.

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Victor Gonzalez
Contact: Victor Gonzalez