Review of "Targus Laptop Cooling Pad"

published 28/12/2015 | sharper_fin
Member since : 30/10/2014
Reviews : 181
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About me :
I'm Shaun Finnie, a freelance writer from Yorkshire. Please spare a moment to look me up on Amazon. Not that I'm short on book sales but....
Pro Easy to use, comfortable
Cons May be a little bulky for some?
Ease of Use
Value for Money

"Give your laptop a seriously cool makeover"


I'm a writer by trade, which means I end up working on my laptop all day, every day. Neither me or my computer really ever have a day off. I can't remember the last time it wasn't turned on for at least a few hours in any given twenty-four hour period. I'm either writing or researching at some point of every day. A laptop computer is very much a tool for me, and mine slogs away like a proper workhorse.

As you can imagine, a poorly PC would be a pretty bad thing for me. I noticed that it was getting quite warm recently and an overheated laptop usually means trouble ; anywhere from just being a bit slow or turning off unexpectedly right through to suddenly bursting into flames. None of these options are top of my Christmas list I mentioned this to a writer friend and she said she'd had the same concerns about her work machine but had found a solution.

The Basics

The Targus Chill Mat AWE55 is basically a chunky sheet of folded and moulded plastic on which to place your laptop when in use. It is designed to use on any surface, including your lap. By lifting the base of the laptop from whatever surface it's resting on it allows air to circulate under the body of the computer. To help this cool flow there are two fans built into the top of the mat which blow air at the base of the computer. These are powered by the laptop itself via a USB cable. The Chill Mat also raises the laptop to a more ergonomically advantageous height and angle.

The unit measures 38 x 5.4 x 31.9cm and weighs just under a kilogram. This means that it's actually quite bulky if you do intend to sit it on your lap but it's doable. It will take laptops of up to 17" in size. That's what mine is and it fits perfectly.
The Build

It's really well built (in Thailand) and looks like it could take a few knocks. It's more than strong enough to take the weight of my laptop. The only downside of sitting my computer on it comes from my own typing style really. When I'm 'in the zone' with my writing and the words are flowing really easily I do tend to get a bit heavy-handed (heavy-fingered?) and hit the keys really hard when I type at speed. This results in the base feeling a little bit springy. It's not that much of a boingy action but it is slightly noticeable and I can see it being a bit off-putting for some people. Personally I got used to it really quickly and it's now my new 'normal'.

The top of the unit is a big sheet of open-weave plastic mesh which is again specifically designed to let the air flow better. There are some moveable rubber feet plugged into this that you can align with the edge of your laptop for a better grip.
The underneath of it is neoprene which makes it nice and soft should you wish to sit it upon your bare legs. It also makes it non-slip for putting on a table or desk top.

To use, you just plug it in to a spare USB socket. That's it. There's no software involved so there's no initialisation or set-up. Just plug it in and leave it there, forever. When you start your laptop up the fans turn on; switch your computer off and they turn off too as their power supply dies. They draw a really small amount of electricity too so won't really add to the drain on your laptop's batteries.
The Chilliness

For something described as a Chill Mat I expected it to throw out a serious amount of cold air. It doesn't but I think this is more of a problem with my expectations than with the design and build of the machine itself.

The fans are based where the batteries are on most laptops, up near the hinge bit. They direct the cold air precisely at the part of the laptop that gets the hottest, thereby doing their job as economically as possible. Also, as they are powered solely by the USB cable there was no way they were ever going to be really fast fans. They do what they need to and do it well.

The fans run really quietly too. Yes, you can hear them whirring away lightly but it's not an intrusive noise by any means. It's just a little sigh in the background, reminiscent of distant road traffic noise. I learned to zone the noise out within a couple of days of using it.
The Ergonomicness

This sloping base unit raises your laptop by about an inch at the front and about two and a half inches at the rear. This means that your hand position on the keyboard is considerably different when using the Targus to without. I took to it immediately. I can't say that it increased my typing speed any but neither did it slow me down at all, which is important in my job.

I did notice that the weight contact point is now on the balls of my wrists rather than my forearms as it always has been when the laptop has just been sat on top of a desk. I don't know it that will have any long-term effect but it certainly feels comfortable enough.

One thing that I really like is that it raises the height of the screen more to my eyeline. I know that I could have done this before by myself but I'm idle and male so I haven't really considered my health at work before. Sitting my laptop on the Chill Mat has certainly made me more aware of the importance of ergonomics, even if I don't really understand it. All I can say is that it feels more comfortable because I'm not looking down as much. That has to be a good thing.
Cost and Availability

I paid just under £20 for my Chill Mat from Amazon in December 2015. I'd say that this was a fair price for a product of this quality.

I'd heartily recommend the Targus Chill Mat AWE55. It's comfortable, very easy to set up and use, and I can feel that my neck and shoulder muscles aren't as strained as they used to be before I started using this product. It would be worth the money for that alone but if it extends the life of my laptop too then all the better.

Just remember though that it isn't a perfect solution to damaged computers and data loss. There's no better way to safeguard yourself than regularly and frequently backing up your data.

Do it now, you know you've been putting it off.

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Comments on this review

  • justarube published 14/08/2016
  • Expo published 03/01/2016
    Good review
  • IzzyS published 03/01/2016
    Detailed review.
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Product Information : Targus Laptop Cooling Pad

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Manufacturer: Targus

Miscellaneous / Product Type: Notebook pad

EAN: 5054484150503



Listed on Ciao since: 16/07/2015