A cool lap at last

After reading about the Targus Chill Mat for Mac in the August 2009 issue of Mac Life, I just had to give it a try. Having my MacBook Pro on my lap has worked great when it’s cool enough for pants, but with shorts and bare legs, it’s a burner. There are times when I just don’t want to sit at a desk to read through blogs and news, but the recent heat has restricted me to doing just that. There was no way I could use the laptop on my lap without frying my thighs.

On Saturday, I went over to the local London Drugs to see if they had any Chill Mats in stock. They did have ONE, so I bought it on the spot. Glad I did. So far it’s worked splendidly over a day and a half. Cool lap and cool laptop, what more could you ask for.

What’s involved?

It’s just a light mat about an inch thick at its thickest. It narrows toward the front, so it tilts just a bit down toward you when it’s on your lap. There are two fans that move air up through it, and they draw power through a usb connection to the laptop. You can turn the fans on and off with a switch on the back of the mat. Vents on both the top and bottom of the mat ensure airflow over the bottom of the MacBook. The top side is somewhat rubberized to keep the laptop from slipping around, and the bottom is more of a mesh that has give like a net. The 17″ MacBook Pro fits it just right.

What’s not to like?

Well, let’s face it, it just one more thing to grab with the laptop, so it is a bit more complicated to set up. The bottom edges are less rounded than the MacBook, so if you sit askew, holding one side of the laptop with your leg, it seems to irritate after a while.

Those are small complaints. Overall it does just what it’s meant to, and it’s doing it very well. It costs about 50 bucks, which seems reasonable to me, and according to the specs, it weighs in at about 1.6 lbs. You hardly notice it with a 5.5 lb notebook sitting on your lap.

Bottom line: I like it.

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