The 'Book Page

Review: Podium CoolPad

Dan Knight - 2001.06.12 - Tip Jar

One of the first things I discovered about my PowerBook G4 is that is gets hot. Mentioning this on an email list, several member suggested the CoolPad and Podium CoolPad from Road Tools. Since this was my first PowerBook, I didn't know just what it was, but I was impressed at the number of favorable responses.

Road Tools sent me both, but my immediate favorite was the Podium CoolPad.

Both CoolPads work by raising your laptop, allowing air to circulate beneath it. They also let you swivel your PowerBook to show Podium CoolPadwhat's on your screen or fight glare. I suspect the basic CoolPad, which is about the size of a mousepad, might work nicely beneath a compact Mac (Plus, SE, Classic, etc.), but haven't yet tried that.

The Podium CoolPad is wider than the original, providing better support for wider laptops. It also has adjustable risers that can provide four different levels of elevation at the back of the computer. (For ergonomic purists who believe keyboards should tilt away from the user, just turn the Podium CoolPad 180° from the way the rest of us use it.)

I started with the basic 1/2" riser in the back, found it greatly improved my typing, and saw no need to try the other settings. I also found the fan in my TiBook is far less likely to kick in that before I got the Podium CoolPad.

The Podium CoolPad is a huge hit. My wife now has one for her indigo iBook, her niece has one for her PB 3400, and my local Apple dealer uses them to display the new iBook and other portables they carry.

I even take my CoolPad in the field, sticking it in the outside pocket of my Willow laptop case (review coming soon). That way, if I have the opportunity to work at a desk or table, the risers provide the better typing angle. Besides, the Podium CoolPad is so light and thin, it's never a bother to pack it.

If you have a PowerBook, iBook, or even a Windows laptop, a CoolPad could become your favorite accessory. Not only does it help keep your laptop cool, but the Podium CoolPad can also improve the ergonomics of your keyboard by providing the level of tilt that works best for you.

At just $30, I consider the Podium CoolPad a valuable investment. (The base CoolPad is just $20.)

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