ChillCases Combine A Notebook Cooler And A Lap Desk Into One Slim Laptop Bag

How We Tested

To get our baseline temperature we played video from Hulu at full screen for 15 minutes, then measured five key areas: the space between the G&H keys, the touchpad and/or wrist rest, the hottest area on the top of the notebook, the hottest area on the bottom, and the vent. Next, we let the systems cool and ran the same test with them hooked up to the ChillCases. Finally, we ran the same test with the Cooler Master NotePal U2 — an active cooler meant to sit on a desk top.

Some Like It Hot

As you can see from the chart below, without using any kind of cooler, all of these laptops got uncomfortably hot on the bottom. The high temperatures near the vents aren’t surprising, but in some cases the hot air isn’t effectively pointed away from the user.

Default Temperatures

Notebook Keyboard Touchpad / Palm Rest Top Bottom Vent
Dell Latitude Z600 92 85 113 113 106
Toshiba Satellite E205 94 98 95 108 107
Dell Inspiron Mini 10 95 100 107 114 109

The two Dell systems we tested also had unreasonably hot temperatures on top. The Z600’s hottest area was at the top left of the deck and probably wouldn’t affect users much, but the Mini 10’s hottest area is right at the wrist rest, which would make long-term use uncomfortable.

The results of the cooling tests were a mixed bag, but overall positive. The two systems that showed the most improvement were the Toshiba Satellite E205 and the Dell Mini 10, averaging 4.4 and 5.6 degree drops in temperature overall. Temperatures on the Toshiba’s keyboard, touchpad and deck came down to acceptable levels, and the hottest area on the bottom cooled 8 degrees. We were particularly happy with the 8 – 16 degree drop on the bottom of the Mini 10, though overall temperatures were still somewhat high.

The Z600 also saw some improvement, especially near the vent, but not as much as the E205 or Mini 10. That is likely due to where the hottest areas were located: the top left on the deck and the back left on the bottom. These areas weren’t directly over the cooling well on the ChillCase, so the benefit was minor.

Temperature Difference With the ChillCase (Degrees Cooler)

Notebook
Keyboard
Touchpad / Palm Rest
Top
Bottom
Vent
Dell Latitude Z600 2 0 1 0 4
Toshiba Satellite E205 3 5 8 6 0
Dell Inspiron Mini 10 1 -1 4 8 16

In most cases, a standalone cooling stand/pad like the Cooler Master U2 will get better results, especially as that combines passive cooling and has two active fans. But for a portable system, the ChillCases performed well.

Cool Running

The best part is, no matter how hot the notebooks remained, the bottom of the ChillCase always measured under 86 degrees. I used the bags during my commute for a week and never felt undue heat on my legs, even after an hour. Heat doesn’t have the chance to sink down into the material as it would if I’d just used a bag or a coat between my laptop and my legs.

ChillCases come in a variety of sizes that accommodate everything from netbooks all the way up to 16-inch laptops. The designers created two styles, one a briefcase/sleeve affair with a zippered pocket for cords and accessories, one a messenger-style bag that can be worn vertically over the shoulder or horizontally like a briefcase.

HP has the 14.1-inch and 16.1-inch versions of the traditional briefcase/sleeve on their site for $39 and $49. The messenger-style ChillCase is also available now at EnRouteCases.com. The pricing isn’t yet available but will be soon. And don’t be surprised if you see these cases with some different branding in the coming months. We’ll keep you updated.

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  1. Ian Says:

    Neat idea! My laptop cooks my legs when I play games. Is there any place I could get one now? Who makes these?

  2. Marci Perkett Says:

    Hey these look cool, can you tell me where to get a few!!!!

  3. Kimberly Carter Says:

    Pretty neat little invention if I do say myself, I work at a Research lab and have to bring a lot of work home and on trips. Wish I new where I could get one of these?

  4. Jeremy Says:

    This is such a great idea. Just what I have been waiting for. Anyone know where I can get one now? Do we have to wait for HP? Would make an amazing gift for all my techie friends.

  5. Janet southers Says:

    This what is been looking for. Does anyone know where I can get on at?

  6. Lee Says:

    For a few years now I have used a glass coaster to elevate my laptop from the table so the fan can disperse the heat. This seems like a much more efficient solution.

  7. Lucy Says:

    I’m with the posters above – I am sick of getting my legs burnt alive by my Dell laptop that just seems to overheat at the drop of a hat. Thanks for the article, I think I’ll look into grabbing myself a Chillcase :)

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