By Terry Currier
in our June 2008 newsletter
If you have a laptop computer you know it can get pretty warm at times. I own a HP Ze4904 laptop computer. Do you remember the Sony battery recall in 2006, because of overheating? Well, true to Murphyís Law my laptop has a Sony battery, but not one of the ones recalled. It can really get warm.
The purpose of a laptop stand is not just to hold it, but to help keep it from getting too hot. I own two of them. The Targus (www.targus.com) one has two small fans built-in to help blow cooler air onto the bottom of the laptop. I brought it on sale for about $20, it is about the same size of the laptop itself, and it works pretty well. The bad thing about it is, to make the fans work it has to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Itís not heavy, but sometimes there is no place to plug it in.
The LapWorks (www.laptopdesk.net) I brought two years ago. It is a foldable plastic tray type unit with slots in to help get some air to the laptop. There is rubber on the tray to help it hold the laptop. It also raises it a slight amount when keeping it off my lap to keep the heat way. Sometimes when I actually have to use it on my lap, the folded out version is not enough. I end up folding it in half to put under the laptop and keep the heat away. I see from their website the newer models have open ventilation slots for extra cooling. You can also elevate the screen, by using a simple plastic tab in the unit. For an extra five dollars you can purchase a side tray for using a mouse. Cost is $29.95, and weights in at 22 ounces.
Now along comes the Cricket. You have to love the portability of the Cricket. It weighs only 9.7 ounces and folds up to fit into a bag they include. Easily fitting into most laptop bags. The arm swings out and holds at certain angles with a solid click. The legs extend out and have little feet that fold out to hold the laptop. The angles it holds the laptop and shape of the Cricket makes it perfect to help keep the laptop cool.
The other part of using a laptop stand is using it. The top of the Cricket folded out is shiny metal, I would have preferred it to be rubberized to hold the laptop more securely. While not wobbly I did not feel it really secure to put my $1,000 laptop on. I say that because I just know sooner or latter I could bump the table or desk itís on. Second part is it is not ergonomic. The keyboard is suppose to be slightly below the elbow. It is not suppose to be raised, or you create a greater chance of injury to your wrist. The Cricket does exactly that.
Cricket is $39.95 get it at http://www.lcdarms.com/products/Laptop_Arms/Cricket.html
Winners is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is an international, platform-independent, nonprofit corporation (incorporated in Washington, DC) devoted to helping user groups throughout the world. Almost 400 user groups are members of APCUG. http://www.apcug.net/