Computer Component & Accessory Reviews & Buying Guides
Summary: We purchased the Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for their full product review.
If you use your laptop for playing games or running high-performance apps, then you’ve probably seen it get very warm and kick on its potentially loud internal fans. However, the built-in fans can only do so much to dissipate the immense heat built within, try as they might. That’s where laptop cooling pads come in, blasting additional cool air into your laptop to help take down the internal and external temperatures.
Kootek’s Laptop Cooling Pad isn’t the cheapest option around, nor is it the most premium—but it’s effective and sells for a reasonable price, and is large enough to accommodate larger laptops with 17-inch displays. A clunky height adjustment system is the main drawback, but it doesn’t stop the Kootek pad from working as expected.
The Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad is a larger unit, measuring nearly 15 inches wide, 11.8 inches tall, and about 1.4 inches thick, with a weight of 2.6 pounds. It’s heavier and bulkier than the lightweight TopMate C302 Cooling Pad, for example, and feels more durable as a result.
It’s built for laptops with screens between 12 and 17 inches diagonal, with a wide metal grate on the surface to help dissipate heat as the five fans blow onto your laptop. Most of the rest of the build is plastic. Each fan has red LED lighting for an added glow to the pad.
Two flip-up, padded stoppers at the bottom of the surface help keep your laptop in place even when you have the pad angled, thanks to the height adjustment system. Granted, that system is easily my least favorite part of this cooling pad.
Essentially, there’s a loose metal bar hanging from the main unit of the cooling pad, and you’ll slot that into one of six ridges on the bottom stand to prop it up. The system doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as having flip-out legs, and it’s loud and awkward in execution. It works and it provides finer-grain height adjustment levels, but it feels like a clunky solution for a tech accessory.
There are two buttons at the back of the pad: One button controls the large, central fan (4.72 inches), while the other controls the four smaller fans (2.76 inches each). I’m not sure why you would choose to use only some fans at any given time, since they’re all quiet, but the option is there if you want it. You’ll also find two USB-A ports, meaning this cooling pad functions as a hub for plugging additional accessories into your laptop.
The Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad doesn’t require any software or its own power unit to function. Simply place it under your laptop, adjust the height as desired, and then plug the built-in USB cable into your laptop to power it on. As mentioned, you can control the fans using the buttons at the back of the pad, and the USB ports can be used for additional accessories.
I tested the Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad with the Razer Blade 15 (2019), featuring an Intel Core i7-9750H processor with 16GB RAM, along with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6GB). It’s a solidly powerful gaming laptop, and I put it to the test with a couple of popular games as well as a graphics benchmark test.
I recorded the internal temperature using NZXT’s CAM app and the external temperature with a infrared thermometer, first with the laptop by itself. After it cooled down, I tested again with the cooling pad equipped the whole time.
In racing game Dirt 5’s built-in benchmark test, the Razer Blade put up an internal processor temperature of 184 degrees Fahrenheit and external temperature of 117 degrees, but peaked at 169 degrees internal and 107 degrees external with the Kootek pad equipped. The average frame rate was nearly identical between tests, with no significant difference from the use of the cooling pad.
Meanwhile, I saw a peak internal temperature of 196 degrees when playing Fortnite, along with an external temperature of 118 degrees. With the cooling pad equipped, I saw a slightly lower internal peak of 192 degrees, although it mostly hovered in the 160 to 170-degree range during testing. The external peak with the Kootek pad was 106 degrees. Curiously, I saw the exact same numbers with the Heaven graphics benchmark test with and without the cooling pad: 162 degrees internally and 109 degrees external.
All told, the Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad made a solid effort in lowering the temperature of the Razer Blade 15 while playing Dirt 5 and Fortnite, although the cheaper, dual-fan TopMate C302 cooling pad saw slightly better overall results. Your experience may vary depending on your laptop of choice, however. All the while, the Kootek pad stayed pretty quiet in stark contrast to the Razer Blade’s own very loud internal fans.
At $26 from Amazon, the Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad is a reasonably-priced option with solid performance and the ability to accommodate larger laptops. There are cheaper options out there, as well as some with additional features such as temperature sensors and additional fan controls, but Kootek’s device delivers good functionality for the price.
As mentioned above, the TopMate C302 is a lighter, simpler cooling pad option. It’s designed for laptops up to 15 inches in size and isn’t quite as thick or heavy, but it gets the job done with effective cooling and straightforward design. Kootek’s pad offers an additional USB port for accessories, though, and allows for more height variance than the TopMate’s basic pop-out feet.
We purchased the TopMate C302 Laptop Cooling Pad so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for their full product review.
Although the core functionality is typically the same, laptop cooling pads come in a variety of designs and with different features. Some are robust and durable and may pack in additional perks, while some stick to the absolute basics, aiming to win out on pure bang for buck.
The TopMate C302 is a strong example of the latter. It’s affordable and solidly effective, but the plastic design feels a bit flimsy. I wouldn’t bet on it lasting for the long haul without gentle handling, but given the price, you might not worry about it too much.
The C302 measures just over 14 inches wide and is designed for laptops with screens up to 15.6 inches diagonal. It’s primarily made of lightweight plastic, with a thin metal grate on the top above the two 4.9-inch fans to help dissipate heat.
The entire pad weighs only 1.1 pounds, but the downside to it being so lightweight is that it feels a bit flimsy and rickety. It’ll do just fine holding your laptop and sitting on a desk, but I wouldn’t bet on it surviving a hard fall without some damage.
It has two little flip-up stopper nubs at the bottom to hold your laptop in place, and they can be gradually adjusted to avoid having them stick up and press into your wrists while typing. Meanwhile, a pair of feet on the bottom of the pad flip out to elevate your laptop about an inch upward to improve air circulation.
A single cable comes from the back of the pad to plug into a USB-A port on your computer, and it has a pass-through so that you can plug in another accessory, so as to not sacrifice a port simply to use the cooling pad. That’s handy.
The C302 has a little bit of accent lighting via a pair of blue lights beneath each fan, but it doesn’t emanate a significant glow, nor is it customizable in any way.
The C302 is a purely plug-and-play accessory with no flashy perks or settings to deal with, nor any need for software on your computer. Simply place it under your laptop, adjust the feet and holding nubs as desired, and plug the USB port into your computer to power on the pad. The fans will then activate and run at the only available speed, and you can unplug it when you’re done or don’t need it anymore.
I tested the C302 using the Razer Blade 15 (2019) gaming laptop, which is equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor and 16GB RAM, as well as a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU (6GB).
Across two recent, popular games and a graphics-intensive benchmark test, I first tested the laptop on its own and recorded the internal processor temperature using the NZXT CAM app, as well as the external temperature of the laptop using an infrared thermometer. After allowing the laptop to cool down, I repeated the process with the cooling pad in use.
In Fortnite, the Razer Blade 15 recorded a peak internal temperature of 196 degrees Fahrenheit and 118 degrees externally, while the cooling pad dropped those numbers to 179 degrees internal and 115 degrees external.
In Dirt 5’s built-in benchmark test, the Razer Blade 15 hit 184 degrees internally and 117° externally, and those figures dropped to 175 degrees internally and 100 degrees externally with the cooling pad. There was no significant performance difference in the Dirt 5 benchmark when using the cooling pad: The average FPS mark was within one frame with or without the pad in use.
Lastly, UNIGINE’s Heaven Benchmark hit 162 degrees internally and 109 degrees externally on the Razer Blade 15 alone, and dropped to 154 degrees internally and 105 degrees externally when using the C302. All told, this lightweight and affordable pad delivered solid cooling power that helped cut down on both the internal and external temperature of the laptop while under significant stress.
Depending on test, the results were roughly comparable to or better than more expensive cooling pads, like the Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad and Thermaltake Massive TM, which have some added features onboard. It’s also pretty quiet in use—certainly quieter than the Razer Blade 15’s own internal fans.
At $30, this is one of the most affordable laptop cooling pads on the market right now. While results varied across multiple tests and games/apps, the C302 was pretty well in line with some of the pricier options I tested. It feels a little flimsy and doesn’t have any premium features, but the C302 is a very good entry-level option.
At $27, the Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad is a bit more robust. It gives you the ability to power the fans on and off—either the one large fan, or the group of four smaller fans around it—plus it runs a little quieter in use. The unit feels more durable overall, although the Kootek’s height adjustment system feels clunky, as you slide a hanging metal bar into plastic ridges to keep it upright. Kootek’s pad is larger and designed for laptops as large at 17 inches, but if you don’t need the extra size, the TopMate C302 gets the job done for less cash.
We purchased the Thermaltake Massive TM Laptop Cooling Pad so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for their full product review.
Thermaltake’s Massive TM Laptop Cooling Pad is a more robust option than most notebook cooling devices. While many of its rivals are simple plug-and-play accessories, some even without power buttons to control their use, this pricier option has multiple modifier buttons, an LED display, and even temperature sensors that monitor the warmth of your laptop.
There’s a lot going on here, plus it’s two to three times the price of some alternative options. Is it worth the extra cash, or are these just frills that ultimately don’t add much to the equation? I tested Thermaltake’s device with the Razer Blade 15 (2019) gaming laptop to find out.
The Massive TM has a distinctive look among notebook cooling pads, even if it functionally works much the same at its core. It’s mostly plastic, with a hearty core and durable build that looks like it can withstand wear and tear. Meanwhile, the brushed aluminum surface—which sits atop the dual 4.72-inch fans—has an attractive hexagonal pattern that’s more appealing than the simple grates of cheaper rivals like the TopMate C302 and Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad.
However, that’s not the only different thing about the surface your laptop sits on. It has four little nubs that stick up a couple millimeters with raised points at the top, and the nubs gently depress when your notebook is in place. These are the four temperature sensors that monitor the heat coming from your computer, and you can slide them left or right within the provided rail to best fit the size and shape of your laptop.
They also double as laptop holders for some devices, but I’m not sure if that’s intentional. Those aforementioned rival cooling pads have flip-up stoppers at the end that hold your laptop in position atop the pad, but the Massive TM has no such thing.
It’s a curious oversight, as the temperature sensors can’t hold your laptop in place as firmly as thick stoppers at the bottom. The Razer Blade 15 didn’t move around too much, but my MacBook Pro—which doesn’t have any fan openings on the bottom surface—slid around pretty easily.
The lack of stoppers was probably a design decision to accommodate the control panel at the bottom of the surface. There’s a power button, along with an auto/manual button, turbo fan button for increased airflow in manual mode, a lock button for ensuring you don’t accidentally change the cooling settings while in use, and a temperature button for manually switching between the four sensors. There’s also a button next to the screen that lets you swap between Fahrenheit and Celsius readings.
A pair of USB-A ports sits in the back of the pad, and you’ll use one of the ports to connect the Massive TM to your laptop using the included cable. The other port can be used for another accessory for your laptop, such as a wired mouse or USB storage.
The Massive TM simply relies on the USB connection to your computer for power, and there’s no software required to use it. All of the controls you need are right there on the pad. Note that there are optional back feet beneath the pad that not only pop out, but also have a secondary flip-out leg within for increasing the slant of your computer. The downside, however, is that your laptop may slide right off the cooling pad thanks to the lack of stoppers, as my MacBook Pro did when I fully extended the feet.
The Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop I used for testing has a 9th-gen Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB RAM alongside, plus an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU. Across two games and a benchmark test, I measured the internal temperature using NZXT’s CAM software and the external temperature with an infrared thermometer—first with the laptop by itself, and then again with the cooling pad equipped in auto mode once the laptop returned to room temperature.
The Massive TM showed the greatest improvement with the Heaven graphics benchmark test, dropping the temperatures from 162 degrees Fahrenheit internally and 109 degrees externally without the cooling pad to 145 degrees internally and 101 degrees externally. That’s a steeper drop than I measured when using the rival TopMate C302 and Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad during the same test.
That said, I didn’t see as much of a difference while playing Fortnite, where I measured a peak of 192 degrees internally and 118 degrees externally with the laptop alone, and 190 degrees internally and 106 degrees externally with the Massive TM equipped—although it mostly hovered in the 160 to 170-degree range. The TopMate C302 did a more consistent job of cooling the laptop's inside for that particular game.
Likewise, the Massive TM pad didn’t put up as great of numbers with the built-in benchmark test of Dirt 5—at least with the auto-cooling function enabled. The Razer Blade 15 hit an internal peak of 184 degrees and external peak of 117 degrees, dropping slightly to 175 degrees internally and 116 degrees external with the cooling pad running on auto mode. However, I ran a separate test with the manual mode and turbo fan enabled, and registered temperatures of 171 degrees internally and 111 degrees externally.
In other words, you should probably just use manual mode with the turbo boost to get the best results. The fans run a little bit louder in turbo mode, but not significantly so. In either auto or manual mode, with or without the turbo equipped, the Massive TM has an additional hum to it, almost like a slight rattle. The other cooling pads I tested were quieter overall.
At a list price of $60 for the version with temperature sensors, the Massive TM isn’t one of the cheaper options on the market. It does a good job of cooling a hot laptop when on the manual mode with the turbo boost equipped, but the lack of stoppers to hold your laptop in place is disappointing, and it runs louder than other cooling pads I’ve tested. You’re paying for the added perks of the screen, controls, and temperature sensors, but none of those translate into improved performance.
At $20, the TopMate C302 Laptop Cooling Pad is a strong budget-friendly option. It’s lightweight and feels flimsier than the Thermaltake Massive TM, and isn’t designed for larger, 17-inch laptops. However, if you have a smaller laptop and want something simple and straightforward that’ll blast cool air into your computer, it gets the job done for cheap.
We purchased the Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap With Battery and Carrying Case so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for their full product review.
There’s a lot to love about the Oculus Quest 2. The standalone, wireless headset is easily the best VR experience for the majority of buyers, packing in solid power, a great screen, and quality games at the fantastic price of $299. But there are a couple of downgrades from the original, pricier Oculus Quest model, and the flimsy strap is chief among them.
While certainly usable, the Quest 2’s included fabric strap isn’t particularly effective at keeping the headset firmly and comfortably positioned on your face. Luckily, Quest 2 owners have another option if they’re willing to spend extra cash: the official Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap.
Available on its own for $49 or with a battery pack and carrying case for $129, the Elite Strap is a major improvement and worthwhile pickup for anyone who doesn’t love the original fit. I tested the latter configuration with the integrated battery pack and included case.
While the standard Oculus Quest 2 strap is simply made up of fabric bands—one around the back of your head and the other over the top—the Elite Strap is mostly plastic and significantly more supportive. That’s because it helps offset the weight of the visor itself by using the back of your head to securely keep the entire headset in place, thus minimizing its ability to sag or feel heavy on your face.
The Elite Strap does this by having a soft plastic, oval-like brace at the back, which gently presses against the back of your head. It’s supported in part by a single fabric strap on the top, but more crucially by a locking mechanism on the back.
Unlike the PlayStation VR’s strap, for example, the Quest 2 Elite Strap’s fit wheel doesn’t lock into place and make you press a button to release it from your head when you want out. Instead, you can gradually adjust it until the headset feels snug but comfortable, and freely tighten or loosen it as needed. It stays put.
It’s a big upgrade over the normal Quest 2 strap. The original Quest had a simple plastic strap, but it was a step up from what Oculus shipped with the sequel. The Elite Strap represents an improvement upon both standard designs, and it’s one of the best VR headset straps around. It’s secure, easy to use, and comfortable, checking every box on the list.
This particular Elite Strap model has a battery pack built into the back part of the strap, within the plastic housing. It doesn’t feel heavy or noticeable, although there must be a weight difference between this version and the standalone, battery-less Elite Strap option.
Meanwhile, the included carrying case in this bundle is large enough to fit the entire headset with the Elite Strap, as well as the two Oculus Touch controllers and the charger. The large pill-shaped design is non-traditional for a gadget case, looking like light grey sweatpants and with a wool-like felt texture. The case can be a little awkward to unzip, but it’s functional and roomy enough to hold everything, even if it doesn’t look nearly as cool as what it holds.
Oculus built in a clever strap support system with the Quest 2 that lets you securely and seamlessly attach different kinds of straps. When you remove the standard strap, you’ll be left with these plastic “wings” on either side of the visor, and those snap right into the Elite Strap’s plastic bands to firmly attach it to the visor.
Once it’s secured, simply plug the USB-C cable on the side of the Elite Strap into the Quest 2 visor, as this adds power from the battery pack into your total supply. Now you’ll charge the entire headset via the USB-C port beneath the dial on the Elite Strap, which provides power to both the visor and strap batteries.
Comfort is one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Elite Strap, and a major reason anyone would consider paying $49 or more for a different strap. Some people might find the Oculus Quest 2’s strap to be perfectly fine, but in my own testing, it was just tolerable: The headset felt heavy and was never as securely fastened in place as I wanted it to be. It was a big step down from the original Quest’s solid, rubberized plastic strap.
The Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap fixes that issue for me, and I can’t imagine anyone will find it to be less comfortable than the standard strap. It’s a clever design that pulls inspiration from previous VR headsets to ably support the weight of the visor, while still allowing for subtle adjustments without needing to take the headset off your dome. It feels great in use, and more importantly, it helps take away some of the friction that bad straps can create, letting you sink further into the immersive illusion.
The Oculus Quest 2’s built-in battery lasts only about two hours, and the Elite Strap’s secondary 4,676mAh pack effectively doubles that tally. It adds roughly two more hours of use, meaning you’ll have the freedom to play for much longer sessions and/or charge the headset less often.
I haven’t personally had any issue with the Quest 2’s modest battery, as I rarely play VR for more than an hour at a time. However, as more immersive games are released, as people use VR for social interactions, and as you might spend more time watching idle content (like movies) in a virtual reality setting, that extra buffer could come in handy. The Quest 2 sips power from the Elite Strap’s battery first, and as previously mentioned, one USB-C plug charges the whole thing.
Granted, there are DIY options out there for boosting the Quest 2’s battery life, including plugging in a portable power bank and either sticking it into your pocket or otherwise affixing it to your body or headset. Depending on the size of the power bank, you could get significantly more uptime from that kind of solution and at a lower cost—but that’s more hassle and it’s a less elegant solution than the official option here.
After spending $299 on a VR headset, some might bristle at spending another $49 for a different strap—or $129 for that strap, double the battery life, and a case. However, if the Quest 2’s standard strap isn’t meeting your needs, then the Elite Strap is well worth the extra cash.
It eliminates one of the common pain points of the Quest 2 experience, letting you focus more on the VR experience rather than how you’re accessing it. The Quest 2 is already incredibly well-priced for a standalone VR console, and still feels like a great value even if you factor in another $49 for the Elite Strap.
Do you need the whole bundle with the battery pack and case, though? If you typically use the Quest 2 in short sessions and don’t mind plugging it in on a regular basis, then probably not. The battery can be a major benefit, particularly if you find yourself sticking around in VR for longer time spans, but that’s not always the case for users. The Elite Strap, in my view, provides the greatest enhancement within this bundle.
The case is nice to have, and given that the original official Oculus Quest case sold for $40 on its own, this bundle doesn’t feel overpriced by comparison. Buying the Oculus Quest 2 headset plus this bundle comes out to nearly the same price as buying the original Quest headset ($399) plus its carrying case back when, but now you get double the battery life along with the myriad enhancements of the core Quest 2 hardware.
There’s a number of third-party straps for the Quest 2 out there, no doubt encouraged by the severe supply shortage of the Elite Strap following its release. Orzero’s Adjustable Headband for Oculus Quest 2 (view at Amazon) is a well-reviewed alternative that’s a bit different in look, thanks to a much larger plastic shell on the back of your head, but it appears to work similarly to the official Elite Strap. It’s $10 cheaper than the official option, so it could be a good substitute or cheaper alternative. There is no version with a built-in battery pack, however.
Our reviewer already owned this product.
Back in 2019, I bought my very first gaming laptop, and I’ve been sold on the idea of a portable writing and gaming computer ever since. As much as I love my gaming laptops, both of my models, an Eluktronics and an MSI, both feel like they’re about to catch fire whenever I’m playing a heavy-hitting game like Division or Destiny 2.
A couple gaming sessions later, and I realized I needed a laptop cooling pad. After taking a look at various models, I decided to try out the HAVIT 5 Gaming Laptop Cooling Pad. It boasts five fans and an adjustable rollout switch to customize my cooling experience. And it offers anti-slip baffles so my curious cat can't knock it off my laptop. After over a year of use, I still use this almost every day for my gaming needs. Read on for our final verdict, as well as thoughts on its specs.
HAVIT offers this laptop cooling pad in two different colors: red and blue. I personally felt that the red would be too bright and opted for the blue; when I pulled it out of the box, I was surprised at how heavy its 1.8 pounds felt in my hand.
On top of the pad itself, it comes with a braided USB cord for protection. It could plug into one of two ports, of which I used the spare to add USB charging for USB compatible items like my Amazon Kindle and Java Bluetooth headset.
To me, the design seems a little clunky. It has smooth edges, but it’s clearly designed as a gamer’s edgy laptop cooling pad with seemingly unnecessary grooves that serve only to hold dust. If you’re looking for a simple design, this is not your cooling pad. That being said, the metal mesh pad for air circulation can accommodate laptops ranging from 14 to 17 inches thanks to its 15.87 x 11.81 x 1.34 inches (LWH) in dimension.
I set up the cooling pad and flipped on the roller switch. HAVIT promises five quiet fans—one 110-millimeter fan, and four other strategically placed 85-millimeter fans. HAVIT holds true to its promise: This cooling pad emits a fairly faint sound I can’t hear through my Samsung Buds headphones, even with their noise cancelling features. The fans are so quiet that if I was gaming, I wasn’t able to hear them.
Better yet, I could adjust the fans to customize how much air I wanted to circulate due to the roller switch HAVIT put as the on/off switch. If I wasn’t sure about how much power I was putting into the fans, I could simply lift my laptop up from the pad; as I turned up the power, the blue LED lights in the cooling pad grew brighter.
Before getting this cooling pad, my Eluktronics laptop sounded like an airplane was taking off and landing at my desk space. I wish I could say that this changed after implementing the pad into my gaming rig, or even with my MSI laptop. Unfortunately, my laptops’ fans still sound like I’m on the tarmac instead of being at home.
That’s not to say that this laptop cooling pad doesn’t help cool it down. Since my Eluktronics is getting some much-needed TLC in the shop, I tested the MSI’s internal temps while running Tropico Six on my laptop. Without the laptop cooling pad, I was running around 187 degrees Fahrenheit. With the cooling pad, it adjusted to around 169 degrees. It’s not much, but it’s enough to make a difference.
If you feel the laptop needs more circulation, the good news is that HAVIT also anticipated these needs, too. Anti-slip baffles offer a sturdy position on any desk, even if you push up the height to a more angled position.
There is a sturdy flap should you prefer the angled laptop pad, or if you prefer, a sturdier laptop placement while flat. I tested out the height adjustment for a little while, but ultimately decided against using them for personal preference instead of durability reasons.
And, if you’re on-the-go and travelling, the HAVIT 5 also packs quite nicely into a suitcase. Be sure to play it safe like I did and pack it around clothes. But if you need to go across country and want to take your gaming laptop with you, this is a good one that will hold up well in luggage.
I picked up my HAVIT 5 while it was on sale for around $30 back in 2019, but the usual price is around $50. That seems a little steep, especially for fans that don’t necessarily pack the punch for gaming that most laptops require. If you keep an eye on Amazon, you can usually get this one for around $30, as it seems to go on sale fairly often.
It makes sense to compare the Kootak Laptop Cooling Pad to the HAVIT. Both have five cooling fans, both fit laptops up to 17 inches, and both offer anti-slip baffles to ensure your laptop is safe if you want to adjust the height for more air circulation or wrist angle preferences. The key differences are design and adjustability.
While the HAVIT is clearly a gaming laptop cooling pad, the Kootak features smooth edges and has a more universal aesthetic to its design. The Kootak is also cheaper, at around $37. If you prefer a true gaming cooling pad, go with the HAVIT. If you don’t care about aesthetics and prefer to be cost conscious, the Kootak will be better suited to your needs.