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This review is part of the 1 Pound Challenge - can you find a decent gadget in a pound shop?

Whereas most of the pound products that I’ve so far reviewed are compact, small gadgets, this one is very much larger. Coming in a cardboard box, the USB Notebook Cooler looks very nice. It’s a clear perspex stand, standing taller at the back than the front (30mm, compared to 10mm). At 250mm x 170mm, it’s not enormous, however. Foam pads sit in each corner of the top and and on the bottom of each “leg”. In the middle is a smallish fan, from which comes a 40cm USB cable.

The idea is that you place your laptop on top of the stand, which puts it a good angle for typing, plug in the USB connector and the fan blows cooling air underneath, lowering your laptop’s temperature. To top it off, there’s a blue light at the side of the fan which illuminates the underneath with a glow.

Sound good?

Well, the stand is actually really nice and a good quality. The fan, on the other hand, is a little noisy for its size and yet doesn’t seem to push too much air upwards.

Bear in mind that your laptop will only really benefit if you have air intakes on the underside of your laptop. Mine does, so I set about checking the temperature. I took measurements of both the CPU and hard drive beforehand. I had no applications running so it wasn’t being pushed – as a result the CPU was only running at about 48 degrees.

I then placed my laptop onto the stand but without the fan running – this would test whether lifting the laptop up off the surface of the table offered any benefit. The temperatures didn’t change, so I connected the fan and left it for about 15 minutes. The result… no change. The fan had made no difference in the laptop’s temperature.

I was using my 11″ Lenovo laptop, but also tried a larger 15″ Samsung on it. With the larger device on it you have to be careful with positioning, otherwise it tips easily. This is a shame as it may mean that you cannot position the fan directly below the appropriate position.

Lastly, I wasn’t keen on the blue light. A way of switching this off would have been nice because otherwise it’s just drawing more power from my laptop – maybe not having the light might have meant the fan ran quicker?

The Signalex USB Notebook Cooler is available from Poundland.

[review]A mixed bag. It looks nice and seems to be of reasonable quality but the fan just doesn’t seem to be strong enough to make a difference to the laptop temperatures. [/review]