LapLogic Aerogel Extreme LapDesks Reviewed

As laptops get faster and better specified, so the potential threat to your lap increases; the market for heat-dissipating mats has increased massively over the past few years. Unlike foam-filled pads or risers bristling with fans, though, LapLogic sandwich a layer of Aerogel – the best thermal insulator known to man, and capable of a 99.9-percent reduction in heat transfer – between non-slip fabric. The company sent SlashGear their G800 Aerogel Extreme LapDesk and its W800 Aerogel Extreme Wide cousin, the latter having an extra mousing area, and we slapped a toasty-warm MacBook Pro down to see just how singed our geeky thighs could get.

Aerogel was developed by Aspen and used on the Mars Rover and StarDust interplanetary probe. A low-density solid-state material, it's created from a gel in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with gas. The result is a very successful insulator. LapLogic then add standoffs to increase the air-gap to 0.5-inch, transparent pockets for CDs, DVDs or business cards, and – in the case of the W800 – a ScotchGuard-coated ballistic nylon mouse pad. The G800 measures 11 x 16 x 1-inches and weighs 16oz; the W800 at measures 11 x 20 x 1-inches and weighs 26oz.

Anyone with a MacBook Pro – even the newer, cooler Penryn versions – knows that after extended use they can get particularly hot on the underside, to the point where using one on a lap can be uncomfortable. It seemed the ideal opportunity to test out the LapLogic pads, and we came away particularly impressed. Even with the MacBook running processor-intensive tasks over a long period, we felt no heat change through either LapDesk. Touching the bare base of the laptop showed that it was hot enough that using it on our legs would have been an impossibility.

Quality of both LapDesks is very good with well-finished seams, and we would have no qualms about stashing it in our bag. The extra mouse space on the W800 is an obvious choice for anyone not keen on their machine's trackpad, though the more compact G800 would be easier to transport. As for the non-slip coating, it successfully gripped both thighs and notebook despite using it at various angles. In fact our only mild concern would be the effect of temperature on the laptop itself; unlike normal pads, which do transfer some of the heat away from the machine, the Aerogel pair leave this to the air gap formed by the risers. Still, this is arguably better than you would see using a MacBook on a desk.

Compared to a basic foam pad, the LapLogic pads are obviously more expensive: $69.95 for the G800 and $79.95 for the W800. Their performance, however, recommends them despite the cost. If you regularly use a laptop away from your desk, you owe it to your knees to test the LapLogic Aerogel LapDesks out.

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[rating: 3.5]