As someone who has used laptops as my primary computer in more than a decade, it would be accurate to say that I’m quite the heavy laptop user. It also didn’t take long for me to figure out that laptops tend to get quite toasty during extended use. Whether it be my Sony VAIO, my Dell or my Hewlett-Packard laptop, all made me worry that I might be slowly killing my chances to have little Jason Hidalgos in the future every time I put the devices on my lap.
Which brings us to the NZXT Cryo LX cooler for laptops. With a nice aluminum finish, three cooling fans, and a large area that supports even the largest laptops, this cooler looks like a bona fide beast. But how well does it work? Let’s give it a through look-see, shall we?
It cools: The NZXT Cryo kept my 17-inch laptop nice and cool even after I had it plugged for a whole day. Even with three fans, the cooler was relatively quiet when cranked up to the highest fan setting. It’s definitely quieter than the fan I had in an older power laptop that I also own. That sucker made it sound like a Boeing 747 was about ready to take off from my room. The fact that the fan speed is adjustable is also a nice plus.
It’s a looker: The aluminum finish actually looks quite nice. The company offers two options colorwise: silver or black. Admittedly, it’s not completely made of aluminum — it also has plastic accents built in — but the design is still nice overall. The finish also appears to work well with laptops that have rubberized bottoms, which grip quite nicely on the cooler’s surface.
Handles big latops: The NZXT Cryo is big enough to handle even the largest laptops in the market. That’s good news for people such as myself who tend to prefer using bigger laptops. Now if you’re using a piddly little netbook, it’ll probably look like it’s swimming on this thing. But for folks who own a laptop that’s 15 inches or bigger, the size is just right.
USB station: The NZXT Cryo comes with a generous number of USB slots, allowing you to use the device as a USB station. I plugged three 1TB external hard drives to the cooler’s USB ports several times and they all worked fine. If you’re a power user who has a lot of USB-compatible gadgets, the extra slots are certainly quite convenient.
Power options: The cooler comes with an adapter for powering the fans through a wall outlet. Otherwise, it also comes with a connector that allows you to power the device via one of your laptop’s USB ports. Keep in mind that powering the device through your laptop could potentially limit what or how many devices you can plug on the cooler when using it as a USB station. Still, it’s a nice option to have.
Some design drawbacks: The use of aluminum is nice and all. But combine that with the NZXT’s sharp corners and you can end up scratching desk surfaces — or an arm — if you’re not careful. The sharp edges and overall bulk of this cooler also make it not conducive for placing on your lap unless you’re a glutton for punishment. The front edge also dangles when carried so be careful not to get your fingers pinched.
Build issues: A couple of times, I noticed a faint clacking sound emanating from the the fan area (not sure if it’s one or two fans). It has since stopped but it makes me wonder how long the fans will stay quiet following several months of extended use. The rear USB connectors also look cheap, which is a shame given how nice the aluminum on the cooler looks.
Not as portable: The size and bulk of the NZXT Cryo hampers the portability of the device. The stability and heft is great when using the device at home. But toting it with you outside the house can be an issue.
Short adapter cord: The cord for the cooler’s power adapter is a bit short. This limits the positioning of the device unless you have an extension cord or power it via your laptop.
Cut corners: The cooler does not have a power button, so you have to unplug it to turn it off. Instructions are also minimal. This shouldn’t be a problem for geeks but unless grandpa or grandma have engineering degrees or are tech savvy, you’ll want to give them a little help on how to use the device and which cord plugs where.
The NZXT Cryo, which costs between $60 to $80 depending on the retailer, is a solid laptop cooler that looks nice and works well. It’s large enough to support even the biggest and heftiest laptops. But its size also makes it less portable. It’s also not conducive for lap use. Despite its cons, the device’s pluses — which include the ability to use it as a USB station and power it with your laptop — outweigh its drawbacks. Give it a look if you’re looking for a cooler, especially for a large power laptop.
Final rating: 3.5 stars