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ATPM 7.08
August 2001





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Review: Podium CoolPad

by Christopher Turner,


Developer: Road Tools, LLC. (product page)

Price: $29.95

Requirements: any notebook computer, preferably a PowerBook or iBook!

Trial: None

When Road Tools first released its flagship product, the CoolPad, I knew I had to have one for my tangerine dream iBook/300. So I shelled out my twenty bucks and received one via the USPS a few days later from Jim and the gang. It proved to be a case of complete product satisfaction, and I heartily began recommending the addition of a CoolPad to all of my friends’ mobile computing bag o’ tricks.

The CoolPad helps to increase the air space under your laptop to allow better heat dissipation. After all, you bought a laptop, not a lap-warmer, right? It accomplishes this dissipation by tilting the laptop slightly, allowing for more airflow beneath the system.

Now they have stepped me up to a Titanium PowerBook G4 at work, and while it works just fine on the CoolPad, I decided that I wanted to give Road Tools’ newest offering a chance. Within days, the Podium CoolPad arrived…


Road Tools’ Podium CoolPad

Love At First Sight

The first thing I noticed about the Podium CoolPad when I pulled it out of its box was that it is wider than its predecessor. This is quite obviously a prerequisite for use with the Titanium PowerBook. The two were a perfect fit. The second thing I noticed about the Podium CoolPad was that, unlike its older sibling, I could actually work with it on my lap. The original CoolPad was too small to function as a lap buffer between my thighs and the PowerBook, but the beefier Podium fit the bill.

I brought the Podium in to work the next day and set up the TiBook on top of it next to my G4 tower. I frequently multitask between the two machines, so my co-workers are used to seeing this setup. They were unprepared, however, to see that the TiBook was now tilted and could swivel, cutting glare if need be and making it easier to rotate for multiple viewers crowded around. Words like “Cool!” and “Awesome!” were the norm.


Podium CoolPad Next to Little Brother

Besides the physical size, what differentiates the Podium CoolPad from the original are the use of stackable risers that let you adjust the notebook’s keyboard incline by half-inch increments. The original CoolPad has fixed risers that only elevate your PowerBook slightly. With the Podium’s stackable risers, however, you can decide which height works best for you.


The Podium’s Lego-like Risers

Living Up To Its Name

The Podium CoolPad really lives up to its name. With the multiple stackable risers, a user can constantly adjust the height of the PowerBook on the Podium to the best height for either that user alone, or for multiple viewers, such as when conducting a presentation. The Podium CoolPad allows you to work within pretty much any situation, rather than you having to work around the situation.


The “cool” part of the name comes into play with the heat dissipation that the Podium CoolPad does so well. With the stackable risers, one can increase the amount of space beneath the PowerBook to maximize airflow. Of course, this is also dependent upon the ergonomic level the user is comfortable with.

Since I began using the Podium CoolPad, I have noticed that my Titanium PowerBook runs much cooler. The only time the internal fan has kicked on was once while I was watching a DVD movie, for about five minutes. That’s been it. By contrast, for the week I was using the TiBook before the Podium CoolPad arrived, the fan would kick on at least once a day during normal use of word processing, e-mail, Web browsing, and light graphics work. The fan did run for well over twenty minutes without the Podium while watching Ronin on DVD.


Chris’s Titanium PowerBook G4 rests on the Podium CoolPad

Buy It—Buy It Now

I think the heading makes my recommendation pretty clear. The Podium CoolPad is a versatile weapon in your mobile computing arsenal. It allows greater heat dissipation and range of ergonomics than its predecessor through the versatility of the stackable risers. The $29.95 (plus shipping) is money well spent.

My Podium CoolPad goes everywhere with me. It’s no big deal to quickly stack all of the risers together, Lego-style, and slip the whole thing into my Spire backpack, Brenthaven bag, or TiBag (review upcoming). Having used the Podium CoolPad constantly now for well over a month, I find it indispensable, and I clearly miss it when it is unavailable, such as when I have to dash off to a meeting and bring the TiBook, but forget the Podium. Use one for a bit and I believe you will find it indispensable, too.

Reader Comments (11)

Jim MacNeal · August 9, 2001 - 08:39 EST #1
Sounds like a worthy investment with a TiBook, but how about with the iceBook? Will the smaller road machine fit the new Podium CoolPad? My iceBook also radiates quite a bit of heat underneath.
Jim MacEachern · August 14, 2001 - 06:26 EST #2
To Jim MacNeal: Yes, the Podium fits the IceBook. If you go to you'll see an IceBook on a white Podium Coolpad. Thanks for asking,
Kevin Hnatiuk · August 17, 2001 - 11:24 EST #3
How does it feel typing for prolonged periods? Isn't the angle of the CoolPad, in effect, tilting against the angle that you're supposed to be typing at? Looks like a great investment, I just want to be sure I'm keeping the carpal t-s demons at bay. :-) Kevin
Jim MacEachern · August 17, 2001 - 11:34 EST #4
Many people just turn the Podium CoolPad 180 degrees so they have a negative keyboard tilt. Then just adjust the height to suit you. You can see a picture of this at http://roadtools/podium.html Jim
Tony · August 17, 2001 - 12:38 EST #5
I have the original CoolPad, and it is a nice little piece of equipment. My only qualm is that, no matter how I position the PowerBook (Pismo) on the CoolPad, typing creates slight, but noticeable (and, to me, annoying), movement. I'd be interested in buying the Podium model if I knew that it is more stable than the original. I do a lot of typing, and I like my keyboard to be rock-solid and free of any movement.
Don Nelson · August 17, 2001 - 15:50 EST #6
I've been using a CoolPad with my TiBook for a couple of months, now, and I can't imagine being without it. Not only does it help with cooling, but it also is nice to be able to rotate the machine.
Cesco · August 17, 2001 - 17:31 EST #7
Presently have a Podium under my iBook 366. Jim and the gang at RoadTools have a winner here and I sincerly believe that it'll extend the life of the iBook due to better airflow underneath. Thanks Jim!
ScienceMan · August 17, 2001 - 18:55 EST #8
I use one of the newer, larger CoolPads at the office and take the smaller original one along with me when I travel. The tilt angle is not a problem and, with a wrist rest placed just in front of the notebook (a G3 Pismo in my case), I get extended wrist support and a comfortable angle for my office setup. The portable one has a lower angle anyway, so this is not a problem. The little rubber feet really hang on to the laptop on the airplane tray etc. and help to avoid slipping. I really recommend this product and have had no further problems with the nascent carpal tunnel that I was beginning to experience before using this setup, which is much more comfortable.
Rick R · August 17, 2001 - 22:19 EST #9
The real value is their Bundle pack. You get both the Podium and the original CoolPad for just $39.95. I keep the CoolPad in my iBrief and the Podium at home. Both are great. Both work with the TiBook and the IceBook. A great value that will definite add life to you Mac portable and save wear and tear on your wrists.
Kelli Carver · October 1, 2008 - 14:15 EST #10
I have a macBook Pro and I use it mostly on my lap. I gets very hot on the bottom. Is this something that will work well on my lap or sitting on a pillow on my lap??
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 1, 2008 - 17:12 EST #11
Kelli - I use this product on my lap while sitting on the sofa all the time. A pillow on your lap would be fine too, as long as it wasn't so soft as to mush up either side of the laptop and close off the air circulation.

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