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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 29 January 2014
I bought the Zalman ZM-NC3 and Targus Lap Chill Mat for Christmas. I gave the Targus to my girlfriend, and kept this one for myself.

We use the laptops in bed and on a duvet, for computer games, email etc. Sometimes the laptops got hot, especially on computer games - and possibly even affecting graphics performance if they overheat etc.

We've now used them for a month, and both are good. However, the Zalman is a more "closed-box" design, with the fan underneath. This doesn't work so well on duvets etc, as the fan gets blocked, and that makes it louder as it works harder. Even when lifted up, it still makes a whirring noise. However, it works and does keep the laptop cooler and my lap doesn't get hot anymore!

Comparing that to my girlfriend's Targus - hers is definitely better (and she won't swap). The Targus is an interesting, simple-looking "open-sided" design so air can get through the fans even on a duvet. Its also quieter (2 fans vs 1?). She was really pleased with the Targus, her laptop doesn't over-heat, its comfortable and she thinks the cooling has helped her graphics perform better.

So, I would be happy with the Zalman - but even happier with the Targus.
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on 19 March 2013
Got the Zalman laptop cooler today, and was very excited especially since the expected delivery date was several weeks away! I had hummed and haahed about whether to buy directly from Amazon as it suggested a wait time of 1-2 months, so I am very happy that I did go with it. I had done a lot of research into laptop coolers, and this one seemed popular and well made, and at £12.50, a good option pricewise.

Huge box, but cooler inside is a normal size. It fits my Toshiba Satellite Pro well (17.3 " screen), although there is a slight overhang, this does not affect the cooling in the slightest.

I didn't find the usb cable a pain at all as I have a couple of sockets that can be used and the usb cable includes a socket of its own (so that you do not lose a socket effectively). The profile of the socket is a little larger than normal as a result, but should not cause you problems. The usb cable is located at the back of the unit in the middle, and so reaches either side of the laptop very easily.

This is a nice sturdy, attractive piece of equipment, the whole top surface is a metal mesh, so the fan air distribution is good all over. When on, it feels quite pleasantly cool. It is fairly quiet also (just a gentle whirr) and when you have anything with volume on your laptop, then you absolutely cannot hear the fan going at all. In fact, it is quite a lot quieter than the inbuilt laptop fan!

As for cooling, before I got this my laptop overheated very regularly whilst playing certain games. However much I underclocked the laptop, or hoisted it up to improve ventilation, the thermal indicator would run between 92C - 97C, and would often suddenly shut down when it exceeded that. I would have to resort to fanning the air vent every few minutes to keep it going, which was hugely annoying.

Not anymore. Today running tests with the clock at full overclocking glory, the maximum temperature was 82C. For comparison, when on normal and not playing power hungry games, my computer runs around 67C. Now it is between 54C and 55C.

I think that 1 large fan is definitely the way to go, and although there are newer models out there with a 22" fan as opposed to a 20" fan which this one is, I don't imagine there's so much difference to warrant the price hike. Steer clear of the cheap plastic coolers, especially the clear ones(often with flourescent blue lighting), the last one I bought came in 2 pieces and the cardboard box it came in was thicker than it was!

I am very impressed with the Zalman ZM-NC3 and hopefully this will keep up the good work in the future.

UPDATE - It's now 21/05/2014 and the cooler is still doing its thing and keeping my laptop alive. Just a thought, I have my cooler (and laptop on top of it) on a plastic tray affair, so it doesn't come into contact with the duvet. I have tried it on the duvet directly, but I think it would compromise the efficiency. I am certain that without this cooler, my laptop would now be in laptop heaven.

UPDATE - 19/04/2017 - Finally my cooler died. Not sure if it's just that the wire has come loose from the usb connector. I think that 4 years worth of service has been quite reasonable, but now I need to either see if I can fix it, or bow to the probably inevitable and get a new one.

UPDATE - 21/04/2017 - Rather surprisiingly I have a further update. It turns out that the connection to the usb connector was loose. After watching some youtube videos I was able to remove the loose connection and resolder the offending area. I didn't have my own soldering iron, but a friend did, and the job was surprisingly straightforward. So the upshot is that my fan is back from the dead!
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on 10 March 2017
Several thing are wrong with this pad.
First of all I've received either faulty piece - it's rattling like a hamster in a too small a cage - or it's the hallmark of the line. On it's own it's great - nice and quiet, but place any laptop on it and it's instantly going like a rough diesel. As far as I can tell the vibrations from both laptop and the pad somehow produce a harmonic wave and it's waaaay past noisy.

But aside from that there are a few more downsides: the USB plug that powers the pad is actually a pass-through - that is you can plug it in your laptop and then plug another device into it and it will work. That is actually a great idea and one and only feature that I really like. Like, really, really REALLY like. But the cable that's going to the pad from the USB plug is actually on the SIDE of the plug. That means that if the ports are arranged neatly in one spot in a laptop - as is the case with most laptops nowadays - you will block any port that's next to the USB port it's plugged into. In my case it's either HDMI or DVD, depending which side I've chosen (or another USB port, obviously). It's a problem even with low profile dongle from my wireless mouse, which is one of the smallest I've seen.
Next is the idea that hard plastic stoppers mounted on top of the metal (thus rather sturdy compared to Targus AWE55U pad I had, thus very good indeed, too), screwed actually, will prevent your laptop from sliding. Well, not really.
The USB power cable itself is nice and long, but it's drooping quite a lot, interfering with other cables, as the grooves that should hold it do not. I'm as wireless as I can be, but you all know that there will be cables there... One more doesn't help. Targus also had better solution to that.
Last bit is that nice, smooth hard plastic underneath. Which slides a lot, especially when you have something between your bare legs and the pad, if you're not at your desk. And admit - how often you do have nothing between your bare legs and a cooling pad?
So to recap...
- sturdy plastic and metal
- low profile (that is: it's not high... or thick... or something)
- USB plug is a pass-through design
- USB plug blocks port next to the USB it's connected to
- it's loud like an old John Deere tractor (at least mine is)
- laptop slides off it quite easily
- long cable that doesn't stay in the grooves
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There seems to be a major issue of product review cross-overs, so it's probably best for me to state that I purchased the Zalman ZM-NC3 Ultra Quiet Cooler for Up to 17 inch Laptop.

I have a fairly old 17" laptop which I'll rest on my lap. It's not too long before I have to place it onto of a pillow due to the heat starts almost burning my legs, but even then my laptop produces enough heat for it to go through the pillow! I spent ages sieving through various laptop cooling pad and came across this one.

Well, it's been a delight! My 17" laptop fits on top just fine and the USB cable that has to be plugged into the laptop technically doesn't use up one port as you can plug a USB device into the other end of it.

Once plugged in, the fan will start up when your laptop gets powered on. The fan's noise is at the very minimum and does a great job in preventing not only my laptop from overheating, but my legs too.

Since purchasing this cooling pad, it has allowed me to prolong my usage on the laptop without me feeling uncomfortable. For the price too, who can argue!?

Would highly recommend.
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Best gift I've ever bought for myself. I have a 15.6" laptop and it sits perfectly on this. My laptop over-heats like nobody's business and when used for gaming it gets so hot it's not possible to touch the underside for more than seconds.

This fan though is so brilliant and has cooled everything down to the stage that there's not even the slightest bit of warmth to be felt anywhere on my laptop. It's my first cooling fan and I'm so thrilled with it. I looked at other fans before deciding on this one. Most others had a little vent in the top above the fan and the rest of the unit had a solid surface, this one though has an all mesh top surface which means the airflow is all over the underside of my laptop and not just at the point where the fan sits. This is handy if your laptop heats up off-center (as mine does).

It's angled slightly which makes it better for sitting on your lap and the little rubber 'feet' on the underside of my laptop seem to stick no problem to the fan mesh. There's no slippage at all when moving about and it all feels very secure.

It's actually a lot quieter when running than the actual fan on my laptop when it runs so that's a bonus too.

I just love it and would recommend it to anyone with an over-heating laptop. Wish I'd got one sooner.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 April 2013
I bought his for my wifes laptop that was getting very hot underneath and it works really well and is very quiet.
My wife also says it's great, so if she said that then it must be great...it's not often women are happy with what men buy them.
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on 3 November 2013
One of those Ronseal products - it does exactly what it says on the tin. It is very quiet and has kept my laptop cool. The usb connector even has another USB socket which I didn't expect. Overall, very happy.
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on 18 August 2014
works great as discribed
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on 22 February 2013
I bought this product on brand recognition as I had heard good things about Zalman cooling products.

The Laptop I am using this on currently is a Dell Vostro 1700 Laptop (17") and it fits on top very well.

The cooler is very quiet (not the quietest I have ever heard, but close, and far far quieter than when any Laptop fan spins / speeds up.

Edit: During the Heat Wave in the Summer (room around 30c) I choose to switch to my enormous (near £90 imported from France) Antec Gaming Cooler for .H264 encoding.
This was because the heavy CPU usage for prolonged periods caused the Laptop fans to spin up and the Laptop got quite warm.
This was never a problem, but as I had the Gaming Cooler thought I would use it.

So for Encoding or Gaming in a heat wave there are better coolers out there.

My Mum also bought one as well for her new 15.6" Samsung Core i5 Laptop.

1. Very quiet.
2. Supports the Laptop well.
3. Does a good job at keeping the Laptop cool.

1. The USB pass through cable has the lead coming out of the side of the plug. Where this lead is positioned smaller laptops with side by side USB ports, will likely have either a port blocked by the lead, or the CD-DVD drive inaccessible as it gets in the way.
(Solution use a USB extension cable, I had a small one I got with a flash stick.)

2. The position of the rubber feet on the cooler's surface.
For smaller Laptops 15.6 inch and below they are not ideally placed, though have not tried to move these as they are screwed in, so maybe they can be moved.
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on 26 November 2013
I bought this to replace a worn out Logitech N100 and in my opinion, this isn't as good. It's not the quietest of coolers, despite having a large, slower moving fan and the noise either increases or decreases depending on the surface it is placed upon.

The plastic grill on the underside directly below the fan is quite flexible and can hit it if accidentally nudged for example, when using it perched on your lap. Due to the 'dished' design on the underside of the cooler and the position of the air intakes, it isn't very effective when used on a softer surface e.g. a cushion or duvet. I find the solution is to place a magazine underneath the cooler, which is a bit of a faff.

The size is good. It fits my 15.6in screen laptop perfectly and the rubberised mounts are quite useful. Whilst the combined USB fan connector / slot is handy in theory, for some reason my memory sticks don't like it and won't work.

The cooler seems quite well built and time will tell how long the fan unit will last.

In summary, a reasonable laptop cooler, especially for the price I paid (around £12) but if buying again, I'd go for one with a completely flat underside and air vents on the forward edge.
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