Review : Lian Li NC-09 Notebook Cooling Pad
A really sleek and cool (literally!) Cooling pad.
The NC-09 is the latest in a series of cooling pad unveiled by this Taiwanese manufacturing giant. Lian Li is into manufacturing of Aluminum Chassis and Chassis peripherals, so it is not surprising that the NC-09 comes from them. This notebook cooling pad is meant for laptops of sizes ranging from 12” to 17”. It’s made of light-weight aluminum structure, a pretty big fan with a neon blue-ish radiant when in operation. Meant for high-end laptops, the NC-09 cooler can serve a 17 inch notebook easily, and comes for about $70.
The NC-09 comes to you in a slightly bigger rectangular blue paper cover. Though the paper quality is good, but it won’t sustain much rough usage. One good thing is the plastic handle that is provided to carry the unit like a suitcase. But then again, once you use the packet a few times, the area around the handle will give way. Although looking at the way it has been handled while delivering, it is not surprising even for a very tough unit to lend in a bad state. One thing for sure – if you can take care of the paper case, it provides great mobility to the whole unit.
Once you open the case, you will meet the sleek grey aluminum unit properly encased in two sponge pieces on both the sides that work as a great shock-absorber. The unit and the USB cables are packed in polythin. Overall the packaging looks very compact.
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The first thing you’ll notice when you unpack the NC-09 is its awesome sleekness and sophisticated look. The unit looks more expensive than it is. The body of the cooler is anodized in black and silver with aluminum, and gives an elegant brushed metal look. It is more rectangular than square with a dimension of about 15.7” x 13.3” x 1.3”. This makes sense because some people might not have enough lap-space to hold such a form-factor. The front side tappers towards the body where your hands will be placed – not to put unnecessary pressure on the wrists. On the right corner of the front side Lian Li is presented in bold silver font.
Towards the center, there is a large steel mesh directly under which the huge 220 mm 5V silent DC fan is located, which glows with blue color when in operation. The cooler is provided with two USB ports and a single mini USB (to connect to cell phones chargers) on the right with the power button. The power-button pressed once to run the power, and pressed again to stop it. The ventilators are present on both the sides. On the back side present are two adjustable knob, with the help of which the unit can be adjusted at three levels of height, depending on your comfortability. The same steel mesh is present towards the bottom also. My only concern is rusting of the steel material, because as you drag your laptops over it, there may be a scratch which will expose the base steel and materials like steel has a nasty habit of a start rusting once the base steel comes in contact with the corrosive atmosphere.
Overall the built quality looks good and durable, although the unit is touch heavier. Also the metal surface will attract dirt and fingerprints (You can even see it on the picture above!).
The fan is the main and probably the only moving part in the whole unit. Yes, a cooling pad is all about the fan – and the NC-09 takes good care of its fan. It is made of tough plastic with matte finish encased in a plastic wheel that is attached by screws to the steel mesh on both side – top and bottom. A wire connecting the fan and the power button is visible. There are in total 11 blades, which moves at a very good speed and with such low resistance that once I switched off the power – it took almost 8 seconds for the fan to come to standstill. As far as making sound is concerned – when the notebook is placed, the sound of the fan moving is absolutely blocked so that you work in total silence. When the notebook is not there, you will of course hear a little sound (not irritating though) through the steel mesh. The large steel mesh allows extra air-flow under the notebook.
The coolest part here is that the cooler draws its power via the USB port so that there is no requirement of batteries or power adapters. The USB cable provided along with in connected on one end to the cooling unit and the other end to the notebook USB port, from which the unit will draw power. I kept the NC-09 on my bed running overnight with my 14” Thinkpad on it, and found out it’s pretty evenly cooled out i.e., no particularly hot spots on the laptop – which in itself is an indication that the pad is cooling the system uniformly.
My Thinkpad T400 CPU runs up to 61°C (Everest Ultimate reading) when run full-loaded for one hour, and the NC-09 could bring it down to 54°C. Now mind you the T400 has a very good cooling system of its own. So you can be sure the NC-09 will give you quite a relief, added by the fact that it is also comfortable to keep (with the laptop on it) on your lap during those long e-mails and browsings and doesnot keep slanting down.
If you use your laptop on your lap or bed more often – the NC-09 should be an important accessory. Even if you keep your notebook on the table but work long hours, NC-09 can help you keep the unit cool. It is very useful particularly in cases where your old laptop is robbed off its four tiny little feet.
From looks point of view, it is probably one of the best-looking aluminum cooling pads in the market today. The sleek and brush-metal look makes it a perfect companion of the high-end stylish notebooks.
It is little on the heavier side so you will think again before carrying it to the small picnic party, but not too heavy to sacrifice its services.
So here we have in our hands a cooling unit that doesnot only cools your laptop, but also enhances its looks.
Build Quality 6/10
Value for money 6/10