Available in five sizes to fit various width
The heat generated by my Fujitsu 2110 laptop is one of the few negatives that
counterbalances its otherwise positive points. When it’s sitting on my lap, I
get "hot leg"; when used at a desk, it can turn wood into an effective heat
conductor. I have learned the hard way to utilize aftermarket methods for keeping
my laptop cool because I have witnessed unwarranted freeze-ups that could not be
resolved without re-booting, and I am convinced that they were the result of an
overheated laptop trying to save itself. The small size of my laptop was one of
its biggest selling points when I bought it, but one of the consequences of its
compact design is a very lame
fanless ventilation system. Without the help of an aftermarket laptop cooling
product, I am afraid that if I were to leave it running
for an extended period of time while sitting flat upon a desk, then I would
eventually witness a hard drive melt-down. For that reason, I am always
interested when I see a product that says it can make my laptop run cooler.
Not long ago, I received an email from Mary Lam with
Rain Design, asking if I
would like to try their new
iLap Laptop Stand. She mentioned that it was a bit different than some of
the other laptop stands I have reviewed in the past, because not only could it
be used on the desk for improved cooling and ergonomics, it could also be used
on the lap for the same results. That got my interest…
For those of you that might not have heard of Rain Design before, they are
the same San Francisco-based company that came out with the futuristic iMac
desk, the iGo. While just
about all of their products
are Mac-centric, the iLap is one that can be used by anyone with a laptop.
Because my Fujitsu 2110 laptop is so small, I was sent the 12" version, but
there are also 14", 15", 15"W & 17"W versions available. The correct size for a
user’s particular laptop can be determined
The iLap is composed of a wide raised aluminum platform that has a
sand-blasted and anodized silver finish. There is a single drop shaped cutout in
its center, and "rain design iLap" is tastefully embossed on the front
edge’s lower center.
There is a removable, plush, black velvet cushion with a subtle alligator
pattern on the lowered front end.
This very padded cushion is finished with complimentary light gray cording on
its edges, and it makes the iLap feel extremely comfortable on the lap.
When being used, the front cushion is held in place by a strip of Velcro
which is hidden on the underside of the front aluminum edge.
There is a hinged aluminum swivel built into the rear of the iLap. It is
covered with a non-removable, lighter-padded version of the front cushion. This
swiveling base raises the laptop to an ergonomic position and allows the iLap to
automatically adjust to comfortable fit the user, whether the laptop is
positioned on a desk or on the legs.
The 12" size iLap
measures approximately 10.9" wide by 8.5" long with the cushion or 9.5"
long without. It stands 2.5" high at its tallest point, and it weighs 1.2 pounds
with the cushion, or one pound without.
Included inside the iLap’s box are a set of four silicone replacement feet,
that will give the user’s laptop a better grip upon the smooth surface of the
The design of the iLap serves a dual purpose. First of all, its rear-raised
positioning is meant to ergonomically improve the user’s posture. Instead of
bending the neck and lowering the head, the user can instead hold their head
upright and look at a properly placed screen – whether they are using the laptop
on a couch or at a desk. The front cushion also helps to support the user’s
wrist, which minimizes pressure on the wrist and arm.
Photos courtesy of the iLap website
I must say that this is one of the most comfortable methods I have yet found
for using my laptop while seated on the couch. The front cushion becomes the
prefect wrist support, and my hands are then properly placed to cover the
keyboard. I tried using the iLap without the cushion when at my desk, but I
actually found that I preferred leaving it on. In this configuration, my laptop
was raised to a comfortable level from which, with a simple screen adjustment, I
was able to sit up straight and not "hunch" over my keyboard.
The second purpose of the iLap is to conduct heat away from the Laptop.
According to the iLap site, the aluminum from which it is composed acts as
a "cool sink." I’ll have to admit that I am more familiar with term "heat
sink", but both terms appear to operate on the same principal.
The iLap functions as a cool sink because there is a large area of thermal
conductive material, in this case aluminum, which is sitting next to the heated
bottom of the laptop. The heat is drawn from the laptop to the aluminum, which
is cooling because of the air circulating under its raised area. The heat is
thus diffused from the aluminum and the laptop is kept cooler.
Photo courtesy of the iLap website
I found that when using the iLap on the couch not only was it more
comfortable for typing, but my legs were kept quite cool. It seemed as if the
aluminum under the iLap was a little bit warm, but not too hot. Likewise, the
bottom of my Fuji was warm, but it was not as hot to the touch as it otherwise
would have been.
The iLap is easily the most comfortable in-lap solution that I have ever
tried, bar none. I am hard pressed to find a con, but with a bit of thought I
did decide upon one: It’s not as portable as some might like. Unless you have a
really big gear bag, you probably won’t want to tote it along. However, as an
accessory that you can use at home, it more than excels. If you are someone that
wants an ergonomic laptop solution that can work either on a desktop or in a big
comfortable chair, then you should take a look at the Rain Design iLap.
The iLap is available in
depending upon the size of the user’s laptop.
Price: $49.90 as tested (12" model), up to $69.90
depending on size
Makes laptop comfortable and cool on the user’s legs
Ergonomic design for desktop use
Keeps laptop cool
Not as portable/packable as some ergonomic laptop solutions