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Survey: Laptop owners sacrifice for their mobility

updated 03:15 am EST, Thu November 11, 2010

Hot laps and sub-par sound the main complaints

A survey of laptop owners done by Wakefield Research on behalf of accessory maker Logitech has revealed that although they enjoy the mobility they get from the devices, the compromises made are a sore spot -- and that sore spot is often located in their laps.

Heat was the number one complaint among notebook users, with 62 percent claiming the bottom of their mobile computer gets "hot enough to fry an egg on it," despite this being factually inaccurate. However, almost half (47 percent) have said that the machine has gotten hot enough that they had to stop working with it temporarily. Others used alternative solutions like placing the laptop on a pillow (27 percent), towel (19 percent) and other methods.

A number of Apple's notebooks over the years also had frequent complaints of excessive heat. In addition to changes over time to try and minimize the problem, Apple also took to dropping the term "laptop" and now studiously refers to all such products as "notebooks." The company also advised against using the products in one's lap, specifically warned against placing the computers on soft surfaces such as pillows that might block the venting and thus exacerbate the heat issue, and never show notebook computers in people's laps in promotional images.

The second most common complaint among notebook owners was poor speaker quality. A third of survey respondents reported tat they have at least once had to give up watching some form of entertainment on their laptop because of inadequate speaker volume, and more than half compared the quality of laptop speakers to antiquated technology like standalone record players or AM radio. The inadequacy of mobile-device speakers was aggravated by the survey's result that most people use their laptops primarily for entertainment, with only four percent using their notebooks strictly for work.

The survey was conducted in late August using 594 adult respondents. The results have a plus or minus four percent margin of error.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. iphonerulez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008

    0

    With my older C2D 2.33 MacBook Pro, it

    definitely gets hot when the ambient temperature is high. Even using a fan control widget doesn't help that much. I'll put something between it and my legs. It may not be hot enough to burn me, but it will make my legs perspire to the point my pants get damp. So I'll use a towel or cardboard so it doesn't touch my pants legs. Even if the processor isn't going all out, the case bottom still gets hot enough to be uncomfortable. Whatever I use as insulation, I certainly make sure the vents aren't blocked.

  1. leamanc

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2003

    +3

    CoolPad

    Been using one of these since 2000. Works great for keeping the computer cool and your lap from getting fried.

  1. gskibum3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2006

    +7

    Facepalm

    Placing a portable on a pillow or towel because it's hot?

    Unreal.

  1. Eriamjh

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Oct 2001

    +2

    Um, DUH?

    Obviously users have to sacrific something to be portable!

    If you want powerful, expect heat. If you want light, expect small.

  1. syzygi

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    -2

    What the he…?

    Come on, a pillow (27 percent) or towel (19 percent)? It's hard to believe that even a Windows user would be stupid enough to use that. Blocking your vents or not, a pillow or towel will raise the the temperature inside a laptop. They depend on some of the ambient heat escaping through the sides not only through the vents.

    The editors need to do more fact checking. Apple has indeed has called them 'notebooks' but because it more closely matches the name 'MacBook', 'MacBook Air', and 'MacBook Pro'. There have been plenty of advertisements of it's laptop/notebooks setting on the laps of celebrities. Woz and Yao among several others.

  1. mithridain

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004

    0

    Traveler CoolPad

    The Traveler CoolPad is nice because it's thin enough to still be portable. At home, I use it with a lap desk when I use the MBP for extended periods of time (or when I played WoW).

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: What the...

    Come on, a pillow (27 percent) or towel (19 percent)? It's hard to believe that even a Windows user would be stupid enough to use that.

    Yes, because we all know all Mac users are thermo-dynamics experts and they know the rights and wrongs when it comes to heat dissipation with small electronics devices.

    Blocking your vents or not, a pillow or towel will raise the the temperature inside a laptop. They depend on some of the ambient heat escaping through the sides not only through the vents.

    And is this something that any of the vendors makes clear to their customers? Or is it one of those things on page 150 of the PDF version of the user's manual found somewhere deep in the bowels of the computer than no one reads because computers are so easy, you just plug them in, turn them on, and off you go?

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