If you’ve shopped for a fan recently (no, not the ones in your PC case, we mean the type you use to cool yourself down with), no doubt you’ll have encountered Dyson’s Air Multiplier bladeless fan designs. Besides looking cool, these bladeless fans reportedly produce better and more consistent airflow than traditional fans that blow out 'choppy air' as the blades slice through the air. Better and more consistent airflow sounds like exactly the kind of qualities you want in a notebook or PC cooler, so it should come as no surprise that NZXT has created the first 'bladeless' fan notebook cooler, the Cryo V60.
First spotted at Computex 2012, and available in either white or black, the Cryo V60 is a lightweight, medium sized notebook cooler with a gaping 160mm hole in the middle of it. Other than that, it’s fairly unremarkable. Our review unit is constructed entirely from shiny white plastic that unfortunately makes it look and feel quite cheap, and in combination with the hole in it, also makes it resemble a toilet seat (we suspect the black color will look better). Features include an integrated fan speed controller dial (from 1000 to 1600RPM) and three powered USB 2.0 ports, one of which is used to connect the cooler to its host notebook.
The glossy plastic was a surprising material choice for this cooler as it’s quite slick, which isn't ideal, as it provides no grip for your notebook. Additionally, the ridge at the bottom that supports the notebook is quite thin. As it turns out, this wasn’t a problem in testing, even with our very heavy Dell Alienware M17XR3, as we discovered that the cooler has a very flat angle of elevation (we estimated it to be about 3.36 degrees, based on a 15mm taper from back to front with a base length of 255mm), which, unlike some other coolers is non-adjustable, so realistically there’s very little chance of your notebook sliding off. Having said that, we still would have felt better if the ridge was a little thicker. On the base of the cooler, four rubber feet keep it from moving around on your tabletop.
While the cooler is marketed as a ‘Vortex Design with bladeless fan’ it actually operates very differently from Dyson’s bladeless fans. A quick look at the instruction manual will reveal how this cooler works:
On either side of the hole, two 30mm vortex fans funnel air into a circular channel around the hole, which then gets blown out of a thin outlet ring, creating airflow.
As the unit uses two bladed fans to generate its airflow (as opposed to Dyson's design which uses a brushless motor to draw in air and an aerofoil and induction principle to accelerate it), technically the V60 is not a true bladeless design - although, we suppose it could be used to describe the fact that there’s no visible bladed fan blowing air directly behind the notebook. Around the back of the cooler, an array of intake vents provides ventilation for the fans.
Powering up the unit, it’s immediately obvious that it lacks the force of a Dyson bladeless fan. Stick your hand through the middle of the hole and you won't feel anything. It’s only when you place your hand over the edges of the outlet ring that you’ll feel a slight breeze which flows across the base of the unit.
We tested the cooler by ramping the fans up to 1600RPM and putting our Dell Alienware M17XR3 on top of it, running 3DMark 11's Extreme benchmark on loop for an hour. We then then took a laser temperature reading at the hottest point on the machine (just under the metal plate on the base). The cooler is actually a bit small for our 17-inch gaming monster (NZXT markets it as supporting up to 16-inch models) but it still sat comfortably enough.
In our air-conditioned lab of roughly 22 degrees Celsius in temperature, with the M17X R3 sitting on the table, it reached 46 degrees Celsius during our continuous benchmark test run. Using the NZXT Cryo V60 at 1000RPM, the temperature reached a high of 37 degrees for the same test conditions, which is about 25% cooler. Given the limited airflow churned out by the Cryo V60, we thought it would have fared much worse, but actually it was fairly decent.
Compared to other cooling pads, the V60 was not a great performer, achieving the same temperature as Cooler Master’s old ErgoStand, which uses a single 140mm fan. Both Thermaltake's Massive 23 LX and Cooler Master’s Notepal X3 performed better, although it should be noted that both are also slightly more expensive.
On the plus side, operation is extremely quiet, although, if you put your ear next to the cooler, you can just about hear the fans whirring away.
The Cyro V60 is an interesting notebook cooler that isn’t a bad performer, but ultimately feels a little disappointing. It’s clearly designed to mimic the high-tech design of the Dyson Air Multiplier bladeless fans, but it only copies the look, as the build, technology and subsequent performance have nothing in common. It feels a bit gimmicky, and had the build quality been better, it might have garnered a better overall score. If you’re looking for something slim, lightweight and quiet that is sure to attract some onlookers (not because it's eye-catching, but because of its odd-looking design), the V60 is a decent choice, especially for just S$45. For those who rank performance, aesthetics and features as high priorities, there are better options out there.