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Do you really need a laptop cooler? Feat. a random cooler from China

by Kok Kee 0 Comments
Do you really need a laptop cooler? Feat. a random cooler from China

There comes a time when we’re all desperate to get some sort of cooler for our laptops, and I admit, I was one of them. A few years has passed since then, and machines have become more efficient than they have ever been. Are laptop coolers still relevant – especially during gaming?

There is no clear answer though, but for me, I have my trusty Lenovo Y580 still alive and kicking strong for 3 years already (talk about how time flies!) and it’s no exception that the laptop is really kicking some heat – about 90°C while doing some slightly intensive tasks. Heat is particularly easy to build up in laptops, and heat is also one of the killers of electronics too.

Thus begins my task in searching for a brand new laptop cooler, since the one that I have was rather inexplicably bulky, and totally ineffective. At that time of searching, I was ordering stuff from Taobao, and I thought to myself – hey, let’s have a look at what China has to offer instead. I found this cooler.

Ignore the "Kok" though. I wrote that. :P

Ignore the “Kok” though. I wrote that. 😛

It looked like some random laptop cooler with some random model number slapped onto it, placed on an online store page for people to buy it and finally calling it a day. The truth however, is a lot different. This particular design of laptop cooler is actually very well-known (and also well-copied) throughout the Chinese market. Since I’m a banana myself, I just the cheapest of these “exhaust type radiator”, just for lolz.

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About a month after that, the cooler reached my doorstep and I found that the cooler is made out of some cheap plastic. The cooler itself is relatively bulky – about the length of my ASUS ZenFone 2, and definitely about 3 times thicker. However, this is still a lot easier to carry around as compared to something like the Cooler Master Notepal U2 for example.

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That aside, this Chinese laptop cooler is actually rather cheaply made, with a complete plastic body, some rubber feet around the corner and even on the slider piece, a random circular brushed aluminium sticker around the power jack, and the shameless name called “COOLER” on the top of it.

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Those rubber pieces included in the box itself actually helps to create a better seal on the cooler itself and on the vents of any laptops. These Chinese dudes aren’t playing around, and thus the cooler comes with a total of 4 different types of rubber pieces – so you can pretty much try which of these piece can create the best seal with your laptop.

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Once I found the best seal for my Lenovo Y580, I pulled out the slider feet and placed it under my laptop, then positioned everything nicely and connected the power into the cooler itself. First thing I realized – this thing is inexplicably loud!! There are no fan speed controls on the cooler itself – not even a simple rheostat to change the resistance of the live wire and decrease the voltage to decrease the RPM. It runs in a total of 2 speeds – on or off. No in-between speeds at all.

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Enough about the cooler though – let’s see the performance of this cooler. I did these tests at the same time when I was cleaning the internals of my laptop, so here’s a very nice comparison of how much the fan helped before and after the cleansing of my Lenovo Y580’s internals.

First off, let’s start off with a baseline. The temperatures I got in idle before cleaning up all the dust gunk (as seen here, it’s gross – don’t say I didn’t warn you!) were pretty intense – easily clocking in at 90°C when Dota 2 is running. Once I placed the cooler in and let it stabilize after about 10 minutes or so, the temperature dropped a massive 6°C on average for both the CPU and GPU – resulting in my CPU temperature at about 85°C, whereas my GPU dropped from 93°C to 88°C. To be honest, it’s not too bad.

Once I got all these data, it’s time to clean the dust inside once and for all. Goodbye forever to all the dust that has been accumulating in my laptop through the many months, and through thick and thin.
Naaaaah, screw the dust. As a matter of fact, never come back!

Warning : not for the weakhearted

Reassembled everything, and retried my test again – by comparing both temperatures with and without the cooler. And there it was, the biggest temperature drop ever. However once I placed the cooler at the vents, the temperature difference was rather spine-chilling.

Seriously? There were literally zero changes? At most, there’s a single degree Celsius changed. Nothing else changed for that matter – although my SSD and hard disk temperature did rise, but that’s totally unrelated since all these are from the other side.

The question is – do I really need a laptop cooler at this time and age? The answer is a very strong no – since a little elevation from the laptop’s vents from the surface that’s it’s going to sit on really does make a difference, particularly for comfort and ergonomics. However if your gaming laptop is running really hot at about 90°C all the time while gaming, clean up the your laptop’s guts. We even shared our adventure while cleaning my personal unit of the Lenovo Y580. If that fails, pick yourself a laptop cooler. Albeit in any cases, the temperatures should be kept at as nearest to room temperature as possible.

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This laptop cooler really cheap as well, pricing in at just 15.90 Yuan, which was about RM10.60 (excluding shipping) when I got it at that time. This cooler isn’t available for sale at that price anymore though, but the cheapest one that I found is at a relatively high price, but has a certain extra feature, like the fan control (you’re gonna need it).

In conclusion, the cooler does work, but seems like only for certain specific conditions. It wouldn’t hurt to have some extra airflow for your laptop, but the noise it produces is like a mini airplane forever taking off from your desk.

However the case may be, just remember to stay frosty!

Here’s why you should clean a laptop inside out

Here’s why you should clean a laptop inside out

Got a new laptop. Great – if you’re lucky, the laptop survives for years to come, maybe 2 years or more. Here’s the real kicker though, as the laptop ages, we get the illusion the machine slowing down. Assuming that there are no hardware failures at all, that’s not caused by age!! It’s actually is due to two main things – super-bloated operating system, or the system is thermal throttled due to dust clogging up. Here’s how to fix your problems!

Here’s how to unlock ZenFone 2’s bootloader

by Kok Kee 0 Comments
Here’s how to unlock ZenFone 2’s bootloader

It’s a while back since ASUS released the official bootloader unlock tool, and I managed to download it and give it a try, after all I do like to unlock ZenFone 2 to its full potential. Some users have reported that the tool caused issues to their ZenFone 2, and ASUS removed the tool temporarily whilst getting it fixed. Bummer, but it’ll return soon.

WARNING : Heavy use of jargon words ahead! Also will void your warranty. We here at NLT are not responsible for anything happened to your device!

So anyway, it’s simple. Here’s how I did it.

1. I downloaded the tool, installed it.

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The app icon looks sketchy, but I assure you that the app is at its bare minimum in terms of design. After all, it’s a one-time-use app anyway.

2. Open the app

Self explanatory right here

3. [!!!] Read the notice!!!

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By doing this, it most definitely will void your warranty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

4. Security measure

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Make sure it’s not your troll friend who wants to unlock its bootloader!

5. Hit the button

And wait for a short period of time. A message saying something along the lines of “successful” will come out, assuming nothing goes wrong. Then you’re done!

6. Hit restart

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You’ll see that the boot logo’s colours are now inverted. That means it’s unlocked!

7. ADB/Fastboot now please

Connect the phone, enable USB Debugging, get ADB running and do these. Of course, you’ll have to find the appropriate files and steps on how to install custom recovery and custom ROMs yourself.

  1. adb reboot bootloader
  2. fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
  3. Select boot to recovery
  4. Enjoy the fun!

Personally, I’m running BlissPop ROM for the ZE551ML. Runs excellently, but a little on the hot side. Might change back to stock, just because how well ASUS actually optimized ZenUI.

How To and Photo Sample: ASUS LolliFlash

by Kok Kee 1 Comment
How To and Photo Sample: ASUS LolliFlash
Selfie flash.

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We took a look at the ASUS LolliFlash a little while back in Jakarta, and we reviewed it a couple of weeks ago. Now, LolliFlash is upon us and what better time it is to have a how-to guide?

Selfie flash or rear-camera flash?

With the nature of design, this LolliFlash can work both ways – or neither if you prefer. There is an audio jack-like piece of plastic can lets you dock on the phone or tablet (even laptop, if that’s what you want) and you’re good to go!

Selfie flash.

Selfie flash.

Else if you prefer to be a rear-facing flash, just spin it around!

Another rear-camera flash

Another rear-camera flash

Else if you couldn’t find a good flash angle while docked on your tablet or phone, just take it out and hold it with your hand. That works too!

There are 3 filters… what are they for?

Total of 3 filters - blue, white, and red.

Total of 3 filters – blue, white, and red.

Excellent question! And here is where the photo samples come by. It’s an interesting little device, and ASUS wants to do more with this than just being a basic external torch.

Here, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. There are too much to tell in words, and pictures do tell a thousand of them.

Setting up the reference image

In ambient light condition.

First things first – setting up a benchmark. This lovely model here will be our subject of the day! Also pay close attention to the wall colour.

Taking photos without filters

With 3 filters, there comes 4 different modes – one mode per filter and the last mode where there are no filters. It still works, and quite too actually. These filters are meant to be light diffusers, but adding colour to these diffusers will give an entirely different look and feel to the final image, as you’ll see below.

One disclaimer though, all of the below pictures are taken using an ASUS ZenFone 2 ZE551ML on full auto mode, with the LolliFlash docked on the audio jack. Each picture here is focused on our lovely model’s face.

Then onward to press the button on the ASUS LolliFlash!!

Brightness level 1.

Brightness level 1.

Press it again!

Brightness level 2.

Brightness level 2.

And again (last time, I promise)!

Brightness level 3

Brightness level 3

Through the 3 different images, you can roughly know how bright the flash really goes, as the shadow cast by our lovely model starts to get deeper and darker, and apparently bringing very slight hint of red around the entire image when brightness goes up.

Swapping in the filters

Let’s stick with brightness level 3 to bring out the most significant difference in its colour. Now, let’s get some coloured rubber around the LolliFlash!

Brightness level 3 with blue filter

Brightness level 3 with blue filter

Under blue filter, the LolliFlash goes through some colour balancing and produces a slightly blue light around the subject. It does give a little bit of Eiffel 65 feel to the picture too – I’m blue babudibabuda, anyone?

Brightness level 3 on white filter.

Brightness level 3 on white filter.

On white filter, the redness is enhanced a little, as the image glows with even more red than without a filter. The shadows however is blurred, and this tells that the the light is diffused.

Brightness level 3 with red filter.

Brightness level 3 with red filter.

Then comes the last and final filter – the red colour. The LolliFlash itself already produces some redness in the image itself, and this filter just enhances even more, making it reddish-pink all over.

I’m pretty sure many of you can create some creative images using this red filter on the LolliFlash. Screw that, I think you guys can create images with or without any of the filters!

Wrap up

Is it useful? Definitely, especially in dark locations. It’s not only an external flash for selfies, but also a short-duration torchlight to maneuver around the darkness, let’s say when your power goes out. Things like these happen, and your smartphone might not be ever-ready for it.

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