Review: LapLogic’s Guardian and Traveler series Laptop Desks - Macenstein

Review: LapLogic’s Guardian and Traveler series Laptop Desks

Posted by Count Macula

I consider myself to be a true Mac “road warrior”. I use my PowerBook everywhere I go; at work, at home, in front of the TV, on the plane… yes I’ve even been know to peruse the internet while dropping a deuce or two (maybe that’s why no one here at the lab asks to borrow it). But as any heavy PowerBook user will tell you, the electricity consumed by the PowerBook radiates in two ways; light and heat. Since the screen isn’t all that bright, that means somewhere around 99% of the electricity used by the PowerBook is turned into heat, and unfortunately, that heat is focused more often than not directly on my lap, where I keep some of my most valuable, “heat sensitive” possessions (no, not my Chapstick).

You can imagine my joy when at the lab arrived a package from LapLogic ( Some kind souls over there (perhaps with my future offspring in mind) sent Macenstein Labs not one of their products to try out, but TWO; their Guardian Series laptop desks, as well as a Traveler Series LapPad.

Above: As you can see, you can use the LapLogic pads with a 12-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch laptop, although the 17-inch is about half an inch wider than the pad on either end.

The Guardian laptop desk (Taku model)

The Guardian laptop desk is basically a light-weight, rigid platform wrapped in rubber, padding, and some top secret substance called C²R Thermal Technologyâ„¢. Available in 2 models and several colors, the Guardian series measure 11″ x 16″, and about 1 inch thick. It is designed for laptops up to 15-inches, but our 17-inch MacBook Pro fit well enough to use (although slightly more wobbly-feeling). The rigid base and rubber grip make this an excellent product for me, as my PowerBook has a tendency to shift and slide with my every “snack-reaching” movement. With the Guardian, you literally feel your precious machine lock in place. Coated with soft rubber grip on both sides, The Guardian will not move from your lap, and your PowerBook/ MacBook will not move from the Guardian. To help aid in cooling your laptop down, LapLogic includes a set of 4 rubber stick-on legs to raise your laptop above the surface of the Guardian. I wasn’t a big fan of these, and removed them after our initial tests.

Mr. Cool

LapLogic’s website claims the C²R Thermal Technologyâ„¢ used in the Guardian can reduce laptop temperatures by up to 57º F, and all without fans of any kind. To test the Guardian’s effectiveness during simulated normal use, we played a series of MP3s in iTunes with the visualizer on, for 1 hour. Without the Guardian, my PowerBook’s temperature rose 35 degrees. Using the Guardian, the temperature rose only 8 degrees in that same 1 hour (both tests were conducted from a 2-hour powered-off state with a similar initial starting temperature).

Top: The Guardian laptop desk; Bottom: The Traveler Series laptop pad

In the past I have had my PowerBook get so hot it actually shut itself off, so even though I cannot feel the laptop’s heat when using the Guardian, I am still very happy knowing that the machine itself is no longer approaching supernova temperatures. Keeping a laptop cool is extremely important in extending its life-span in general and reducing hard drive failures in particular.

Issues: Size matters

My one complaint with the Guardian laptop desk is also a back-handed compliment. It works so well, I don’t ever want my computer on my lap without it. However, the whole point of a laptop is that you can take it with you and work wherever you want. Unfortunately, with the Guardian, this is kind of a pain in the butt. It’s sort of big and just about as thick as the PowerBook, which means you really wouldn’t want to shove it in your bag if you truly are looking to stay mobile. So while the Guardian is ideal for home or office use, if you travel often, it may not be the best solution. Luckily, LapLogic has the perfect solution to take on the road.

Traveler Series LapPad (Chinook model)

The flexible Traveler series laptop pads from LapLogic offers more or less the same basic protection from heat as the rigid Guardian. The Traveler shields you from 54º of convective, radiant, and conductive heat (3 degrees less than its big brother, the Guardian ). It rolls up to fit in your travel bag, although I preferred to just flat out fold it. It’s got the same foam rubber grippy stuff that makes you feel like your laptop is a part of your body, and despite the added portability, the heat shielding is only slightly less protective than the Guardian. I took it with me on a trip to the “sunshine state” recently and I swear using the Traveler my lap was cooler than the rest of me (not that hard to do actually). In the airport I had no worry that I might shift my position and loose a grip on my PowerBook.

Above: Size comparison between the pads and various laptops.

Issues: Size Matters Part II

If I had to make one complaint about the Traveler (and that’s my job, isn’t it?) it’s that the footprint of the Traveler is ever so slightly more narrow than the Guardian. While LapLogc’s site claims the Traveler series is actually 0.5 inches LARGER than the Guardian, they appear to be the same size, with the Traveler tapering down on an angle at one end for some reason, giving you less desktop space. No doubt this was intentionally done to make the Traveler more portable, but when switching between the two I really missed those extra six centimeters the Guardian had. I don’t feel that this really compromises the design of the Traveler in any way, and if you only had one model or the other, you’d never even know the difference. But when used with the 17-inch MacBook Pro, we felt a little shorted.

Above: The 12-inch iBook certainly feels more secure than a 17-inch PowerBook, but both worked well on the Guardian.


Both the Guardian Laptop Desk and Traveler LapPad work as advertised, and deciding between the two really depends on how you use your laptop. If you spend most of your time in the home or office, the Guardian is a no-brainer. The rigid base offers a slightly more comfortable work area than the Traveler, but makes it a bit more cumbersome to carry around. The Traveler is more flexible (literally) than the Guardian, and can be smooshed into most laptop bags without adding much bulk. In a perfect world you would have both, but either would make a great gift for yourself or the laptop user in your life.

The Guardian Laptop Desk by LapLogic

Price: $49.95

Pros: Great heat protection, keeps laptop temperatures down significantly, rigid base makes for a sturdy work surface
Cons: A bit too bulky to use as a traveling laptop desk (depending on your bag)

The Traveler LapPad by LapLogic

Price: $34.95

Pros: Same great heat protection as Guardian series (more or less), keeps laptop temperatures down significantly, flexible design makes it ideal for traveling
Cons: Not quite as comfortable or large as the Guardian, not meant for laptops larger than 15-inches

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