One of the hidden dangers of extended laptop use is when an overheated system leads to a serious case of lap burn. There are many laptop desks on the market designed to both provide a stable work surface for laptop users and also shield them from the high temperatures modern systems can hit under a heavy workload. The Xpad Laptop Desk, a $29 laptop desk that offers a thick protective layer between you and your laptop, is a serious piece of equipment that may be overkill for smaller laptops but offers reassuring protection for people working with larger systems.
Measuring 13 inches wide by 10.5 inches deep by 0.7 inch thick, the Xpad looks at first glance like a kitchen cutting board. Weighing slightly less than one pound, it's solid-feeling, but it can add a significant amount of weight and bulk to your laptop bag.
The Xpad shields you from your laptop's heat by way of four raised panels on the top of the ABS composite body; ABS, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is the same stuff used for Lego bricks and plumbing pipes. These raised panels, in the shape of an X, have rubber antislip pads on them to hold your laptop steady, even when the Xpad is slightly tilted.
By placing your laptop on top of the raised panels, most of the computer's surface area is exposed to the air, and the air channels allow heat to escape and provide improved airflow. A layer of rubber insulation on the bottom provides additional heat protection.