Review: Podium Coolpad by Road Tools.

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Reviews

I wanted to give you quick user review of a product that’s been around for a while, called the Podium Coolpad by Road Tools. It’s a notebook riser that does several things. Most importantly, it elevates the laptop to improve passive cooling, it spins around and lifts the screen up to an adjustable height to optimize your viewing angle, and it provides a stable surface when you’re working in less-than-ideal settings, like on your lap, on an airplane tray, or in bed. One edge of the laptop sits on top of 4 rubber-capped posts that you assemble from stackable lego-like pieces to lift the screen to the desired height. It’s relatively cheap (retailing for $30), really durable, and very portable. You can get a better idea of their design on their website,

So, my wife and I own 2 Coolpads and have been using them for over 3 years without a hitch. The first time I gave it a second thought was the other day when I noticed that I had lost a screw, so I emailed Jim at Road Tools. I asked him for the specs on the screw so that I could pick up a replacement at the hardware store. To make a long story short, he not only offered to send me a replacement screw, he also included some newly developed attachments for the original Coolpad – more on these updates in a moment. I then asked him if it would be OK for me to share my story because I wasn’t sure that he wanted to be inundated with emails from people asking for replacement screws that they’d lost. Here is an excerpt from his reply dated March 27:

“Sometime soon I intend to send a press release … to let CoolPad users know that we would like to fix any CoolPad problems or replace any parts. We are gearing up to handle as many fixes as requested.

We’ve sold a lot of these over the past few years (over 500,000) so we expect to handle quite a few requests but that’s OK because we really like to keep all of those Coolpads in good working order.

These things are made by very dedicated disabled workers in the Nashua NH area. They take pride in their work and are as eager to support the CoolPads as I am.”

SO. Jim and his crew are INVITING everyone who owns a CoolPad to let them know about any problems. This is potentially as many as half-a-million emails with some type of request that probably yields little or no monetary benefit for them at the end of the day. I don’t remember the last time I heard of a company that cares this much about customer satisfaction and the work they do. Just wanted to spread the word on a little company with a lot of heart.

By the way, the samples of the product upgrades they sent me are awesome! First, there’s an extension bar for wider laptops: it replaces the 4 rubber-tipped caps with a single long bar that extends beyond the width of the coolpad to give you an extra-wide support. It was designed for the 17 inch powerbook, but I’ve been using it with my 15 inch model and it really does a great job. Or, if you want to use the original styled 4-post system, Jim sent me some new rubber caps that have improved gripping action for the bottom of your laptop. These upgrades are simple, but elegant and really well executed to improve the value of the product. I have not seen any mention of the extension bar or the new caps on the Road Tools website, but in his latest email, Jim said that he thinks the extension bar is now included with the CoolPads being sold through Apple Store and at Staples.

Reviewed by MacCast listener Daniel

There is 1 comment on Review: Podium Coolpad by Road Tools.:

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  1. Janet | Dec 05 2005 - 10:15

    I have used the CoolPad for several years with my PowerBooks. Twice I have emailed Jim at because once I dropped the CoolPad and the screw connector broke, and just recently I somehow lost the screw connector altogether during travel. Both times he sent me replacement screws, no charge, in the mail and they arrived within 4 days! This last time he sent a whole new CoolPad along with the screw connector!!! No charge! And I definitely had not asked for a new one, just the screw connector. I stand in awe at this amazing level of customer service. The product itself is awesome and works just great, but the customer attention is the best there is. Get one, you won’t be sorry.