The MacBook Pro is the workhorse of the Apple portable computing line, with the power and screen real estate to keep even professional video editors happy when they're on the road. All that power generates heat that can sometimes add up to an uncomfortable user experience, especially if you're using the MacBook Pro as a true "laptop" computer. A new product from madMINDS LLC, the TILT (US$55.00), resolves that issue by providing active cooling in a wafer-thin stand that beautifully compliments the design of the unibody MacBook Pro.
The TILT got started as a Kickstarter project last fall and achieved $22,075 in funding for a $8,000 goal. Now that production has started, the TILT is available only for the 15" unibody aluminum MacBook Pro. Fortunately, my wife happens to use one of those as her home computer, so I was able to get a review device to test.
The TILT comes in a very thin cardboard box wrapped inside a cloth bag. It's light, adding about 1.1 pounds (.5 kg) to the weight of your 15" MacBook Pro. It's made of a plastic material that looks virtually identical to the aluminum MacBook body. On the bottom of the TILT is a threaded hole for a tripod -- this seems odd, but is perfect for photographers or videographers who take their MBP to the field for backup or immediate processing of images. Just take the MBP, attach it to the TILT, put it on top of a tripod, and you've got a great way to keep that laptop at the proper height whether you're sitting or standing.
Inside the TILT is a small USB powered fan that sends a cooling blast in one side of the case and out the other. The TILT will use one of the USB ports on the left side of your MBP, so keep that in mind if you are the type of person who tends to have a lot of accessories plugged into your ports.
One all-important question is how well the TILT holds onto your MBP. The TILT uses a latching mechanism that clicks into the back hinge area of your MacBook Pro, and once I figured out how to get it secured, the TILT held on like it was glued. It's also easy to take off, so when you don't need the cooling, the TILT can be easily removed.
The main selling point of the TILT is that it is supposed to cool your MacBook Pro, so I took the temperature of my wife's computer with and without the TILT attached and working. As you can see, the temperature in the battery pack didn't change much at all. However, the big change was in the temperature of the CPU.
My only complaint about the TILT so far is that the fan noise, while incredibly quiet, is still noticeable. If you're used to having your MacBook Pro fans kick in to cool your baby while you're editing video, then the TILT fan probably won't bother you. On the other hand, if you usually don't notice fan noise from the MBP, the TILT will definitely bother you.
The TILT is a well-designed, good-looking and functional piece of hardware that does exactly what it's supposed to do -- keep your MacBook Pro cool. For photographers and videographers who might want to mount their MacBook Pro on a tripod for easy access, it's one of the few ways (perhaps the only way?) to get that done.
And now we're going to give away this TILT to one lucky TUAW reader. Remember that this only works with the unibody aluminum 15" MacBook Pro that has been around since late 2008, so please don't enter the giveaway unless you have that particular model. Here are the rules:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before March 30, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected and will receive a madMINDS TILT for 15" Unibody MacBook Pro valued at $55.00.