A neat beverage cooler but expensive and on the noisy side – Kyle Lunau
SUMMARY: A neat beverage cooler but expensive and on the noisy side.
Have you ever been sitting at your computer with a drink, gotten up to do something, and come back and the drink is warm? Or do you just like to savour your beverage over a five hour period without it getting warm? Well Coolit Systems has just the product for you with their USB beverage chiller. Here is a short description of this awesome device straight from Coolit Systems:
“The CoolIT USB Beverage Chiller is the only way to keep your drink cold while you’re at your computer. And it looks cool on any desktop!
The next must-have computer accessory is here. With the USB Beverage Chiller at your side, you can keep your beverage chilled and stay at your computer longer.
Just seconds after plugging the chiller into your computer’s USB port (no external outlet needed), the coldplate chills to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the perfect temperature for keeping your beverage chilled.
- Plugs into your computer’s USB port
- Coldplate chills to 45°F
And a few answers to any questions you have about the unit
Is it USB 1.1 or 2.0 compatible?
The USB Beverage Chiller will operate on either USB 1.1 or 2.0. However, the amount of power provided by a USB port can vary. The USB Chiller requires at least 1.2 Amps to operate. Most USB ports will provided sufficient amperage for the Chiller to operate.
What is the power consumption and impact on battery life?
All laptops have different battery characteristics but the USB Beverage Chiller consumes very little power at 5.75W. Our patented design enables efficient and highly effective cooling in a small form factor.
Will it work with Linux?
Yes, the USB Beverage Chiller is not operating system dependant. Besides working with all desktops and laptops, it will work with all entertainment consoles that have a USB input such as XBOX (with USB adapter), XBOX360, Play Station, and even cable boxes!
Will it chill a warm soda to cold?
The intended use of the USB Beverage Chiller is to keep a cold drink cold. Although it will chill a warm drink over time, it does a better job of keeping a cold drink cold to the last drop.
Will this work with a Coke can?
Although a typical soda can is not flush on the bottom, there is ample contact between the surface area on the USB Beverage Chiller and any drink container to keep your beverage cold. The USB Beverage Chiller will keep everything from bottled water to canned beer cold for your enjoyment.
What about Condensation?
Condensation occurs when excess humidity comes in contact with a cold surface. Since the plate on the USB Beverage Chiller is very cold, condensation can occur. However, the USB Beverage Chiller has been designed with a gasket sealed case to keep condensation (or an accidental spill) out of the device. Any condensation that does build up on the USB Beverage Chiller will not harm the device. Just wipe with a soft cloth to keep it looking new!”
Sounds great! Now down to the review.
Because you can order the USB beverage chiller straight from Coolit, I’m including a few package shots.
The inside is coated in bubble wrap to prevent damage to the unit.
Here is a shot of the USB beverage chiller out of its brown paper prison. It is quite the attractive unit. There is one negative note here though: if you look closely, you will notice that the packaging is heat-sealed on the edges. Personally I think this is one of the worst ways to package a product, simply because it takes me five minutes with a pair of scissors to get it open.
Let the assault begin!
As you can see the packaging has to be destroyed in order to get the unit out.
Ah, finally I got it open! As you can see the unit looks very nice and has a nice long USB cable. Also instructions are printed on the inside of the package.
The beverage chiller has a very sleek and simple look to it, very nice!
At the back there is a very small fan, I’ll tell you what it is for further on.
The unit has a nice aluminium bottom with four soft feet. These feet are a nice addition because not only do they keep the unit from sliding around, but if it does decide to go for a slide across your desk, it won’t scratch the crap out of it.
Here is a shot of the USB cable – it is very long, probably around 6 feet
Now we will get into how this unit works :gasp:. As you can see there is a large aluminium heatsink being cooled by the tiny fan, but what purpose does the heatsink serve? FYI the unit was very easy to disassemble requiring the removal of only four screws; this may be important information for any aspiring modders out there.
Here you can see the heatsink stuck to the cold-plate
And as you can see here, there is a small white plastic thing stuck between the two. A lot of you know what this is but for those of you who don’t, it is called a peltier (for more info on peltiers check HERE.)
Basically a peltier is a solid state device that pumps heat to one side of its surface, cooling the other. In this case the hot side has the heatsink on it. The peltier sends heat to the heatsink, for dissipation – this allows the cold side to get very cold. This in turn cools your beverage. Pretty simple right?
The Coolit USB beverage chiller is quite the interesting device. During testing I found that it indeed keeps a beverage cool for long periods of time. Not only that but it goes from room temperature to 45ºF in about three seconds, very impressive!
I found that the cooling system for the peltier was very effective and it barely became warm to the touch while running. Aside from functionality, the unit also looks great with a glossy white finish and a glossy blue cold-plate. A few negative notes though:
During testing I found that the small fan was quite loud and could be easily heard over my system. Not only that but it seems to push almost no air. Another thing is that the unit has no On/Off switch, which I would really have appreciated. It also isn’t cheap coming in at $40 USD at Frozencpu.com. And least and last the packaging is the horrible heat-sealed variety. So to sum it all up:
- Keeps a beverage cool indefinitely as long as you computer is on (if your computer has always-on USB ports, it will always be on)
- Looks great
- Runs off USB
- Noisy fan
- No On/Off switch
- Heat-sealed packaging!
- Replace the noisy fan – embed a 60 mm low-rpm fan into the heatsink and perforate the aluminium base to allow it to breathe
- Add an On/Off switch, either a normal one at the back or maybe a frosted-clear button on the front of the unit that lights up blue when the unit is powered on
- Use plastic tabs in conjunction with a cardboard back for packaging
If you find yourself at your desk for hours on end drinking one beverage, this unit will help keep it cooled down to fridge temperature. Otherwise if you prefer to consume your beverage in 5 minutes flat, this product is not for you.