There are good reasons why laptops are called laptops, but equally good reasons why they're often referred to as notebooks instead. Confused? You should be, but suffice it to say that while laptops ought to be usable on your lap, many produce a little more heat than is comfortable. Another issue with many laptops is their comparatively poor speakers. It's these two problems, like the Philips CushionSpeaker we've also reviewed today, that the Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N700 aims to solve.
Despite being a good deal larger, or at least wider, the N700 is very similar in design to the Logitech Comfort Lapdesk. Its desk segment has a gentle 10 degree incline, which serves to hold your laptop in a nice, ergonomically beneficial position. When combined with the soft air-mesh fabric and padding, it makes the Speaker Lapdesk very comfortable to use, even for prolonged periods.
This much is to be expected - the Comfort Lapdesk itself was a useful piece of kit - but the Speaker Lapdesk brings so much more to the table. Its extra width, which accommodates laptops up to 16 inches in size, gives that extra bit of room for the USB-powered 2W stereo speakers and their small port holes moulded into the back.
Their audio production is very impressive. There's plenty of depth and power to their output, lending any kind of media (films, music, online clips) a greater sense of theatre. They can certainly fill a room, though unsurprisingly bass at the very lowest frequency isn't a strong point. Logitech even includes discrete volume controls and a mute button on the right edge, which is a really neat, intuitive addition.
Another more unusual feature is the cooling fan. Initially we were sceptical - it takes a lot of air flow to meaningfully cool a laptop like this - but it actually proves to be a very cool(ing) addition. It draws air from beneath and from the rear of the Lapdesk, quietly pushing it onto the underside of your machine. This will help your laptop (a little), but arguably it's greater benefit is in keeping your lap cool since it eliminates the stuffiness of having something sitting on your lap. Should you prefer not to use the fan, however, there's a switch to turn it off.
Our only concerns, ones that preclude the N700 from an award, are the relatively high retail price (£50 online) and its sheer size. If you can see past these, however, it's definitely worth a go.
A clever and potentially useful peripheral, the Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N700 does a great job of combining improved audio, ergonomic comfort and cooling into one. Some may find it hard to justify the cost, but if you can then it won't disappoint.