The Belkin CushTop Review

When I bought my latest laptop I envisioned spending more time sitting on the office couch, versus time spent sitting at my desk. In this lovely fantasy, I would no longer sit with my back half-turned to the room; instead I would have my feet propped on an ottoman, with WiFi streaming to the laptop on my lap, and Gizmo (my Yorkie) curled at my side. CNN would be on the television, and I would would have my ever-present cup of Diet Coke and small bowl of chocolate covered espresso beans somewhere accessible – but not so near that I would knock either over as I surfed and worked on daily posts and reviews. Of course that’s not how things happened…

Instead, the first time I sat on the couch with my laptop I immediately recalled that there was a good reason why I never put the bowl of chocolate covered espresso beans on the left side of my laptop…it get’s hot! Pfffft!

That’s why my interest was piqued when Belkin offered to send their CushTop for review. Unlike other laptop desks I have reviewed, this one is not for use at the desktop, nor is it designed to travel. It is designed to be used at home, and it is perfect for those that like to surf from their couch, recliner, or while propped up in bed.

Measuring 15″ wide x 10″ deep x 4″ thick on one side and 16.75″ wide x 12.5″ deep on the opposite, the CushTop is basically a firm upholstered support pillow which protects laps from hot laptops and allows the user to sit in a more comfortable position – wherever they happen to be. It can be flipped to accommodate larger or smaller laptops on its dual surfaces, and there is an interior hollow which can hold the laptop’s external power supply or a mouse when it is not in use.

I was sent the avocado green version, but the CushTop is also available in orange and silver. The pillow form inside the outer fabric covering is quite stiff; I had expected it to be more of a cushy foam for some reason, but it is very firm, and it feels reinforced.?The CushTop?fits comfortably in my lap, and it does hold the computer at a more comfortable angle while keeping my lap cool.

Perhaps the biggest concern I had about using the CushTop was that it would act as a type of laptop heat-trap. As I’m sure you’re aware, excessive heat can be deadly to a laptop, because?it?can cause sudden crashes, unexpected shut-downs and worse. So my last intention would be to put anything against my laptop that wouldn’t allow hot air to easily exit as designed. Well, I needn’t have worried.

Because the CushTop is so stiff, it does not conform to the bottom, back or sides of the propped up laptop; this allows the laptop’s vents to remain unobstructed. I suppose it is possible that there might be a poorly designed laptop out there with its intake or exhaust vents on the bottom, in which case there would be a problem while using the CushTop – as well as when setting the laptop on any other surface.

The CushTop will get pretty darn warm in the areas?near the laptop’s vents, but this is the heat that would ordinarily be cooking the user’s bare lap. Better the CushTop cook than you. ;-)?

The angle at which the laptop is held while on the CushTop is such that the keyboard will be rear inclined, but the CushTop can also be switched around and used with the front of the laptop inclined for those that prefer a negative angle while keying.

I’ve been very pleased with the CushTop’s performance; although I really do prefer to work from my desk, having a cool and comfortable way to hold my laptop when I want to work from the couch is a very nice option. 🙂

The Belkin CushTop is available directly from the manufacturer as well as from other retailers.
MSRP: $34.99
What I Like: Firm cushion that supports laptop without blocking vents, more comfortable angle for using laptop while sitting or laying down, can be reversed for negative angle, fits all laptop sizes, keeps lap cool
What Needs Improvement: Nothing – it works as advertised


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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

5 Comments on "The Belkin CushTop Review"

  1. Looks comfortable enough to be a ‘tush top’. 🙂 I’m so tired of hard airplane seats, I may buy one of these and sit on it.

  2. You know I was thinking about this kind of thing recently when I first went to use my MacBook Pro on my lap. Although it doesn’t usually get HOT, it does get pretty warm. This looks like an excellent solution!!

  3. Lex, this is pretty hard – I don’t think it would make a very cushy tush tuffet. 😉

  4. I still don’t believe it doesn’t block the vents on the bottom!

  5. Well in that case…maybe you noticed in the side picture of the Toshiba that there were little gray nubs on the rear end between the laptop and the Cushtop? Those are LapWorks Laptop Legs, which are always great for putting some distance between the bottom of a laptop and a flat surface; and they work very well on the hard surface of the CushTop. 🙂

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