3M Privacy Filter for Standard Notebook Computers with a 14.1" diagonally measured display Reviews
Good product - better than the competition May 13, 2007
I'm a consultant who travels weekly. Lots of time on flights makes a privacy filter important to me. Being something of a perfectionist and the fact that I look through it for hours each week, I ordered both the ViewGuard and the 3M filters to compare them. I kept the 3M and returned the ViewGuard. Why?
The image clarity of the 3M filter was significantly better (note that I work with small fonts, spreadsheets, etc. and wear glasses) Yes, ViewGuard, I removed the protective film past making the comparison! Two things bugged me about the ViewGuard: (1) its polarization cuts run diagonally (the 3M run vertically), which is distracting, and (2) the image through the ViewGuard is a tiny bit blurry/hazy compared to the 3M. 3M seems to have a more clear film that they use. A colleague of mine did the same side-by-side and agreed with me.
Both products do what they claim, and both fit my notebook well, although I also prefer the optional vertical mounting strips that come beside the 3M product (both come with mounting 'dots', but 3M supplies an alternate mounting mechanism as well).
Let's face it: $50 for a piece of plastic seems expensive, but there's no alternative if you want to work on client (or your own financial) information on a plane. Thanks, 3M, for making a quality product. (And no, I don't work for 3M!)
Doesn't work as advertised... September 25, 2003
I saw this at a small local computer store for dirt cheap so I decided to pick it up. The fit on my Toshiba laptop is perfect. Looking right at it, you can clearly tell that it is at hand as it has a dark tint and you can see the thin lines in it, but everything on screen is still readable and enjoyable, except for the annoying, non-removable "3M PF15.0" logo near the bottom right of the filter that blocks off some of the text surrounded by the taskbar. It probably won't hinder daily use, but just the fact that it's there is annoying.
For the screen to actually appear black, one would have to stand at a rather extreme angle where on earth the screen wouldn't even look all that clear to them in the first place. It will block somebody from reading any text, but for the most part they will still be able to tell what you are doing.
Also, once you get dust on the back side of the filter, forget roughly getting it all off. I can spray it with compressed air all day and wipe it with my microfiber dust clothe as much as I want, but there is still some dust on it.
In short, it does *NOT* make on-screen notes visible only to the person directly in front of the monitor. I suggest that if you can, try one out first to see if it fits your needs. Maybe somebody at your local computer store will let you put one on a monitor and you can test out the angles to see if it is worth the price for you.
Works GREAT June 20, 2006
First off, I want to say that Amazon have the best price I could find, and this shipped right away and arrived 3 days after ordering, even with 3-5 day shipping.
Second, I agree with some comments I have read on this. Sure does feel like you spent a lot of money when a thin piece of plastic arrives that cost you over $50. Unfortunately in that is no alternative. To me though, the privacy is worth the price.
I bought this so I could have stock charts up on my laptop at work without people being able to see what I was doing (so I wouldn't get in trouble for trading) when they would walk by down the aisle. This works ultimate in that sense. I tilt my laptop so it faces me, and when people walk by, the laptop looks to them as though it is off. The screen is black for them except in the little thumb notch spot 3M made so that you can easily remove the peak.
I used the plastic tabs that came with to hold it in place, they work well enough... however, I found that I cannot close my laptop with the privacy filter held in, as it flexes in the middle and thus falls out. I can't really envision a better way for 3M to improve this, except perhaps to make it much more rigid.
Some other notes that potential buyers may be wondering...
1) It only filters and looks black from side to side, not up and down. If someone is standing over your shoulder, they will have no problem seeing it. It is only when they shift to an angle to the side that it will block. So horizontal blocking, but not vertical.
2) This thing smudges easily! Expect lots of dust, fingerprints, etc. It wipes off just as easily though with a dry Kleenex.
3) 15.4W fits perfectly with my 15 inch widescreen. Perfect fit.
4) The tab that hold it in are small and transparent. They have very sticky material on part of them, and look like a half circle attached to a rectangle.
5) This filter does not reduce glare within my opinion.
Overall, this was well worth the cost of privacy for me. No one can tell my PC is on even though my screen is open.
ineffective, with drawbacks February 16, 2006
Three big disappointments. Biggest is the viewing angle is WAY too wide. It darkens at 45 degree, but you can still clearly see what someone's up to, even if it's *kind of* harder to read precise text. It doesn't blacken until your near a 90 degree viewing angle. Pretty lame.
Also, though it's "matte" it's a lot more reflective than a regular LCD flat screen. Maybe it's less than an old glassy CRT, but the reflectivity is terrible compared to an LCD. You can in actuality make out your own face and highlights in the screen, even highlights coming from a side window (which I was hoping would be reduced by the microlouvre, not increased). Bright environments are 5 times harder to work in than they would be with a regular LCD screen.
And lastly, looking at it straight contained by, it darkens the screen enough to be distracting and eye-straining. So it's the worse of both worlds - it darkens too much for the user, and not enough at odd angles.
The method for sticking the frameless kind on clutters your screen with cheesy plastic sticky stuff disks.
Plus, it's pretty expensive for a sheet of plastic.
Wait until the tech gets better. Or decent, at least.
I'm satisfied November 15, 2007
I read the reviews for the 3M brand privacy screen and I should've taken their advice because the 3M brand is a much better quality than the Targus 15.4 privacy screen. See my review for the Targus 15.4 privacy screen. I concluded up buying the 3M brand, size 15.4 from another company because at the time Amazon didn't have it in stock. I wasn't too impressed with the 3M brand either but, I can tell the quality is much better. 3M uses a unique microlouver privacy technology which darkens the screen on a 45 scope angle away from the center too. They use the film material from the company named Vikuiti which they claim is the best in the business. You can see a lot less on the screen with the 3M filter at the 45 degree angle compared to the Targus 15.4 privacy blind. The 3M privacy filter makes the laptop screen much darker which will make it difficult for people to discern what's on the screen. Beyond 45 degrees all you see is a black screen. You can work on your laptop within a public place with confidence or watch a movie without other people snooping on you. The screen is very expensive in my opinion so shop around. The good entry about the screen is that I can close my laptop and the filter doesn't interfere with the keyboard therefore; I keep the film on all the time. The adhesive tab that came with the 3M filter are long so they keep the screen filter in place, not like the Targus tabs that were round and small and you had to use 6 of them within order to hold the filter screen in place. I only had to use 2 long tabs for the 3M brand. Both filter screens have a thumb shape gap at the top so you'll know how it should be positioned on the laptop eyeshade. However, on the instructions for the 3M filter screen it states "slide filter beneath the tabs. Matte or shiny side may face monitor." I'm guessing that for the 3M screen it doesn't matter what side you use. It's better to have something to protect your privacy versus having nothing at all. I hope this review help other buyers so; they don't end up buying and returning the Targus 15.4 screen filter like I did. I'm satisfied with the 3M brand.
Exactly what I needed, but pricey February 26, 2006
Fairly narrow viewing angle
Good solution for what I needed
Pricey for a thin piece of plastic
Cheesy plastic tabs to hold it on the screen
Doesn't protect so ably in the dark
This is something I had been wanting for some time now. I do a lot of flying, and hate it when the person next to me reminds me that the red eight plays on the black nine. A year or so ago, these be in the $60 price range. Woah, too steep for my blood. When I saw the price drop, I ordered. It showed up quickly, and installed easily. They send two types of tabs to attach the filter to your screen. One method (the one I ended up using) are plastic tabs that extend from the frame outside of the blind in that kind of "catch" the filter if it tries to fall off, and the other are a few pieces of what appears to be thick double stick tape. I wasn't impressed with either one of them.
I found the viewing angle to be adequate, but somewhat wider than what I expected. When I move my leader to the side, I can start to see the edge of the screen darken, but part of the screen remains visible until almost a 45 degree angle.
Can the traveler in the seat on the plane next to me see what I'm doing? ably, sorta yes and mostly no. Unless it is nearly pitch black, at best all the person next to me could see was vague outlines, however when all the lights were out, the screen was *VERY* dim but still distinct. He couldn't read what was on the screen when I had my email up, but images with a lot of contrast were identifiable.
Overall, this was a good solution for what I looked-for it to do. I would have given it a 5 had the viewing angle been a bit narrower, and the protection been better in dark environments.
What price do you put on your privacy? December 28, 2005
The 3M Privacy Filter for 15.4" screens is pricey, but does give you a measure of protection on information that could be revealed to wandering eyes (innocent or otherwise). If you are involved contained by high-security detail, or work for tech firms and need to keep the IP where it belongs, this screen might be just the thing you need.
Installation is simple: you either use the double-sided tape or holding tab (both types are included) to keep the filter attached to your monitor. The screen itself is very thin (yet rigid), and seamlessly layers over your screen. The filter itself has two sides: a glossy side to face your blind (and keep the screen in good shape) and a matte side to keep other peoples' eyes off your screen.
Two things I should note: 3M has taken the choice of adding a permanent mark to their filter (with their logo and model number, with text at about 1mm high), and it sits on the upper-right side (mostly away from on-screen items). This is a bit annoying but you get used to ignoring it. Secondly, there is a small pockmark cut-out on the top of the filter, to allow you to pull the filter out if necessary. This is annoying as it disturbs the look of the filter, but you may also tend to ignore this after time.
So how does it function? Not bad at all. Any angle past 90 degrees and you will start to see the screen fade to black. Sitting right next to the blind or even about 30 degrees off the center, and you still won't see anything (this is just about the angle you might find that many snooping watchers at, such as on an airplane and just one or two rows behind you, opposite your aisle.)
I use an HP Pavilion dv4170us notebook at the moment, and it fits approaching a glove. This notebook has an exceptionally bright screen though, and the brighter your screen is, the more that will show through the filter. If this is a concern for you, I suggest learning how to turn down the brightness of your monitor.
Like I said though, this product is high-priced. But given the alternative of having thousands of dollars worth of stolen information whisked away because you failed to take precautions and shell out roughly speaking $100, isn't something you probably want on your conscience.
PF13.3 Does Not Fit Apple MacBook 13" February 8, 2008
I was under the understanding that was going to fit my MacBook. However, the MacBook is 13.3w, so I have returned it to place of purchase. Still looking for a 13.3w though.
Great Product, Costs Too Much January 5, 2006
I've owned this product for about a month now and purchased it because I was frustrated with seatmates on airplanes looking at my notebook peak for the whole flight, trying to figure out what I was doing. This screen works wonders in deterring others from taking glances at my private information. In fact, most people think I'm crazy, typing away on a computer next to a blank screen, or so they think.
There are some disadvantages with this screen though. Your seatmate directly next to you will be able to see through the filter to your screen partially, because they are within the viewing angle of the blind with the filter on. But move over any farther and the screen is not visible, nor is it visible across the aisle (if sitting in an aisle seat). About the only other place that it is visible is if someone is standing directly above you, one row back. Turning down the brightness of your screen also help immensely in blocking people from viewing your screen through the filter at any angle.
(Please note, having this filter installed screens out about half of the light coming out of the blind. If you have poor eyesight with dim lighting and have trouble with computer screens, this product may not be for you.)
Additionally, the clear plastic tabs included with the filter adheres to the plastic border around the notebook LCD screen to hold on to the filter in place. It works, but blocks about a 1/8" of the screen at 6 points, especially noticeable around the bottom of the screen where the start bar is located.
You'll also notice a large "3M PF14.1W" printed surrounded by the top right hand corner of the filter. It's used to help in determining whether the filter is facing the right direction, but it's quite distracting at times. The height of the lettering is equivalent in size to the window bar at the top of any program.
This filter is also very dust, lint, driftwood, and smudge attracting. You'll find yourself wiping the filter often.
Overall, this filter does its job. Great for those who need to comply with HIPPA or other privacy regulations. But as an individual consumer, I wonder if the high price is justified for the benefits it provides.
Increases glare March 19, 2006 On an Inspiron 8000, this product actually manages to increase the glare both indoors and especially out. Different viewing angles and flipping it over doesn't improve the situation.
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