August 15, 2009
Review: 3M Mobile Privacy Film
A while back, I mentioned 3M's Mobile Privacy Films (screen protectors) are available for all sorts of handsets. I managed to get my hands on a review sample to give my readers a better understanding of how these films work. I don't know exactly how these privacy film works, but I have a pretty good idea that it works by manipulating the way light is deflected (ie. only emitting light through the film at a certain angle).
Note that the film will only block out views from one axis or one set of directions; hence when my review samples arrived, they were labeled either for Portrait or Landscape protection. In other words: if you use the portrait privacy film and are sitting down on a bus, someone standing behind you will be blocked out but the person sitting next to you will still be able to see your screen. I hope 3M will one day provide protection for both axis offering the ultimate protection.
The 3M Mobile Privacy Film worked as promised, blocking out my screen visibility at an angle. Because the film is tinted, I would have to set my screen brightness level quite a bit higher to offset the tint which can yield a lower battery life in the long run; its just a little trade off for more privacy I guess. The privacy film is surprisingly thick, which makes applying it quite easy (when screen protectors are thicker and less flexible, I find them to be air bubble free). The iPhone film sample I received is custom fitted for the iPhone screen, but the screen only. Unlike other screen protectors I've had in the past, it covers the entire face of the iPhone edge to edge. If you are using a case, you'd probably have to trim the film slightly to give it a little room so the edge of your case will have the clearance since the film is pretty thick.
If you are always on go and must access important personal data on your smartphone in public frequently, I think 3M's mobile privacy film is the best solution to offer increased level of privacy against the peeping Toms nearby. The Mobile Experience blog still encourages its readers to be careful when accessing sensitive data in public; try to be mindful of your surrounding at all times!