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Case-Mate Universal Privacy Screen Pro for Centro

Mon Aug 11, 2008 - 9:42 AM EDT - By Justin DeJarnette

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Product Info


Overview

The Case-Mate Universal Privacy Screen is designed to make your smartphone's screen unreadable to the nosy busy-bodies around you. This isn't a new idea, as products similar to this have been used to shield laptop screens for years. Now that so many of us have smartphones and are using them for watching porn more and more ďsensitiveĒ tasks, for some of us, it might be a good idea to keep our screens a secret. Stepping up to fill the void is Case-Mate, with their Universal Privacy Screen Pro.


Installation

The Privacy Screen is designed to fit just about any smartphone you will find. This is nice for Case-Mate, as they can manufacture one product and market it to anybody with a smartphone. It is not so nice for the purchaser, however, as it means you have to cut the Privacy Screen down to your smartphone screenís size. I should mention here that I get wildly obsessive-compulsive a little annoyed about dust and fingerprints and stuff on my gadgets, and I really hate anything I have to cut to fit. I can never cut it just right and can always see that jagged edge around my screen. Then the dust starts to collect. (Cue the Norman Bates-shower-scene music as the writer's eyes cross and flutter rapidly.) And this is not like those old Palm-issued screen protectors, where you would get like, 10 and they had the little guide on the pack of the paper side to help you cut it to match the Treo 600 or Zire 72 or whatever device you had. And if you screwed it all up, whatever. You had 9 more and you would get it right after the first or second try. Those things annoyed the heck out of me and they were cake compared to this.

If that isnít bad enough, Case-Mate doesnít provide any type of guide or template to help; you get a small piece of graph paper that you can use to approximate the size of your screen. Once you cut the graph paper down to size, you can use it to cut the screen, which is really thick and difficult to cut evenly. Obviously, youíll want to make really sure you donít cut the screen too small or you are done, my friend. One thing that is nice, however, is that the privacy screen uses ďstatic clingĒ and not an adhesive to stick to your phone. This makes it easy to remove and replace.


Usability

Unfortunately, once you get the Privacy Screen on, it doesnít work very well. For one, smartphones have relatively small screens that you canít see from more than a few feet away. So do you really need this? Also, the ďviewable angleĒ on this screen is wide enough that anyone that is close enough to you to see your screen will still be able to see it fairly well. If you're behind me, for example, and you get close enough to see my screen, you're going to be able to see it whether this thing is on or not. You donít have to be directly over my shoulder, either. That viewable angle is pretty wide. Now, the farther outside the viewing angle you get, the screen will appear more and more blurry, but you can still see it. If Iím on the Home screen, for instance, and you are outside of the viewable angle you will be able to see the program icons, but wonít be able to differentiate them. If Iím watching a movie, you will plainly see that Iím watching a movie, but you probably wonít know what movie it is. So, to make a long story short, if Iím playing Warfare Incorporated and my boss comes up behind me, it is extremely likely that heíll be able to see that Iím goofing off. And if itís not good for that...

One more note about playing Warfare, I really wouldnít be able to do that at all since the touch screen is mostly useless with the Privacy Screen on. As I mentioned before, the screen is rather thick. The touch screen on your phone will work, but not well at all. If you are a heavy touch screen user, this is NOT the product for you. Personally, I need to be able to play Warfare and/or Bejeweled at a momentís notice, so the Privacy Screen didnít last too long on my Centro.


Conclusion

As far as I can tell, there is no reason for anybody reading this to use this product. A case could probably be made for that Apple thing, with its big olí screen, but seeing how the Apple thing is so reliant on the functionality of the touch screen, I don't see how this would be a viable solution. As far as I can tell, the screens on our Palm smartphones just arenít large enough to make this idea necessary.




Criteria 

Rating

Design 2
Usability 2
Features 2
Cost/Benefit 2
Overall
(not an average)
Pros
  • Removes/replaces easily
  • Nice packaging
  • Cons
  • Viewable angle is too wide
  • Touch-screen barely works
  • Installation is aggravating, to say the least


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