UMPC Screen Sheet: a clear choice?

Screenprot_1_1 I’ve used mobile devices with touchscreens for at least six years and in all that time I’ve never been a fan of screen protectors. I’m not implying that you shouldn’t use them: if you feel more comfortable protecting your mobile device screen, don’t let me stop you. Having said that, I wasn’t necessarily ecstatic when Chase & Company offered me a UMPC screen protector for review purposes. You know me though; I’m always willing to "take one for the team" so I agreed. The UMPC Screen Sheet showed up right before my vacation so I had to wait until yesterday to give it a try. Did the $12.95 screen protector change my mind about the product in general? You’ll have to read on and find out!

The UMPC Screen Sheet package comes with a 151.5mm x 91.5 mm screen sheet, a nice cleaning cloth and a small applicator card. Previously, I’ve always had to use a credit card to apply screen protectors, so the applicator card was a nice touch. On the flipside, a slightly bigger card might help to properly apply the screen protector, but in this case it worked just fine.

First, I used the cleaning cloth to make sure there was no dust or any other particles on the screen of the Q1. The last thing you want is a speck of dirt trapped between the screen protector and the screen. With a clean screen, I proceeded to remove the screen protector from it’s backing. I liked how the screen protector had a piece of tape on one side and the backing had a piece on the other side; it made it much easier to separate the two.

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Next comes the tricky part as it’s oh so easy to get air bubbles trapped under the screen protector. I placed the screen sheet on the left edge of the screen and very slowly worked my way across to the right edge of the screen. If you rush, you end up with a screen that looks like this when dark (NOTE: I left the piece of tape on the screen sheet for easier removal; if this were an actual application, you would remove it first):

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After taking the above photo, I did work all of the air bubbles out using the applicator card. I did notice some very minor scratching of the screen sheet if I wasn’t careful with the card; I don’t fault the product for that, I fault the installer; still, it’s something you really want to be careful with.

Once the screen sheet was fully installed, I noticed a small gap between the right edge of the protector and the right screen bezel. If I had to guess, I’d say that the screen sheet was about 3-4 millimeters shy of reaching the bezel. Remember; I put the left side of the sheet up against the left bezel edge. Part of the reason for the size "gap" is likely to make for easier removal of the screen sheet, but every pixel counts on these seven-inch screens.

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So the big test is: how does it look once properly applied? Although this picture may appear washed out that’s due to my camera; I saw no noticeable loss of screen clarity or brightness. In fact, if I didn’t know there was a screen protector there, I never would have guessed it, so big props for the clarity.

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After applying the screen sheet, I spent some several hours inking and touching the screen. From a touch perspective, I saw no difference whatsoever. The screen sheet is thin enough that the digitizer works like it always did. Inking definitely has a different feel however. I won’t say it’s a bad thing, but I will say that my stylus doesn’t seem to flow quite as smoothly as it does over a naked screen. There’s just the hint of softness to the face of the screen protector that gives the different feel. My suggestion: you have to try one and see if you like the feel.

So did the UMPC Screen Sheet change my mind about screen protectors? No, but not because it’s a bad product. It works well and it works as advertised. If you’re the kind of person that feels the need for a screen protector, I think the UMPC Screen Sheet will be well worth your $12.99 and your peace of mind. Since all of the current UMPC / Origami devices sport a seven-inch screen, this should work for the Samsung Q1, the TabletKiosk eo v7110, and any other similar devices.

-kct

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