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Privacy screen battle: 3M vs Kensington

About 18 months ago, I bought a 3M privacy screen for my Touch-bar model MacBook Pro 13″. It was one of the few (from a known brand) on the market for this model at the time. However, I’ve now also purchased a Kensington model – 50% more expensive than the 3M version. But is it any better?

As with all privacy filters, the idea is that, once this is in place, it restricts the angle of view so that anybody sitting at the side of you can’t see what’s on your screen.

The snappily named “3M 98044065187 Privacy Filter” comes with 2 lines of tape that are placed down each side of the filter and this then sticks it your MacBook screen. The 3M screen can be bought for under £40 from Amazon.

The Kensington equivalent makes use of magnets around the screen to hold it in place. However, at a touch under £65 from Apple, it’s a pricey alternative.

I started off with the 3M, which I purchased some time ago. Being stuck on means it’s really something you intend to put on and leave on. Unfortunately, I found that the reduction in screen brightness meant that I had the brightness settings at full permanently. It may be a coincidence but after using it for a while, I started to have a fault with my video card. It wasn’t long before I removed it and consigned it to a cupboard.

Having seen a colleague more recently sporting the Kensington version, I was intrigued to try again. When I saw it, I believed it didn’t block the brightness as much but, now I have one to try myself, this isn’t the case – I’ve placed both privacy filters over my screen, each taking up a half, so I can do a direct comparison. Both filter out about the same amount of brightness. Equally, both have similar viewing angles at which the screen content is blocked.

What we end up with is just one primary difference – the method of attachment. If you want to put the filter on and leave it, the cheaper 3M is the best value-for-money. If like me, you want the option to remove it, the Kensington is clearly the choice. But, it’s pricey.

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