Saturday, January 04, 2003

Brando Screen Protectors

Everything is compromise: using Newpen I want to be able to write graffiti directly onto my TT screen, but that massively increases wear and the chance of an accidental scratch from a tiny piece of grit landing on the screen. So I looked into screen protectors.

Brando sell lots of things, but their own brand (sic!) screen protectors are what their reputation is based upon.

Brando operates from Hong Kong, so you have to buy online and then wait for the airmail to arrive. The screen protectors are 9 US dollars each and postage and packing is $3 per order. With the current rate of exchange that is less than �8 delivered to the door all the way from HK. Not bad value.

Brando screen protectors are designed to last a long time and are fully washable (yes, washable), so you could write on one with an ink pen if you were so minded. They have a matt side and a sticky side (not glue but an adhesive finish to the plastic). The sticky side is very very sticky, and will pick up any dust floating in the air, so installation must be carried out in as near to a dust-free environment as you can find. I recommend the bathroom straight after taking a shower.

[Tip: if you want to remove dust from the sticky side, cover it in sellotape and then peel off in your dust-free environment.]

Avoiding air bubbles is fairly easy because the screen protector is quite thick and can be 'rolled' slowly down the screen. I found that the Tungsten T model was about 0.25mm too long, so it is worth starting right at the top.

So, is it any good?

Well, yes and no. On the plus side, it provides excellent protection, a nice slightly rough writing surface, and (my favourite) does not mark when touched. In other words, with this screen protector installed you can poke and prod at your screen with pens and fingers without leaving a mark, temporary or permanent.

On the minus side, there is a noticeable loss of clarity. When I used a Brando on my m505, I was not really aware of this. But with the beautifully sharp TT screen, the blurriness is evident. I found myself turning the brightness up from my normall 33% to 100% in an attempt to get some definition. If you are the sort of person who obsessively polishes your spectacles and wipes your computer monitor, then you will find that putting a Brando on your TT is a major irritation. But if you are not such a visual perfectionist, the Brando will certainly save you an expensive early screen replacement.