(editor’s note: I have been using PDA’s and Tablet PC’s (both device types which require touch input), for several years. Many users will dimiss the idea of buying screen protectors as “hogwash” or just “another accessory to accommodate the initial hype” when first purchasing a Tablet PC.
I would never totally trust that a manufacurer has created a scratch-proof screen. The evidence? Just take a look at the display models of Tablet PC’s and PDA’s at your local Electronics or Computer Retailer. If you want your screen to look just like the display model over time, go ahead and risk it. If you can spare just a few more $ to “keep your screen pristine”, I say invest!) – Barry
by Perry Longinotti, Canada
There seems to be two dominant schools of thought when it comes to the subject of screen protectors on Tablet PC notebook:
- You believe that people are crazy if they do not use some form of protection on the most valuable part of their tablets.
- You believe that whomever engineered your tablet accounted for scribbling on the screen in the design and that screen protection is just a waste of money.
Depending on what device you are using, either opinion could be correct. Some tablets are more scratch resistant and more robust. But do you want to take a chance? With some screen protectors costing $50 or more, how do you decide?
How do you use and treat your Tablet? How often you use pen input and to what degree do you take care of your device. If you use your Tablet as a laptop more of the time, you are probably safe. There is no point in spending a lot of money on the screen protector if you do not need one. It all boils down to cost versus benefit.
Recently we discovered a product from Strong Engineering (http://strongengineering.com/bstrong.htm) that might make the arguments against using screen protectors moot and certainly makes the cost barrier vanish. At $15 or less each, the BStrong screen protector is priced significantly lower than other solutions on the market. You are not risking much money to test these out.
Currently, the only way to obtain BStrong screen protectors is online. They are not available in stores yet. Some folks have reservations about ordering online – as hard as that is to believe in 2005 – but I can say that the browsing and checkout process was easy.
On the Strong website you will find hundreds of devices for which a screen protector is available. If you cannot find what you are looking for, they will make it for you. The secure checkout process was a snap.
Great care was taken in the packaging of the screen protectors we ordered. The envelope used was bend resistant and the screens made it across North America with no damage at all.
The BStrong screen protectors arrived in a sturdy package
Out of the box, the BStrong screens come with a protective film and backing on the adhesive. They have a hard surface that gives the impression of being quite scratch resistant. BStrong screen protectors are also rigid – not at all like the majority of screen protectors on the market that are made from soft vinyl and use static or are 100% covered by light adhesives on one side. Strong’s solution to this problem is unique as far as I can tell.
Strong Engineering’s departure from the status quo of screen protectors is apparent as soon as you as soon as you try and mount a BStrong. If you have ever attempted to apply a screen protector to a PDA, then you know what an agonizingly frustrating experience this can be. Air bubbles and soft easy to scratch protectors can really dampen your enthusiasm for these products. Happily, the design of the BStrong eliminates this headache by using a thin strip of adhesive on the four edges of the screen rather than a full adhesive or electro-static backing. Application of the screens is a 30 second job. There are no issues with air bubbles.
The M200 screen fit perfectly without the adhesive stripe interfering with my view of the LCD. This is because the M200 has a glass screen that extends half an inch past the LCD screen on each side (kind of like the matting you would see on a framed painting). Averatec’s Tablet screen is designed differently. It has a plastic frame around the LCD like most notebooks do. Unfortunately this means that the BStrong must be secured via adhesive to part of the viewable area of the screen (approximately a quarter of an inch on each side). You can still see through the adhesive areas, but it is noticeable. Other than this small area, these protective screens have no adverse affect on the LCD viewing experience.
Toshiba M200 Tablet PC Notebook with BStrong screen cover on
These screens feel right too. In the case of the M200, I felt that the BStrongs closely matched the feel of the M200’s screen. How Tablet screens should feel is very much a matter of personal preference, but I really like the BStrong’s smooth surface. I use my Tablet with Corel Painter and did not encounter any problems. I should also point out that I use the Wacom Penabled driver for greater pressure sensitivity and the BStrong had no adverse effect on my Tablet sketching and painting activities.
Averatec C3500 with BStrong screen protector
In long-term use, the BStrong screens perform exactly as expected. I initial impression was that they would be quite scratch resistant and actual use bares this out. After four months of use, one screen protector is just starting to show signs of wear on the M200 and the C3500 still looks good. We ordered two for each but have not needed to use our backups yet.
This is an easy product to recommend. BStrong screen protectors are inexpensive insurance against damaging your tablet’s screen. There is virtually no impact on viewability (if that is a word) and their smooth surface feels right. Unlike other products, there is no problem applying these protectors to your screen – no trouble with air bubbles at all. The BStrong requires very little adhesive to hold the protectors in position which means they can be easily removed. From what I have seen, they are quite scratch resistant and wear slowly. The durability is very impressive for such an inexpensive product.
The final point I would like to make is regarding customer service. We ordered a couple of screen protectors for a Toshiba M200 and Averatec C3500. There was some trouble with shipping whereby the package was delivered to the wrong address. Strong Engineering demonstrated exceptional service and couriered a set of screen protectors using a better delivery service than what was paid for. I did not disclose that the items were for review purposes.
So, combine a great product with excellent support and you have something that is easy to recommend. If you need a screen protector for your Tablet, or are sitting on the fence as to whether or not you need one because of price, then you owe it to yourself to try out Strong Engineering’s BStrong screen protectors.
Company Site and Purchase
BStrong Screen Protectors by Strong Engineering (http://strongengineering.com/bstrong.htm)
Laptop Screen Protector Store: Laptop Screen Protectors
Tablet PC Screen Protectors Store: Tablet PC Screen Protectors