With the Kensington Privacy Screen, you can keep your eyes on your own work!

Is there anything more aggravating than a shoulder pirate?  Before you jump into the gutter, let me explain.  As a father of four, I cannot scroll through Facebook, look at memes, read emails, watch movies, scroll through Amazon, etc., without a bunch of “can I see, let me see, I wanna see.”  I do not know where they come from; they suddenly appear out of nowhere.  Sometimes, it is a bit uncanny and borderline scary.  I am not interested in truly adult-themed content, but there are times that I yearn for a little privacy to complete my tasks.  As an example, I have had a HIPPA compliant shield on my monitor at work for years.  This setup is designed to shield patient data from unwanted eyes.  Thanks to Kensington, we can add a layer of privacy to our MacBooks when at home and when on-the-go. 

The Kensington UltraThin Magnetic Privacy Screen for MacBook Pro 15” arrived in a 14 7/8 inches wide by 9 5/8 inches tall by 13/16 inches thick retail package. I hope I am not unique in savoring the unboxing of a new device. I enjoy quality marketing, quality packaging, and yearn for the experience. Perhaps this provides a bit of nostalgia for opening up trading card packs in my youth. The sterile-white background reminded me a bit of an Apple product. The smooth color served as the perfect backdrop for the company and product names along the top left of the panel and for the centered, glossy-image of the privacy screen. I loved the contrasting colors of the black/blue font against the white backdrop, and the design allowed the 10-inches wide by 6-inches tall full-color image to truly pop. With a quick glance at the cover, you should have no question about the nature of the device, about the utility, nor about the installation process. Without reading the title, the small “MacBook Pro 15″ logo, coupled with the obliquely angled MacBook and screen protector should tell you everything you needed to know about the screen cover. The side panels provided the Kensington logo along the top and the same MacBook Pro 15” icon along the bottom of the panel. For continuity, they added a thin grey line along the bottom of the cover/side panels. This line served as a “follow me” point and drew the visual focus around to the back of the case, like a ribbon around a present.

The posterior panel proved to be quite busy. The Blue product name was easily identifiable along the top of the panel in blue-colored English font. Beneath this, the company translated their product name into twenty-two different languages. Just beneath this section, you will find three labeled-icons in the same languages mentioned above (EN, ES< FR-EU, FR-CA, PT-EU, PT-BR, DE, IT, NL, FI, DK, NO, RU, HU, SE, TR, PL, CZ, AR, JA, KR, TW, CN): 1. Magnetic Strip Makes it Easily Attached and Removed. 2. Protected Viewing Angle +/- 30 degrees. 3. Reduces Harmful Blue Light. On the right hand of the panel, they included the same picture as the cover. I did not feel that this added anything to the experience and likely added to the cost of the packaging. To save on cost and visual appeal, this section could have been left blank. Along the lower right, you will discover a Limited 2 Year Warranty icon, information about the packaging contents, and product manufacturing labels. trademarks. As an aside, I found it quite humorous that they had to include “Laptop Not Included” on the packaging. Turning to the bottom panel, you will find the international addresses for the company. Overall, the packaging experience was largely positive and Kensington did a good job at describing the product and promoting it to the user.

To access the product, I lifted the side flap and slid the cardboard tray out of the main packaging. Resting atop the cardboard-pedestal, I found a 14 1/8 inches wide by 9 7/16 inches tall semi-opaque plastic sleeve, a small package with warranty/magnetic-warning card/instruction- manual/microfiber cleaning cloth, and the dark screen shield. Hidden at the very bottom of the clear envelope, I found a clear plastic panel with sticker for the lower edge of the screen shield. I caution you to look closely through the product packaging before disposing of anything because that little panel will likely end up getting thrown away. Prior to installing the screen shield, I sprayed some Woosh upon the microfiber towel and cleaned the surface of the MacBook Pro 15″ screen. I did not want to risk scratching the surface of the monitor. I attached a small triangle sticker along the bottom left and bottom right corners and then aligned the top of the panel with the top of the monitor. With a strong attraction, the magnets completed the installation. As an aside, I tested the product with and without the small stickers and found that it worked just as well with and without them. If you desire to add/remove the magnetic screen shield frequently, I would consider leaving out that step. To remove the screen protector, slide a fingernail under the lateral edge and remove the top magnetic attachment point. You can then lift up on the included sticker and cover the sticker with plastic. Slide the screen protector into the included plastic protective sleeve and store the screen protector for later. When ready, slide the screen protector out of the plastic case, align the magnetic strip across the top of the MacBook Pro 15″ and let the magnets do their job another time. Thinking ahead, the Kensington name was placed at the top left, to avoid blocking any screen real-estate, and the forward-facing camera was not blocked thanks to a trapezoidal cutout.

The Kensington Privacy screen shield was incredibly easy to install/remove. I liked the design, the installation mechanism, and the overall fit/finish of the Kensington screen shield. If you have ever had to use a privacy shield on a work device, this system worked very similarly. The polarized material did add a bit of tinting to my screen and made it appear to be on the dimmer side. However, the benefit was quickly realized when I rotated my MacBook slightly or moved from right to left. The polarized panel allowed me to fully view the screen when my gaze was in line with the panel. However, as I increased the angle of view, the screen would darken and eventually blur completely. This effect was a bit tempered by a bright image. For example, I navigated to Macsources.com and perused an amazing review of the new AirPods Max by Nicholas Calderone. Text-heavy panels were nearly unreadable, whereas the headphones’ outline/shape image was still easily identifiable. I performed a similar test with my work computer and found that the technology seems to work better for font/text than imagery. Using a quick internet search of “clothing model,” I found the same limitations held. The more color/imaging a site has, the less the screen shields will actually deflect. However, neither the vibrancy of the page nor the color of the font seemed to matter much. The screen shield did a great job at preventing someone from reading what was on the screen but will still allow them to view the images on the screen. I do not feel that this test showed a limitation of the Kensington device, rather of the technology as a whole. To further test the product, I changed the screen brightness to a dimmer setting and found that it further reduced on-lookers’ ability to glimpse my screen.

As a general rule, I dislike people reading over my shoulder and want at least a hint of privacy. This device will help me maintain a touch of peace on my home MacBook without adding any heft, bulk, or difficulty to my every-day-carry setup. I was pleased that I could choose to close the screen without removing the screen protector or that I could choose to remove the device entirely. If you have the 13″ or the 16″ versions of the MacBook Pro, do not fret because Kensington also made privacy screens to suit your needs. The “seamless” magnetic integration made the device feel like it was designed as a part of the MacBook Pro and not as an afterthought accessory. The included notch, the magnetic attachment, and the ability to close/open the MacBook without removing the case proved that tenet. Although I could not test the features, the website noted that the shield reduced blue light by 22% and significantly reduced glare. The matte finish did not decrease my ability to work, and the surface protected my MacBook screen and reduced fingerprints. Lastly, the product will allow your device to sleep/awaken without removing the cover, which was highly convenient. After several days with the product, I actually forgot it was still attached to my screen. Only after my son said, “Dad, what’s wrong with your screen?” did I crack a little smile and remember that I was trying to keep the shoulder pirates at bay.

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