Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Photodon iMac anti-glare screen film review

I have a 20" core 2 duo iMac setup in my kitchen. However, the screen is sooo shiny and glossy, it's hard to read in the morning due to the sunlight reflecting off the screen. So I did a Google search and found this:

It's a custom sized anti-glare film for the iMac! They have a 20" and 24" version, anti-glare and clear. They both work as a screen protector as well, which is perfect since the whole family likes to touch the screen as they point, or the kids forget to cover their mouth when they sneeze.

Today, I installed the film on the screen per the directions. It was tough keeping the lint and dust off, but I just angled the screen down to minimize falling lint/dust from landing. I used the included wiping cloth with a bit of windex squirted on a corner to clean the screen off. Pulled the plastic film off the anti-glare film an inch at the top, applied it, and then pull the plastic film half way. Otherwise, the silicon adhesive wouldn't stick. I don't think the adhesive is either sufficient or "sticky" enough. More on that issue later.

My impression of the anti-glare film is that it isn't perfect. I was hoping to have a film that cuts a lot of the reflection without reducing visibility, but alas, there's still bright spots on the screen, just not as bright or focused. It also cut the brightness by 10-15% which isn't that big a deal since the max brightness is way too bright to begin with. There's also the "sparkles" typical of diffusers, which makes the whole screen look like it has water streaks. This is the most annoying part of the film. The other problem I have with it is that the edges don't cling to the screen. There's edge "bubbling" so to speak where it's not completely affixed to the screen. I can live with it, since it's in the black bezel area, but it tells me the silicon adhesive isn't sufficient. I have other silicon adhesive backed films on my phones and such, but I haven't had this issue with those.

Overall, I'll keep it just to protect the screen, but hopefully a better anti-glare film will be available sooner rather than later by Photodon or someone else. At least it'll help with the fingerprint clean up and potential scratches from pens and other things the kids use to point on the screen.


Unknown said...

Thanks! You are the first one to make a proper review of that film.

Unknown said...

Do you want an anti glare at no cost?

Easy, the older iMacs never had a protective LCD cover
Remember, the old iMac's? it was good, it had no glare. So if you want the same scenario simply use 2 suction caps and remove the front cover. Just stick the suctions on the top left & right portions of the screen & genly pull it towards you. It will release the magnets that is securing the front cover to the base.

There you have it!

Anti glare just like the old iMac's!

Unknown said...

You need to get proactive, and become part of the critical mass that will not let Apple get away with removing the matte iMac from its product line.

Look what others are saying too, by doing these google searches:

"refuse to buy" glossy imac
"will not buy" glossy imac
"cannot buy" glossy imac
"cannot stand glossy" imac
"will not get" glossy imac
"won't buy" glossy imac

"hate glossy" imac
"glossy sucks" imac
"do not like glossy" imac
"dislike glossy" imac
"detest glossy" imac
"cannot use a glossy" imac
angry glossy imac
"cannot stand glossy" matte imac

imac glossy "eye strain"

"I prefer matte" imac
"I like matte" imac
"bring back matte" imac
"I need matte" imac
glossy matte livid imac
"eyes start to hurt" glossy matte imac
"eyes hurt" glossy matte imac
"get a headache" glossy matte imac

The following poll is from

What type of screen do you prefer on the MacBook (Glossy or Matte)

Glossy 32.31 % (10007)

Matte 44.04 % (13639)

Don't Know 23.65 % (7324)

Total votes: 30,970

According to this Ars Technica article, 86% preferred matte screens:

Sure, many people like gloss screens because of its pop colors, but there are many who like matte. Apple needs to give us the choice.

Enter your protest at:

Anonymous said...

Hi Simon, thanks for the review. I'm thinking of buying some Photodon film. It's quite expensive here in the UK (Photodon don't ship small orders internationally it seems) but no-one else seems to be offering a 24" iMac solution right now.

I believe that the film-type they use has changed since your review, but would be interested to know if you still have the film on your screen, and if so if your opinion of it has changed over time using it. Did you come to live with the speckles, or did you remove the film? Did you find a better solution?

Thanks in advance,

Simon said...

Hi Robosoft.

I still have the film on it, and quite frankly, I don't mind it. It isn't the best solution, but I haven't seen anything else out there either, which is surprising. It's easy enough to find screen protectors, but not anti-glare. I think at this point, the best use is to protect the screen and reduce the shininess, rather than reduce glare.

Would I recommend it today? Yeah, only because it does reduce the shine and glare to some extent, plus I haven't found anything else that does what I want.

jdp said...

Are there still no alternative films that you are aware of? My eyes are very strained and i often feel quite sick (like motion sickness) from using the imac all day every day. I really need to do something now! Perhaps i should go for photodon if i can get it in the uk. Or maybe i should invest in a second hand matte display to hook up to the imac?

All tips greatly appreciated?

Simon said...


If you're contemplating getting second monitor to solve your problem, I'd highly recommend at least trying the anti-glare film first. As I mentioned, it doesn't cut the glare as much as I hoped it would, but it'd a lot easier on the eye than staring at a glossy screen. I'm really surprised nobody else has an anti-glare film out still.

Unknown said...

Hi Simon; This is Don from Photodon, we would like to also thank you for the honest review. Photodon realizes that our film is not the perfect answer to the Apple glass covered screen issue. It was Apple users that found us as a not so perfect answer to the high gloss screen.

Our LCD protective films are intended to be applied directly to an LCD screen, not on top of glass over an LCD. When applied to the iMac or MacBook Pro with the glass screens, it does reduce the glare fairly well as the photos on our web site illustrate ( It also creates what some call speckling or graininess. This is because the further you pull the film away from the LCD, the more diffused the image becomes. Thus the issue is not with the film but in the application. Our films were rated #1 and #3 in the shootout and remain the best value for normal laptop, tablet and desktop applications.

Many iMac and MacBook Pro users have found that our films are a good solution to the glare issue. A few others have been dissatisfied not with the antiglare properties but with the speckling or graininess issue. This is one of the reasons we provide with every order a sample piece of film that you can apply to your screen before applying the fitted film. This allows the customer the opportunity to return the film if unhappy with the way the sample piece looks.

If your just looking for protection and great clarity, we have started offering the crystal clear film for the MacBook Pro 15”. We would be able to do the same for any other screen types and we tend to do so by request. In the mean time we continue to look for better answers for our customers. Thank you for the opportunity this blog presents.

Unknown said...

Damn you Apple.

I have owned 13 different Macs since 1986. I've always been a satisfied and enthusiastic Mac owner. I've "sold" many family members on Macs. My new 27" iMac is a fabulous machine in every definition of the word, except one: this damed "mirror" monitor they put on it.

I sit at my home office and its like looking into a mirror with my windows and pictures staring back at me. What a terrible, terrible mistake Apple has made.

Ken Hampshire
Brighton, CO

Anonymous said...

I used to have an i mac and it was causing terrible eye strain,to the point that i had to bring the machine back and opt for the mac mini+matte screen monitor instead
Some remove the glass layer of the i mac to resolve the problem.

Stephan said...

I would like to pitch our IndieGoGo campaign "GlassFree for iMac".
We are planning to produce a black frame that replaces the glass in front of the iMac's display to reduce glare and eliminating the second focal plane.

Please feel free to check out the IndieGoGo campaign "GlassFree for iMac"
and our brand's website

Thank you for your time,