3M Gold Privacy Filter Review


Do you love sipping lattes at a coffee shop while writing the next best-selling thriller, crunching numbers, or surfing TMZ while looking like you are doing something more important? In a public place your screen is not always your private space. This can especially be of concern when working with confidential information.  Lets face it; we are curious people and can admit to glancing at a stranger’s computer screen before. The 3M Gold Privacy Filter helps prevent wandering eyes from seeing the contents of your computer screen, and instead they get a vibrant golden reflection.

Left side without filter; Right side with filter

The 3M Gold Privacy Filters claims to provide greater privacy protection and increased clarity, by 14 percent, than standard black out filters. It can also protect a screen from scratches and marks.   Judging from the difference between a black filter and this gold filter, I do see a slight difference in clarity and improvement in distortion with the gold filter.  Its glossy surface provides increased clarity, however, its high gloss finish makes your screen highly reflective even to a user sitting in front of it.  Various lighting situations can increase or decrease the reflection.  I found it to be worse when the light source was directly behind or shining on me. The brighter the object in front of the screen the more it reflects.  It helps to increase the screen brightness to offset the intensity of the reflection.

15.4" 3M Gold Filter on a 15" MacBook Pro

15.4" 3M Gold Filter on a 13" MacBook

Off-axis viewers at 30 degrees get an orangey gold reflection. The reflection reminds me of ski goggles or a pair of sunglasses.  Its intense color boldly proclaims privacy, which can also be a distraction to others.   Its vibrant color may attract more attention then deter it.

Want a break from the gold gloss? Simply flip the filter over for the matte black out filter.

Flip over for matte black filter

Accompanying the filter are clear plastic tabs with sticky adhesive for the side of your screen.  Two long tabs and six smaller tabs are placed on the raised perimeter of the screen to hold the filter in place.  The top of the filter includes a divot that allows you remove it easily from your screen.  The tabs jut out to hold the filter in place. Taking the tabs off and on makes it loose its stickiness, not to mention the adhesive can collect dirt if taken on and off.

clear flat plastic tabs

Tab on side of computer

You are out of luck if you have a screen without a raised edge, like my 15” MacBook Pro, which has a unibody design.  The tabs are useless for most MacBook that use this design (most MacBooks made after 2008).  As an alternative I propped the filter against the screen.  This solution isn’t the best because as you can see, the screen does not get completely covered, leaving the screen exposed on the top and side.  A solution could be to get the next bigger size, but this seems like a waste.

Size was an issue. I tried out the 15.4” filter for a 15.4” inch MacBook. Due to the unibody design of the screen the filter did not fit my screen properly. This is disappointing.  I used the 15.4” on my 13” MacBook and got overlap on the right and left side and it covered half my camera, but at least it covered all of the LCD screen. 3M needs to work on sizing, especially for MacBooks and monitors without raised sides.

Cost ranges based on size. List price ranges from $48 for 10.1” to $179 for 19” versus the black for $40 to $120 in the respective sizes. Compared to a black privacy filter the gold filter is a little costlier.  Why get the costlier gold privacy filter than the black out filter?  It comes down to more clarity, but not much, and a matter of taste in color.


Product Information

Price:$48 - $179
  • increased clarity and protection versus a black out filter
  • heavy reflection, sizing issues for Macs
Posted in: Computer Gear, Laptops and Gear, Reviews
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • dzad November 27, 2010, 2:47 pm

    quite frankly, this 3M filter is terrible. i was using it a coffeeshop and i saw a guy staring at my screen and he saw the screenplay i was writing thru the filter and when i looked up at him, he asked “what’s the screenplay about?” don’t waste your money on this piece of trash.

  • DellXPS December 24, 2010, 9:28 am

    The 3M Gold Privacy Filter is horrible. It is like a gold mirror and why would I want that? I returned it and purchased a 13.3″ Widescreen ViewGuard Anti-Glare Privacy Filter. Works great and isn’t a mirror.

  • Adam Gibson January 14, 2011, 4:12 pm

    I bought a few of these for people at work. I had to cut them to fit but the tabs work even on screens that are flush with the bezel if you have some spare tabs from other filters. I just doubled up on the tabs to raise them off of the display a little to give the filter room to slide under the tabs.

    At about 45 degrees you can not read the screen at all and works well. The filter does give a little glare but not much more than the screen itself does. The gold color when looking from a side angle really looks nice IMHO.

    I wish they made the gold privacy filter for the iphones too. I actually used the clippings to create one for my iphone but of course it doesn’t stick so it isn’t very useful :). Anyone know of some kind of film to use between a piece of this and the iphone screen for temporary adhesion?

  • tiktianc September 20, 2011, 8:45 am

    no offense, but the majority of business users (which are who 3M are targeting with this product) won’t be using macbooks which use non industry standard screen sizes.
    I feel that this website does provide the most honest reviews I’ve seen, but some of the time they’re just off topic and irrelevant as the purpose and intended customers of the product aren’t considered in the review.

  • MacsSuck February 8, 2014, 10:28 pm

    These filters are meant to be used by businesses. Quite frankly, no IT department in a serious corporate business would order Macs for employees so you point is moot.

  • Tod1d April 25, 2014, 9:54 am

    I’m pretty disappointed. My company provided this filter for me, but I know it wasn’t cheap.
    I expected the screen to be completely blocked at 30 degrees or less.
    Rather, it starts to darken at 30 deg., is acceptable at 45 deg. and completely blocked at about 50 deg.
    The crux of the biscuit: It does not meet my privacy needs.

Leave a Comment