Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Screen cleaners eliminate smudges, bring back the "new" look

18

July

Touchscreens on smartphones and tablets are constantly victims of smudges: from fingers, makeup, perspiration and maybe splatters from your morning coffee. But you don't want to clean them with just anything. If you use a cloth, or maybe even your T-shirt, there might be some embedded grit which will scratch the surface. Tissue or paper towels is still coarse and won't do much to clean the glass well. A screen wipe it the way to go.

I tested out a couple -- the iEraser and Cloth Addiction -- that did the job well. Best parts: no chemical sprays or cleaning agents needed. And no lint!

iEraser

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The iEraser looks a bit like a whiteboard eraser and is made for tablets and screens. A specially treated microfiber pad, which is attached to a rigid backing, it's easy to grasp and glide across the glass surface. Just a couple of swipes "erase" fingerprints, smudges and dust, and leaves the screen with a brand-new glossy finish. It's good to use on the iPad, tablets, laptops, netbooks, desktop monitors, flat screen TV, touchscreens, LCD screen, and other glossy glass screen surface. On its website:

Using absorption and principles of static electrodynamics, The iEraser is able to attract and lift any dust, dirt or oily deposits from the screen with ease, leaving a clean and smear free iPad touchscreen or any screen surface on your computer and electronic equipment.

The iEraser is meant to be used on a dry surface, so if you did splash coffee or food on it, clean it up first and let dry. And it can't get into some crevices, including edges along the case for the device.

I wish there was a case or a cover to protect the cover to keep the dirt and grit off the pad.

The 2.75-inch by 4-inch iEraser comes in three colors: black, pink or white and are $14.95 each at theiEraser.com. (For each iEraser sold, the company donates 25 cents to charity.) It can be customized with a logo printed on the back.

NOTE: The company says this isn't meant to be used on smartphones because of facial oils and makeup. (Though I did use it on my iPhone, and it cleaned very well, but was a bit oversized for a smartphone.) The website says it will introduce a smartphone version soon. I hope it's a bit smaller.

Cloth Addiction

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Next, I tried Cloth Addiction, which is more like a regular microfiber cloth you might use to clean your glasses... except more tightly woven and cleans better. Two sizes come in a packet: a 7-inch by 7-inch cloth and a 8.85-inch by 12-inch. Most microfiber cloths are tiny, big enough to clean with your fingertips on small surfaces, like phones, eyeglasses and other contoured and nonflat surfaces. With the larger one, you can use your whole palm to swipe the smudges clean. These work on screen protectors also. I also tried it on the screen of an in-dash plastic LCD screen. No problem.

These densely woven cloths can pick up water, grease, oil, and other liquids in addition to picking up dust and clearing off smudges. They lock in the dirt until it's washed. Yes, these are machine- or hand-washable. (But don't use fabric softener or beach, and don't iron).

Photographers, these work very well on cleaning lenses. The dust just lifts off and stays off. No streaks or residue. And it won't take up much room in the camera bag.

Cloth Addiction is $8.95 per pack at www.clothaddiction.com.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 12:20pm]

    

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