Eyes-On with HP and 3M's Built-In Privacy Screen for Laptops

LAS VEGAS - Executives who don't want others to peek at their notebook screens might want to check out the HP Elitebook 840. Available later this year, the Elitebook 840 has a built-in privacy screen — the result of a partnership between HP and 3M — which helps keep prying eyes at bay by limiting viewing angles.

At a meeting prior to CES, we had a chance to see the two companies' solution to what they call "visual hacking." On-screen was a document (several pictures of Marvel's Avengers characters in varying sizes) which we were able to see clearly until we pressed a keyboard shortcut that blacked out the screen. With just another press, the screen returned to normal.

From viewing angles roughly 45 degrees and further - like the ones you would be looking at if you were on a plane or walking past someone's laptop at a Starbucks, the screen was almost impossible to view. Almost all details were completely obscured, and the screen looked like it was off from just a few feet away. Directly in front of the screen the Avengers looked a little darker and less detailed, but we don't see this being a problem for reading or writing important documents.

Currently, those who want to keep the details of their screens from prying eyes have to buy a separate privacy screen—such as those made by 3M—which must be attached to the display all the times; HP and 3M's solution appeared to be extremely convenient in comparison.

We're looking forward to checking out the technology more closely when it debuts.