I could have review this product the day I bought it. But I want to evaluate it after a week of use as I was skeptical then of how a “cheap” product can be so effective in protecting a notebook against a “silent killer”.
Silent killer of Keyboard
So what is the first accessory you need to buy to protect your notebook ? Nothing as notebook nowadays is self-sufficient ? Think again. Ask yourself what is the number one enemy in notebook ? Still can’t figure out ? What can easily cause a notebook malfunction when you out in the open unprotected against the rainy weather ? Should be obvious to you by now that water is the major culprit of notebook damage especially keyboard malfunction . When suddenly certain keyboard keys stop working then you should suspect that water is the main culprit because all it takes to damage a keyboard is some negligible drop of water onto the keyboard.
Aside from water, there are also particle that may drop into the keyboard making the keyboard to behave erratically.
I should know better. Previously I have two ‘expensive’ notebooks which suffer from keyboard malfunction due to tiny drops of water onto the keyboard. Just few droplets of water are devastating enough to render the whole notebook useless. What happens is that water is a good conductor of electricity and it is able to quickly short-circuit the keyboard circuitry rendering some keys un-functional. As both notebooks were under still warranty then, there were no charge in repairing but the inconvenience of having to send and wait for weeks without notebook was enough for discomfort. Be warn, it is not cheap once the warranty is void. Although the price of notebook has dropped tremendously over the years, the cost of servicing and repairing are instead increasing. In fact, due to the low cost, fast technological innovation, and the intense competitiveness of the notebook market, the profit margin for vendors are constantly challenged and eroded. Therefore, the notebook vendors always want to keep inventory low, and therefore without economies of scale, computer spare parts specific to notebook are control items and expensive to manufacture. As such, in order to discourage user from repairing, the price of servicing and repairing becomes prohibitive once warranty is void to encourage user to purchase another notebook. Still, user can opt for repair shop which salvage computer parts for repair service though still not cheap. So to look in another way, making servicing and repairing expensive is one way to recoup the cost of investment for notebook companies.
Think warranty will protect notebook against water damage ?
It is notable that most notebook vendors will not honour the warranty if the notebook is damaged due to water spill (official warranty will indicate this condition). In fact, I observed that the keyboard component is specially designed to retain the evidence of water spill. There is shiny metallic layer under the keyboard which when contact with water will retain a permanent obvious ‘stain’ that is sufficient evidence of water presence. And whether the warranty is then still valid will depend on the ‘mercy’ of the service-man.
Just to give you some ideas of how much to repair a notebook keyboard. If I could recall on the price of repairing. Even then these are positive estimate because these price are around two years ago. It could be more now.
Acer notebook keyboard : S$200
Toshiba notebook keyboard : S$$260
As you can see, a keyboard repair can easily take up 20% of overall cost of the notebook ! The lower the cost of notebook, the higher the perceived cost the keyboard.
Everyone who purchase Acer notebook should get extended warranty that covers 2nd and 3rd years. By far, I find that Acer notebook represents the best in value and servicing. It has exemplary repair service that guarantee 2 hours repair. I had my keyboard replaced entirely with new spare part (not refurnished part) under 30 mins.
On the other hand, I had no such luck with Toshiba. I needed to wait for 2 weeks for collection as keyboard component needed to ship from oversea.
In order to get extended warranty the smart way rather than pay specifically for it, wait for computer show, like Comdex, PC Show. In there, not only you get bargain and freebies, you also get free extended warranty that in totally can easily save you S$300.
Membrane-skin Keyboard Protector
Prevention is better than the cure. So what better solution to protect the notebook keyboard is to have a protective thin membrane-skin layer on top of the keyboard without been obtrusive to typing. The keyboard protector make up of thin and strong membrane skin is first popularised by MacBook notebook. Macbook is lucrative market for accessory and one of the popular products is the membrane-skin keyboard protector which is specially design to fit perfectly with the notebook keyboard . The membrane-skin actually enclave the key to give its a professional look. However, the PC notebook market is so diverse and variant that it is impossible to develop custom-made keyboard protector that fit nicely. Rather, the PC version eschew the enclaved look and just deliver a flat piece of membrane that fit into every notebook. And if the membrane-skin is too large, one can cut it to size. The lightly-adhesive side of the skin against the keyboard hold the skin firmly make sure that ‘dune’ is not formed too excessively.
So how does that work in real world ? Surprisingly, it works pretty well and membrane does not disrupt typing operation. In fact, I like the feel of the membrane as it provides friction and rubbery feel.
As used in my notebook
So let show some images.
The packaging and the skin when held high. Want some facial mask to protect against pimple ? Might just do the job as well .
It is very thin and and fit well quite nicely. Some heavily used keys can be identified by the membrane sticking to the key.
Look how nicely it fits the keyboard.
Notice the ‘dune’ but rest ensured that it does not affect typing operation. The keys remain as responsive and functional as well.
Successfully protect against liquid.
In summary, the washable membrane-skin keyboard protector is highly versatile and valuable for
Protect against water.
Protect against particles and dirt.
Protect screen against scratch from keys when notebook is closed.
Prevent keyboard lettering from wearing.
Provide a ‘frictional and rubbery’ comfort in typing.
Best of ALL, it costs only $$9 – $10 and hence it is a must-buy as a effective insurance to prevent undesirable object from entering the keyboard. It is relatively a small price to pay compare to the cost and inconvenience of keyboard replacement .
For those in Singapore, they can get it in Sim Lim Square. Quite surprising, not many computer accessory shops carry the product, and there are different brands and cost but one shouldn’t need to fork out more than $10. I recommended the one from following shop because the price is reasonable and it is where I purchased mine.
Sim Lim Square :
Best Price Computers PTD LTD, #05-66/67
So let’s not delay anymore, start prolonging the life of your keyboard by getting the membrane-skin keyboard protector.
Product: Membrane-skin Keyboard Protector
Cost: $9 -$10.