Smudge-prone netbook de-glossed with scouring pad

Glossy plastic is the scourge of the mobile world. Simply put, draping notebooks in shiny plastic that looks good buffed up for press photos but soon succumbs to a mess of fingerprints and smudges is an epic fail of design. Fortunately, it’s one that may be easily correctable with a little elbow grease.

Lifehacker’s Jason Fitzpatrick was tired of the smudges accumulating on his glossy Eee PC, so he took a scouring pad to the shiny plastic. The results speak for themselves. Gone is the gloss, which has been replaced by lightly textured finish that Fitzpatrick says makes fingerprints "barely visible."

Those averse to physical activity will be pleased to note that it only took a few minutes of dry scrubbing to erode the Eee PC’s top coat. Ultra-fine 000# steel wool will do the job, although Fitzpatrick recommends green 3M Scotch Brite pads. Unfortunately, the only Scotch Brite pad in my kitchen is soiled with a couple of weeks worth of gunk that I’d rather not grind into my laptop’s top panel. Lifehacker’s results look promising enough that I’m going to pick up a fresh scouring pad and give this a shot, though.

Comments closed
    • osmosium
    • 9 years ago

    What a moron.

    Its only a matter of time before one of the MILLIONS of tiny iron fibers shorts it out.

      • bobboobles
      • 9 years ago

      Sure is a good thing he used the green plastic fiber cleaning pad then!

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    Now we need a safe mod for removing the glare from our glossy screens. I don’t think this technique would provide a uniform enough finish on a screen. Any ideas?

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      Clings. Someone must make anti-glare screen clings. If not, someone make them.

    • The Dark One
    • 9 years ago

    If only I could abrade some of the posters in here with a steel wool pad.

    • link626
    • 9 years ago

    you don’t want a matte palm rest.

    the oils from your hand will stain the palm rest over time.

    that’s what happened on my old dell, back when they didn’t make shiny laptops.

    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    aw come’on geoff, complaining about smudges on glossy shiny surfaces is like buying a white car and complaining about how easy it is for it to look dirty.

    now again, it seams all pc hardware we get sold today are white cars.

      • dmitriylm
      • 9 years ago

      Actually, its black cars that are a pain in the butt to keep clean and detailed.

    • odizzido
    • 9 years ago

    Intersting. While I don’t really care about finger prints all that much, I do care about the sun reflecting into my eyes off the laptop. It doesn’t happen that often, and I can move if it does…..but it doesn’t have to happen at all.

    • Sahrin
    • 9 years ago

    Hey, cool! Maybe this will work on glossy LCD displays too!

      • ludi
      • 9 years ago

      Attempted matte finish mod in 3…2…

    • quarantined
    • 9 years ago

    I wonder how well 600 grit sandpaper would work to smooth out the graininess from the scouring pad… I’d try it, but fortunately I don’t have any glossy handheld devices.

    • blitzy
    • 9 years ago

    lol there are idiots who are trying this on their screen, judging from the comments on lifehacker

    • Forge
    • 9 years ago

    I figured I thought this was common knowledge. It usually looks much better if you choose and stay with a nice straight grain, as well.

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 9 years ago

    wow while I may not like glossy surfaces, I am not going to destroy any hopes of selling it by removing the finish

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      sell it as a “custom matte” finish and double the price!

    • sluggo
    • 9 years ago

    “Epic fail”? Seriously?

    I’ve never really understood the TR staff’s seemingly unanimous OCD w/r/t fingerprints /[

      • khands
      • 9 years ago

      It’s not about the oils being there or not being there, it’s about the visibility of the smudging.

      • TrptJim
      • 9 years ago

      Do you not see a problem with companies making said handheld items with materials that accentuate fingerprints instead of minimizing them?

        • sluggo
        • 9 years ago

        Not really. Like I said, I don’t share others’ revulsion to fingerprints so it’s not an issue for me. I don’t shine my laptop and I don’t polish my socket wrenches.

        If the argument is that the fingerprints detract from the look of the device, then the manufacturer’s decision is simply one of numbers – how many prefer glossy versus matte, regardless of the fingerprint issue. If the argument is that a matte surface provides higher utility, well, I’m afraid I just don’t understand that argument at all.

          • SomeOtherGeek
          • 9 years ago

          But! But, you must, MUST, polish your car tools!

        • cphite
        • 9 years ago

        /[

      • jackaroon
      • 9 years ago

      Do you drive a white car? Do you often wear white pants? Do you have a permanently mounted magnifying glass pointed at your computer keyboard? Do you blow your nose and show it to other people? Is there a periscope going into your kitchen sink’s garbage disposal? Do you have clear sewer pipes running through the basement? Do you and your partner spray luminol on the bed before doing it under a black light?

      I just don’t think you should shine a light on the every-day schmutz that we could just as easily choose to ignore. It’s not going to hurt us . . . I just want it out of my face. Cleaning it all the time is the OCD path.

        • Trymor
        • 9 years ago

        +1 +2 +3.1415…whatever it is resolved to be these days…heh.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          Ask Wolfram Alpha “pi to /[

    • Ryhadar
    • 9 years ago

    My gateway netbook has quite a few scratches on the lid, so I might as well give it a try when I have the time. The worst I will do is just give it more scratches.

    Thanks for the tip.

    • cphite
    • 9 years ago

    So… rather than fingerprints and smudges that can be wiped away easily (if they really bother you in the first place) you have a laptop that looks like it’s been rubbed with steel wool?

    I dunno… is that better?

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      As long as you’re capable of doing it in uniform manner, I’d say yes.

      • Spotpuff
      • 9 years ago

      I actually prefer matte finishes. Stainless steel appliances and brushed metal are good examples of that.

        • khands
        • 9 years ago

        ^This, it’s just difficult to do right manually.

          • AssBall
          • 9 years ago

          Yep it takes alot of time and concentration to do by hand without leaving imperfections or patterning.

        • Trymor
        • 9 years ago

        l[

          • AssBall
          • 9 years ago

          no… not really… There are lots of matte finishes on stainless products. You might be thinking of silver, which fingerprints can accelerate the oxidation of exponentially. Steel with lots of chromium, molybdenum, or tantalum (surgical steel) is quite resistant to oxidation and the elements.

          If you have polished chrome’d steel, sure the fingerprints will show up, but they wipe off even with dry cotton easily.

            • Trymor
            • 9 years ago

            All the Stainless Steel refrigerators in my local Sears and Home Depot are riddled with fingerprints. They are the only ‘matte finish’ appliances they have, AND the only ones that I can immediately see prints and smudges all over.

            We own a coffee pot, convection toaster oven, and a wireless thermometer that have a ‘matte’ SS finish. They all reqire more than a simple wipe to clean.

            • mattthemuppet
            • 9 years ago

            I agree 100% with this – I gave up trying to clean our matte brushed steel toaster and kettle and just lived with the finger prints/ smudges. At least glossy surfaces are smooth and easy to clean.

    • Dissonance
    • 9 years ago

    /[< It's a surface, if you are looking at the surface instead of the LCD/interface, you are doing it wrong.<]/ Are glossy palm rests and screen bezels close enough to the LCD/interface for you?

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    q[<"Glossy plastic is the scourge of the mobile world. Simply put, draping notebooks in shiny plastic that looks good buffed up for press photos but soon succumbs to a mess of fingerprints and smudges is _[

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      +1

      • Dissonance
      • 9 years ago

      /[< It's a surface, if you are looking at the surface instead of the LCD/interface, you are doing it wrong.<]/ Are glossy palm rests and screen bezels close enough to the LCD/interface for you? Ugh, reply fail.

        • Trymor
        • 9 years ago

        Whoosh….

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Except when I look at the screen, I see my reflection, and…HULK SMASH!

        • Trymor
        • 9 years ago

        + a whole bunch…lol.

      • Synchromesh
      • 9 years ago

      That’s like saying “quite a few people don’t care for missing paint on their car. If you are looking at it from the outside instead of driving, you are doing it wrong”.

        • indeego
        • 9 years ago

        Yep, that’s kinda like what I’m saying. The funny part is cars are glossy to the XXXTREME now.

        Your analogy happily works for cars with say matte paint or glossy paint, or even paint that is missing and the car is a reflective chrome mirror. Some people–dare I say many people–just don’t care and want the car to get from A to Bg{<.<}g

          • ludi
          • 9 years ago

          Yep, some do, in fact I know of a few right here at work. One guy’s neon got hit by a little old lady in very cold weather, cracked a sizable chunk out of the rear bumper. He refused to even take her insurance info.

          However, I wouldn’t expect to find those people posting on an automotive enthusiast forum, and similarly, I wouldn’t really expect to find those sort of laptop users posting on Tech Report.

            • indeego
            • 9 years ago

            Sorry forgot we’re supposed to be hivemind hereg{<.<}g Let me just take my laptop and LOUDLY OPEN IT SO EVERYONE IN THE CAFE CAN SEE HOW AWESOMELY UNREFLECTIVE I AM. THERE IS A LOGO WITH A FRUIT GLOWING. I NOW WILL BLUETOOTH UP AND HOP ON MY UNIFIXIE ALL GOATEE'd UP. DID YOU SEE MY TATSg{

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            Nah, not hivemind. But the user demographic here is going to care about this sort of thing considerably more than the total market of laptop users, so your rush to emphasize that NOT EVERYONE CARES ABOUT THIS! seems a little Quixotesque in my reckoning.

            Manufacturers aren’t using shiny plastics for any functional reason, it’s purely about appearance and current fashions — sort of like how consumer electronics tend to oscillate between silver finishes and black finishes on roughly a 3-5 year cycle. If that which is fashionable has disadvantages then it’s a fair point to say so.

            • etrigan420
            • 9 years ago

            Did you just say “Quixotesque”? That may very well be the coolest word I have ever tried to say to myself…

            How would that be pronounced? “Kee-ho-tesk”?

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            “Quick-sotesk.”

            • sluggo
            • 9 years ago

            Quixotic.

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