One of my favorite products is, of all things, a small piece of fabric. This strip of material I ran across during my jump into the Mac world two decades ago is something I now use every day. As ridiculous as that may sound, RadTech’s Optex products tend to sell themselves: usually if I show someone what it does and how well it works, RadTech ends up with another customer.
I was reminded of my long lasting admiration of RadTech’s line when they sent out a customer newsletter a few days back speculating on the next round of Mac releases.
I bought my first modern Macintosh, a used Ruby Red iMac G3, back in the summer of 2003. Within a year, I’d gone all in on using a Mac as my regular computer and had swapped the iMac for a PowerBook G4 (the predecessor to the MacBook Pro).
The 12” PowerBook G4 was one of the finest laptops ever made — I’m still convinced of that nineteen years later. But it also had an issue that is common now but wasn’t nearly so much so back then: the laptop was so thin that the keyboard would leave fingerprint marks on the screen. (This was back when most laptops were so bulky, like the Dell mine replaced, that the screen and keyboard never came near each other.)
Searching for a good way to care for my new computer, I ran across RadTech, which made the “ScreenSaverz” — a thin layer of a proprietary microfiber cloth called Optex that could sit between the keyboard and the screen to keep the latter safe and clean.
Not only did it help keep finger oils from constantly leaving marks on the screen, Optex also happened to be a very good cleaning cloth.
Back in my first review of RadTech’s product on OFB, I noted that Optex was far less abrasive than other optical grade cleaning cloths I tested. When my screen did get dirty, I always had the best cleaning cloth I’d ever owned there with me. I was hooked.
That first Apple laptop of mine spent its entire life with a ScreenSaverz over its keyboard and a companion “PowerSleevz” (now called “RadSleevz”) wrapped around the laptop when it went in my briefcase. Even as it was on its last leg, people would still see me pull it out and think it was brand new because of what a great job these two pieces of stretchy microfiber did of protecting it and keeping it clean.
(That the cloths themselves didn’t look worn either added to the impression of an old computer being new. Often our cases trash up nice looking devices, these don’t.)
I’ve gone through a variety of Apple laptops in the time since that amazing little one died in 2010, but every time I’ve replaced my computer, I’ve dutifully gone over to RadTech and ordered a new set of Optex cloths for it. It’s just part of my computer buying ritual.
Occasionally, RadTech will send a sample of a new variant our way at OFB Labs to look at, but as is the case with the best products, little changes. Little should.
The biggest changes in recent years have been changes in the size of the two cloths to fit the latest models. Because of the tight tolerances ultra-thin laptops have, what fits one model very likely won’t fit another model.
When my preorder of the ScreenSaverz for my most recent Mac, the then new 14” MacBook Pro, was delayed I shopped for an alternative. I tried ordering a keyboard protective cloth from a company called ShaggyMax. The quality of the cloth itself seemed nice enough, but their product lacked the care for a perfect fit that RadTech has always shown in my dealings with them.
My new Mac didn’t quite reach the fully closed position with the ShaggyMax cloth covering the keyboard. It was too thick and covered too much surface area. I didn’t feel like finding out what that might do to my MacBook’s hinge, so once RadTech released their revised ScreenSaverz, I went back to it. It fit perfectly. As always.
RadTech’s Optex offerings go beyond Mac laptop users, by the way. They have generic models of the ScreenSaverz for PCs and other size cloths that I’ve found great for my camera equipment. What I can say? Two decades as a customer later, every single Optex cloth I’ve bought has been exceptionally well made.
So did I just pen a whole column that was a love letter to a piece of fabric? Yeah. I know it may sound ridiculous, but so be it. For all the (expensive) junk sold out there to protect our devices, this one is reasonably priced and has proven itself by years of keeping my devices clean and protected.