Confusion Explained: The Major Differences between Smart Glass and Smart Film

Smart Glass? Smart Film?

Well, aren’t they the same?

The fact is, no, they are two different smart technologies that work on the same electrical principles that revolve around the same kind of material: Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC), otherwise known as the PDLC film

When power is off, the molecules in the film or glass remain messy, unstructured and are all over the place. Think about when there’s a lack of discipline in school so kids tend to run around without much order. This is where the disordered glass molecules create a barrier, a curtain of privacy, preventing others from looking in yet natural light can still be felt.

But when power is applied, the glass molecules are forced to stay in line. With a proper structure now, the switchable glass goes into a transparent state. The simple diagram below helps illustrate the working principle of smart film and smart glass very well: 

The state of switchable smart panels when power is applied versus when power is off. Source: inhabitat.com

Both are eco-friendly solutions with the ability to block UV rays as well as providing heat and sound insulation. That said, what are the differences between smart glass and smart film? Let us go through their advantages and compare between the two.

Advantages of Smart Glass

Smart glass is a technology whereby a PDLC switchable film is wedged between two glass panels. It’s like a sandwich, except this is one switchable glass sandwich. There are many different types of smart glass like standard clear glass, hollow glass, brilliant colour glass, fireproof glass, one-way glass, blinds smart glass and pattern blinds smart glass.

But why use smart glass in your space? These are the benefits of smart glass:

  • Durable, hence a longer lifespan
  • Better soundproofing
  • 100% Customisable solution
  • Suitable for outdoor applications such as touch screen infomercial board

Advantages of Smart Film

Smart film, on the other hand, is a thin PDLC film that is switchable and flexible. As opposed to its sister product which is the smart glass, smart film is applied outside — the film is stuck onto glass panels and can be operated almost immediately.

Some smart film products that are available in the market are S-film, S-window, S-window touch and S-mirror. The benefits of these smart self-adhesive films include:

  • Convenient and fast application
  • Easily transforms existing glass for multipurpose use
  • Cost-efficient solution
  • Saves time incorporating smart tech into your space

Which One is Best: Smart Glass or Smart Film?

It is common to feel lost when deciding between the best switchable privacy product for your space. After all, both of these smart technologies seem to have their own perks but which one is most ideal for you?

To help you figure out the right solution, here’s a quick comparison of the differences between Smart Glass and Smart Film:

Smart GlassPropertySmart Film
More expensiveCostLess expensive
WaterproofWaterproofingNon-washable, only for dry area as surface is exposed
High clarityClarityLow clarity
100% customisable due to wide range of colour option and product rangeCustomisationLimited colour option and product range
High durabilityDurabilityCan be easily damaged during wiring and cutting
Long lifespan, can reach up to 10-15 yearsLifespanShorter lifespan
Suitable for outdoors and commercial settings as privacy screens and projection screensProject TypeSuitable for indoor settings as privacy film panels, windows, mirrors and double-sided projection screens
Smart glass comes in a variety of colours to suit your needs. Source: intelligentglass.net
The smart film, S-Mirror, has the capability to change between mirrors, television and windows at the flick of a switch. 

Both smart glass and smart film may differ in certain properties but on a whole, you can find these smart technologies being applied in places such as offices, building facade, medical centres, hotels, bars and restaurants as well as residential homes.

In order to get the most ideal solution for your space, you should be clear about what you require of these switchable products before you proceed with the installation.

One-Flick Privacy and Projection of Your Choice

In conclusion, smart glass and smart film are two different smart solutions, each having their own advantages and disadvantages, as with all types of products. Choosing one over another depends heavily on your purpose and what you expect to achieve from installing these smart tech.

Chiefway has been a leading manufacturer of smart glass and smart film in Malaysia, providing a range of smart solutions for many businesses, from smart film and smart glass to adhesive LED film and photochromic window film. 

With years of experience helping businesses incorporate smart technologies into their commercial spaces, buildings and offices, your path to a hassle-free smart glass and smart film installations begin here.

Come connect with us to explore the unique applications the Smart Glass Technology and smart films can offer to your space!

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