Product review: 3M Crystalline window tint

Product review: 3M Crystalline window tint

Our main product partner, Yellow Hat, provided us with a choice of 3M tints to be installed on our benchmark BMW M Roadster. We’ve had the tint on our car for about two months now, and the summer has been getting hotter.

Shown here is the car without any tint. Money being no object, we went for the 3M Crystalline film. It is the most expensive tint in 3M’s catalogue here, and it costs Dhs 2800 for a compact car. It actually comes in lighter colours only, since it was designed largely for use on the windshield, so if you want darker shades than the four Crystalline shades offered, you’ll have to downgrade to the cheaper 3M offerings, coincidentally saving Dhs 1000 in the process.

We got the lightest 70% shade for the windshield and rear window, and the 40% shade for the side-windows. Those percentages define the amount of light entering the cabin, and has nothing to do with the nonsense percentage ratings that local shops and authorities have cooked up.

The CR70 70% version claims up to 59% heat rejection, while the CR40 40% version claims up to 66%, with both rejecting 99.9% of UV radiation. The CR40 films are a bit thicker, and we were told that it could not be installed on our heavily-curved rear window.

The film is made wet, slapped onto the outside windows and cut into shape, and a hair-dryer is used to shape it around curved glass surfaces. Then the cut film is peeled off and installed properly from the inside on all windows, including the rear glass.

Shown here is the car with tint. There is no magical cure for summer heat, no matter which window-tint brand you use. Some other companies woo people with “space-age technology” but there is only so much that can be done with plastic film. The 3M crystalline tint certainly does help in reducing temperatures inside the car more quickly with the a/c on, but it cools down only a bit better than some cheaper brands.

The real benefit of 3M Crystalline is that it does the heat-rejection job a bit better than cheaper darker films, while also being a shade lighter and more transparent. So there are absolutely no visibility issues at night and the all-round view is almost as clear as having no tint. We didn’t like the “3M” logos randomly stamped all over the film, but apparently some people think of those as a status symbol for some reason.

For a sports car, this would be the best choice, as the clear tint helps visibility during high-speed midnight runs or cloudy track days. And if you want to show off, people can see your face inside your cool car, instead of being hidden behind blindingly-stupid “100%” dark tint.

If you go for tint, always go for a branded one that costs Dhs 500 or more, from a reputed outlet. Tint really does help in reducing heat and glare from the sun, and the branded ones come with long warranties so you do not have to keep replacing it again and again.

For reviews of other aftermarket products, visit the Gadgets & Products section.

What do you think?



  1. if i have a cool car, i would never let people to see my face :mrgreen: .

  2. ^^^^
    hehehe…why not???
    mash…U have now the most expensive tint in a car 😉
    nice dude nice… :mrgreen:

  3. mash, if I go to Yellow hat as I’m a very important member 😎 of DriveArabia Group, would they give me any special discount.??

  4. Author

    Probably not 😆 . So far, all my stuff has been under contract. No other extra free stuff. I can set up some deal later for discounts, but too early right now.

  5. The 3M logos are not permanent, they will come off with an alcohol swab. They are included to help protect against counterfeiting; however, you are correct that some buyers leave the 3M logos.

  6. Author

    Interesting information. No one offered to remove the logos during installation.

  7. By the way why need to remove logo? if its 3m then 3m , if its vcool then vcool..if somebody buys a camary…will he remove the camary badge and throw it on road…a logo makes a big difference … imagin a mercedes without the star sign or for that matter a BMW without a badge.. 😕

  8. Dear Mashfique,

    We appreciate your honest review of our product. We constantly strive to educate customers on the advantages of using quality tints for their vehicles.

    On a side note, we did some tests last year on vehicles in the Dubai summer with and without the Crystalline 70 tint to measure temperature increase and buildup, and found there to be over a 12 degree difference inside the vehicle after being parked in the sun for an hour and a half. Of course the entire vehicle (front, sides and back) had film installed.

    We hope you enjoy the product and keep up the great work!

    Mohammed Shehabi
    3M Gulf Ltd.

    • Hello Mohammed Shehab,

      I would like to get the quote for 3M crystalline film for my toyota yaris.
      I need 3M™ Crystalline Automotive Window Films 70


  9. Author

    Hi Mohammed,
    Thanks for your input. As you may know, it is hard to gauge heat using just the feel on our skins, so your numbers are appreciated.

  10. hi Mohammed Shehabi. it’s not fair to compare car temperature with the Crystalline tint and without any tint.
    please do some comparing between the Crystalline tint and other cheep tints that reject heat which cost between 5 and 10% of the Crystalline tint at least???

  11. Guys! Can anyone direct me to a place(s) where I can get good quality tint for less(under AED 1000)- preferably a place that stocks films with lighter shades(VLT of 80% or more)

    • good quality tint under 1000 is some wat difficult but why go 4 a good quality tint when u can get the best quality tint for just 2000 with 70 percent heat rejection and life time warranty and a chance to win a ipad2 every week! with solar gard. wanna know more just give me a call on 055-4747311. thanks take care jay

  12. Author

    Fastrack stations at some Emarat petrol stations have cheaper tints called Emcool, with guarantee.

  13. Thanks Mashfique 🙂
    I visited an Em-cool outlet last evening. The prices are very reasonable(by today’s standards) and the quality seems to be on par with the ‘established’ players, so have decided to go in for it-apparently you need to make an appointment here as well. My only concern now is the front windshield. V-Kool,3M,Nanolux & Em-cool all provide a,so called,clear film for the front. Is it legal as I’ve been given to understand from friends that people have been fined/car impounded for putting this?

  14. Author

    Just choose the lightest shade for the front windshield. The clear front is included in the price with Emcool. It is impossible for police to detect it on the street, although I haven’t taken my Jeep in for passing yet since Emcool installation. I assume it will pass, since I’ve seen many heavily-tinted cheap cars pass without wastaa.

  15. “UAE law stipulates that any film that allows less than 30 per cent VLT is illegal, and only film with 70 per cent or higher VLT may be used on front windshields”

  16. Thanks for the feedback guys 🙂
    Mashfique – Em-cool are charging AED650 – AED750 for the sides & rear and an extra AED300 to have the clear film installed at the front. For a package similar to the Nanolux you installed,it’s AED1500.

  17. do you have the specifications of this em-cool tint?

  18. cb – I’m going for a film with a shade that’s quite light(i hate dark shades + it inhibits visibility at night which is quite dangerous);it provides 60% heat rejection and about 97% or 99% UV rejection. Since it’s a lighter shade,i’m guessing the VLT is about 60%-70% or a little more. The other film with specs higher than what I just mentioned is about AED1500 for the entire car;similar to 3M’s Crystalline series.

    Mashfique – I needed to know 1 more thing. Do you experience poor cell phone/radio reception in your Jeep? I’m given to understand Em-cool films are metal based, which inhibit signal reception quite a bit.

  19. nice specifications..better than paying 2800 for crystalline..i got mine from nanolux for 1000 dhs which included sides,rear,windshield and sunroof. 62% heat rejection. although its one of their darker models and obviously clear film on the windshield.

    not sure if mine is metal based but i’ve never had a problem with cell phone or gps reception in my car.

  20. cb, i think you have the old FX35 which doesnt include the gps.
    tell me about yours, i want to fix in my car too.

  21. oh mine is a portable gps not a builtin one. i have the garmin nuvi 610.

  22. Author

    There are no issues with signals using Emcool. I didn’t even make that stupid hole for Salik. I just use tape to lightly stick the tag on top of the tint.

  23. man, in my case, the portable gps is not the best choice, because my 6 years old niece is too naughty, he will break it in seconds.
    do you know what the best builtin system that includes everything, gps and dvd?

  24. not sure of what brands are good but you could check with Gulf Wireless or YellowHat. im sure they will have it and will also install it for you. check with toyota too since you have a LC. but they might charge more.

  25. is known that the UV radiation is good for your bone and kills the germs in your car too. it’s not good to keep yourself or your car away from it.
    O3 layer works fine here to keep you away from UV radiation danger and gives you its benefits.

  26. man we posted in the same minute 😀 .

    i checked with the Toyota workshop. The man said that they don’t change anything that in touch with the electricity.
    a didn’t understand him, he was talking too fast with you know that English, Indian accent. but i got from him: “your car is not designed to carry the DVD Player, it may cause faults in the car-computer”.

  27. the LC in USA and other foreign countries has a DVD based navigation system doesn’t it? for my car they had said 9000 dhs for the navigation system,color lcd and few other things i cant remember now. but i prefered a portable gps coz its much easier to load coordinates etc from my laptop.

  28. Thanks for the feedback Mashfique. Will now go and make an appointment with Em-cool 🙂

  29. thanks for the foodback cb.

  30. Author

    By the way, I only paid Dhs 675 or so for Emcool for all windows, during some sort of promotion. I believe they hold these promotions closer to winter, when demand is less.

  31. I’m not sure if they are going to have another promotion as they are increasing their prices effective 15th Oct.

  32. ^^^^^
    you are totally right
    they told me they will increase the prices by a percentage(i dont remember how much maybe 10-20%)

  33. Hi guys
    i wanna ask which tint brand is better between these:
    1- v-kool
    2- 3m
    3- llumar
    4- solar guard
    5- nannolux

    I wanted to fix v-kool at nissan showroom which was
    699 dhs for sides and rear but its j series tint which is not very high spec but they told me that price become now 1000, which i found it so expensive
    does any body know good brand that provide around 50% or 60% heat rejection for sides and rear and also front winshield with reasonable price ?
    i would like to mention also that from each brand listed there are many categories , for example 3 m it has many series like color stable series, fx series and most expensive crystalline series .
    im waiting for any good suggessions please include price and specifications as well.

    • Go 4 solar gard’s ULTRA perfomance 30/70 on the sides and rear and Ultra perfomance70 clear on the front. hey its the best with 70 percent heat resistant which none of ur other brands can provide, and also we get life time warranty, and visibility at its best for the driver. wanna know more just mail me on [email protected] or call me on 055-4747311. can get u a great deal. take care

  34. Author

    Just go with the cheapest branded one.

  35. they’re all good. atleast better than those which you get the Inranian shops so just go for the cheapest of the 5.

  36. woooooooow hello guys
    big offer 100 dhs off!!!
    for the crystalline 3m film just call
    050-914 77 02

  37. Enjoy and 50 dhs 4 the CS & FX SERIES
    MOHAMMED : 050- 914 77 02

  38. well.. last month i got fined 500dhs and my jaguar XF’09 got impounded in ajman for 30days for the so clled clear tint on windsheild by 3M done in the car showroom during delivery of the car.

    lasst week when i went to V-kool sharjah, they say that they can install the clear tint for windsheild if we request them to. but wont take any responsibility if it is fined later..

  39. over the last summer I got hired at 3M in Nevada, Missouri. i packaged so much of this stuff its not funny, upwards of hundreds of miles of this stuff i packaged

    really cool stuff 🙂

  40. I have 3M Crystalline 70 installed on my front windshield. Last week a policemen stopped me and gave me a fine for having film on the windshield.

    I tried to explain that this is clear film from an authorized 3M store but he insisted that having a film on front windshield is illegal and gave me the fine.

    Fine I received is turned out to be “Tinting the windows more than the allowed limit: 500AED and 30 days impounding of the car or 3000AED”

    This is outrageous. If this is illegal why everybody is promoting it and installing!!!!

    Does anybody know what is written in the traffic law? I could not find anything on internet.

  41. @ Tc
    Sorry to hear about your fine.

    Installation of tints on the front wind shield is really a debate for a lot of people.

    It would be best to not install it on the wind shield till such time that a clear statement on the subject has been issued by the RTA.

  42. Author

    The rule has always been there that you cannot put tint on the windshield, only now they’ve decided to enforce it on people with clear tint, randomly. My Jeep passed the yearly inspection with clear front tint, but will likely get fined if I get pulled over by bored cops in Jumeirah. It helps to know which locations to avoid, where cops regularly pull cars over.

  43. ^ This issue should be addressed.. If certain things arent allowed on a car then why on earth are they sold on the market… And arent the people offering these products be aware of whats ok to fix on the car or not… Such gaps need to be filled cuz its not funny when a bored police officer will just pull you over and fine you and ruin your day just for something as silly as tints…

  44. I looked at every government web site, there is no information about the “allowed tinting level”. All we can trust is the information we received from the dealers. In my case I installed the film from 3M authorized dealer and they suggested me to use the Crystalline 70 in the front windshield.

    I do not understand the double standards in this country. If using film on front windshield is illegal how come 3M can issue an article in a national newspaper?

    “UAE law stipulates that any film that allows less than 30 per cent VLT is illegal, and only film with 70 per cent or higher VLT may be used on front windshields”

  45. Author

    Automotive articles about tint are usually published with the aim of placing VKool/Nanolux/3M ads alongside the article. They never offer any useful info, like prices or laws. Maybe you can try arguing with a higher police officer (not RTA).

  46. *** Cops. Hate ’em ***.
    Specially the ones that patrol Sharjah (the worst place on Earth).

    I was about to get clear windshield tint for my economy car (Yaris) but then, if I am buying the thing to save some money, why bother with front tint?!

  47. I Agree to the fact That Some nexus is going about the manufactures Dealers and the local/Monitoring Agencies. Motor vehical Acts are Not Amended for and Advertised Propoerly but are openly used for Harrasing the Poor Innocent and dear People. I Agree to the earlier comments, I also have been the victime of such things in the past.

  48. I want to buy Toyota Avalon 2011,Any sujjestions.It is made in USA.Will this car be a US spec or Gulf Spec,comments please.

  49. For me i did not like 3M compared to Vkool, i even posted a review on youtube 🙂

    So after all i wasted AED 1,800 for nothing 🙁 but the truth is my 3m window film looks cool on my new Pajero.

  50. hello to everybody,
    i do not recomend to anyone to use 3m bcz the quality of the guys who is installing to your car it is very bad! i bought for 800dhs film cs 50, it is really looks like shahrdja made for 80 dhs not 800dhs! first they will promised to you that it will not any single bobles or… but it is lot of… when you are showing the car they will say sir it is perfect… i am not happy with them…

  51. hello to everybody,
    i do not recomend to anyone to use 3m bcz the quality of the guys who is installing to your car it is very bad! i bought for 800dhs film cs 50, it is really looks like shahrdja made for 80 dhs not 800dhs! first they will promised to you that it will not any single bobles or… but it is lot of… when you are showing the car they will say sir it is perfect… i am not happy with them…

  52. Dubai marina mall. Lot off babls.. Scratch…. Very bad service!

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