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Displays Portables

Does Anyone Really Prefer Glossy Screens? 646

An anonymous reader asked a question that I've been wondering about too: "I live in a small southern European country where natural light abounds. This may sound good, but it is a pain when it comes to using laptops that come with a glossy finish, making it impossible to work unless you are doing it in the dark. To make matters worse, since we are a small market, most manufacturers only offer a subset of their product line, and don't allow you to choose any options available in other countries (like matte screens). Buying abroad is not an option since we have our own very specific keyboard layout. Why are manufacturers doing this? Does anyone really prefer using glossy screens for day-to-day activities?"
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Does Anyone Really Prefer Glossy Screens?

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  • Yes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anarke_Incarnate ( 733529 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:17AM (#32963808)
    I like them a LOT more than flat screens. I think they are easier to read and more vibrant.
  • Absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:22AM (#32963916)

    I specifically ordered the glossy display on my MacBook Pro; the colors are far more vibrant and the screen brighter. I have not had any issues with glare, though I don't take it outside in the direct sunlight and use it in a room with dim lighting.

    I much prefer it to the matte screens, that always seem dull and fuzzy to me; I had a previous laptop with a matte screen and I always thought it seemed like it was out of focus.

  • No (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tet ( 2721 ) < minus poet> on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:22AM (#32963938) Homepage Journal
    I personally detest glossy screens. They're much harder to read, particularly for those of us with a preference for light text on a dark background. But it seems increasingly all screens are going that way, be it monitors, laptops or televisions. The world sucks sometimes :-(
  • Re:Yes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anarke_Incarnate ( 733529 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:24AM (#32963980)
    Why don't you? They make matte/flat screens. Buy the one you like. If your vendor doesn't give you that choice....ditch the vendor and don't blame the product. I would have a problem if all my choices were matte. I find them dull and fuzzy to look at, and I say this from my work monitor, that others ooh and ahh over (because it is 25") while I would rather have a 22" glossy screen.
  • Re:Yes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#32963992) Homepage Journal

    Totally agree - After comparing the two, I chose glossy, and have never had a reason to go back. My laptop and my desktop both. Also - now that I think of it - my iPad and iPod Touch, both of which are in constant use.

    Getting rid of the matte texture on the screen is like having a cleaner monitor, all the time.

    I use my laptop in a jeep-style vehicle, lots of windows, no tinting. My desk space has one tall window behind be about two feet and to my left. No problems with reflections, and in fact, the one remaining matte display (on an old windows machine) is the only one that shows any effect, which is kind of a radial-whitish highlight from bottom left towards the center. It doesn't completely obscure the output, but it certainly isn't desirable. All the glossy monitors (three of them) are clean.

    I also take my laptop out for astrophotography -- red display, intention being to keep my night vision intact -- and glossy works fine for that as well.

  • by ajlitt ( 19055 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:33AM (#32964138)

    With my polarized sunglasses on I have to tilt my head at just the right angle to read my car stereo's display or see the screen on my phone. Are there standards for CE LCD polarization or specially polarized glasses intended for this purpose? If not, I'd think there would be some advantage for LCD manufacturers to come up with a common polarization angle so that glasses would work without going through contortions.

  • Glossy is a bad name (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rnelsonee ( 98732 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:34AM (#32964158)

    It's easier to frame it as a "Glossy vs. Matte" debate, but no one goes out to make a glossy screen. Rather, the high amount of reflections is a side effect of the LCD surface treatment that allows for better color, brighter whites, and darker blacks [].

    So really it should be "Good-looking-screen-but-with-reflections vs. Not-as-good-looking-without-as-many-reflections"

  • Re:Yes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by insertwackynamehere ( 891357 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:40AM (#32964248) Journal

    Glossy is actually less accurate with color than matte. Matte is what people get for accurate colors, glossy is what people get for vivid colors.

  • by Anarke_Incarnate ( 733529 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:41AM (#32964272)

    I like my glossy screen for the following:

    Watching movies
    putty/ssh administration (my matte screen at work makes putty look abysmal)
    writing perl code

    If you think text looks better on a matte screen you have not gotten yourself a good glossy screen and your contrast colors are off.

  • by Netssansfrontieres ( 214626 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:43AM (#32964306) Journal

    There are two reasons firms do this:
    1. The devices look prettier. This is the triumph of "industrial design" over function, similar to the way (it seems) Apple's industrial designers over-ruled the antenna / RF designers on the iPhone4. Same consequence: it's less easily usable, you have to learn to use the screen despite its failings.
    2. Specsmanship. Glossy screens (called in the industry "glare screens", which really summarizes the issue) have higher contrast ratios - if the contrast ratio is measured in a perfectly dark room. Colors look nicely saturated. That way the vendors get to put very high contrast ratios on their specs and it's an arms race. Gottaproblemwiththat? Sit in a dark room, silly.

    Of course, the only screens designed for reading (e-Ink, Pixel Qi, Sipix) do NOT use glare / glossy screens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:43AM (#32964312)

    Yeah, you mean 4:3 (which is 16:12). I love these screens for the extra vertical space that you need when reading webpages or documents. The whole industry has moved towards the widescreen. I suspect this has to do with production volumes and economy of scale. I find that widescreens are better for sizes 21" and above, where you can put two applications side by side. For laptops that 12 or 13", going with widescreen makes no sense, in my opinion. Too bad the industry thinks otherwise! I had to buy an out of production Thinkpad X61, because all the new one ultra-compacts are widescreen. Share your pain.

  • Agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:54AM (#32964480)

    I agree with the submitter. Not sure what the hell is going on in the monitor market. We had to deal with glares for years on CRTs, and then we finally move to LCD's which eliminates the problem entirely. I figured screen glare was dead for all eternity - and then someone decides "HEY GUYS - we figured out how to make the LCD screens glare too!".

    To me it seems as beneficial as introducing a charging cord that you can connect to your wireless mouse at all times so that the battery never dies. It's truly one of those /facepalm things I can't believe someone actually did.

    It wouldn't be so bad except that all the budget laptops are doing it. Seems if you want a matte version you're going to have to pay extra. Given how little I use my laptop, I ended up going with the gloss version there (and just suffer with having to turn out ever friggen light in the hotel room while use the computer). On my desktop though I did specifically track down a matte display - I couldn't take the gloss on a daily basis.

  • Re:Yes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dintech ( 998802 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @12:08PM (#32965754)

    I can't stand going back to matte as it looks like the whole screen is dirty.

    I can't understand this. Every Desktop LCD I've ever used is matte and it doesn't look dirty. Why should this apply to laptops?

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @12:13PM (#32965850) Journal

    This is true. I do not have a good glossy screen.

    Because they don't make such a thing.

    Agreed. The laptop manufacturing world is slowly understanding something that has been well understood in the fine art world for decades.

    1. glossy surfaces are horrible because of reflections, but allow the finest details to be visible of the item behind

    2. matte surfaces diffuse the reflections and so eliminate that annoyance, but at the price of ultimate available resolution

    3. optical anti-reflective coatings on glossy surfaces fix both problems, but are heinously expensive

    If you have the funds, you take option 3; otherwise you try and find a good option 2, and if resolution is hyper important and you can't afford the good glass, then you take option 1 and control the lighting.

    With laptops, controlling the lighting is not possible for the general case (or is undesirable, because, frankly, who wants to always sit facing the brightest light source in the room?) so option 1 is a poor choice, and thus mostly option 2 has been used up until recently. I'm wating for option 3 -- glossy screens with multi-coated surfaces. I'd gladly pay extra (I do so on my prescription glasses, even sunglasses). If the laptop maufacturers follow the footsteps of so many fields before them (including the fine art world alluded to above), we should see coated screens in a few years, initially with a premium pricetag.

  • by c++0xFF ( 1758032 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @12:42PM (#32966428)

    My mom went to the gas station once back when the digital pay-at-the-pump systems first came out. But ... the thing simply wouldn't work. After pushing every button she could, she went to the attendant for help.

    Of course, when they went back, everything was working fine.

    It turned out she was wearing polarized sun glasses, which she then took off when she went inside to talk to the clerk.

  • by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <> on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @02:53PM (#32968430) Homepage

    An image is not accurate no matter how much you shake your stick when you have reflections super imposed on top of the image. It is a bit like you added a completely unrelated 20% visible layer on top of an image in Photoshop. It's the exact opposite of accuracy.

    Now, I recently switched to a Matte screen from Glossy. I see no saturation difference with my present LED screen verses the old glossy. Marketing crap is marketing crap and it has to stop.

  • by techno_dan ( 591398 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @04:22PM (#32969820)
    After years of using matte screens, and suffering from periodic migraines, I asked my optometrist for some help, I was sure it was caused by vision since I almost always got a migraine when I went to a movie theatre. So he said try a glossy screen. Well, now instead of 30 or 40 migraines a year, it is more like 10 (theatre). Yes Glossy has its tradeoffs, but for me, it reduced the strain on my eyes. It appears that my eyes kept trying to focus on the fuzzy edges of fonts on the matte screen, where the glossy has sharp definition of fonts.
  • Re:Yes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_other_chewey ( 1119125 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @05:17PM (#32970658)
    On a Netbook, a glossy screen is particularly stupid, as you are much more likely to use it outside.
    I got my first generation Aspire One (with SSD) for travelling, and was regularly annoyed by its
    screen that showed me my face clearer than the content under most lighting conditions - until I crushed
    it in an impressive bicycle accident.
    (At least I assume it was impressive, multiple people came immediately running to look if I was OK.)

    Replacing the screen cost about 2/3 of what I paid for the entire machine, and I wasn't going
    to bother initially - until I learned about the third-party matte screen that was available.
    Great investment, and pretty much everyone is quite envious when seeing it.

    Best bicycle accident I've ever had.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.