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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Glossy screen - what's the real benefit?

Glossy screen - what's the real benefit?
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funkboy
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May 16, 2006, 12:17 PM
 
Is it usable in direct sunlight?
Is it cheaper for LCD companies to produce?

It seems like a step backwards - glass CRT monitors had the ugly glare problem, and I remember some of the first iMacs being advertised as having anti-glare coating, and remember noticing how much nicer it looked than most shiny-glass CRTs. There was no distracting reflections of yourself or anything else in the black parts of the screen.

I read the thing on Apple's MacBook Pro site:
MacBook Pro offers an antiglare coated widescreen display that’s perfect for color-minded professionals. For a more immersive viewing experience, you can configure MacBook Pro with a glossy finish. This gives everything you see a richer, more saturated feel.
More immersive? To see reflections of your face on the screen in black parts of movies or games? Because I do believe that happens...

If it was usable in direct sunlight while I sit on the lawn, though, that would be a fair trade-off for me.

I want to hear people's experience with these screens.
     
Kadman
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May 16, 2006, 12:48 PM
 
The real benefit is that you can see if someone is sneaking up on you while you're surfing the net.

Seriously, higher contrast seems to be the biggest benefit that people tout. It does work, but at a huge cost of reflectivity problems.
     
screamingFit
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May 16, 2006, 12:53 PM
 
I hate the ones I've seen on Sonys and HPs...I mean, REALLY hated them. Sure, they make the colors more saturated but really, I think it looks horrid. Dirt, streaks, fingerprints, glare show up so much more pronounced, too. Think a shiny iPod case - but as a display.

I don't buy first-gen Apple releases as a rule but almost sank down $1500 since I would like to have a laptop. I'm a little impatient, as well, but because of the screen I have to wait until I actually see one to figure out if I'm going to buy one or not. Most likely, I will not be buying based on my previous run-ins with these type of displays.

Also, you cannot use these type of displays in a lot of light - so outdoors, even in the shade will be a no-go.
     
Severed Hand of Skywalker
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May 16, 2006, 01:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by screamingFit
I hate the ones I've seen on Sonys and HPs...I mean, REALLY hated them. Sure, they make the colors more saturated but really, I think it looks horrid. Dirt, streaks, fingerprints, glare show up so much more pronounced, too. Think a shiny iPod case - but as a display.
I agree with you 100%. Unless Apple is using some miracle gloss coating it is almost a deal breaker for me.

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Spirit_VW
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May 16, 2006, 01:01 PM
 
Yeah, there's a Sony desktop around work here somewhere with a glossy flat panel monitor, and I *hate* it. Even sitting down and looking at it square-on, there are huge reflection problems. They are horrible.
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walter99
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May 16, 2006, 02:17 PM
 
The glossy screen is a real deal breaker for me. It would have been such a great product, but the glossy screen must be the worst idea Apple ever had
I mean, what's next, switching to Intel and let Windows run on 'em, multi button mouse,.. oh wait...
     
walter99
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May 16, 2006, 02:54 PM
 
Here's a link from another thread. These pictures really demonstrate that there might be slight reflection problems due to the glossy screen... but decide for yourself

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pealco/...7594136649292/
     
Big Mac
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May 16, 2006, 03:10 PM
 
It just screams cheap PC with that XBRITE crap. At least so many people who wanted that type of screen got it, if that's a comforting thought to you. And what's with these supersized track pads - are they that size just to take up space, or is Apple planning on making them into a poor man's tablet soon?

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Voch
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May 16, 2006, 03:14 PM
 
I suppose I'll be fine with the glossy screen as long as it's bright enough (the MacBook main page says it's 79% brighter than the iBook was)...

Those pictures have me worried, though. But I'll just get used to it and the funky keyboard.
     
Gee4orce
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May 16, 2006, 03:19 PM
 
I'm sure you'll be able to get a non-reflective static cling coating or something.
     
Eug Wanker
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May 16, 2006, 03:49 PM
 
Glossy screens are very nice in environments where risk of glare is low.

Glossy screens suck though otherwise IMO.

The thing about glossy screens though is that some Joe-Six-Pack types just pick up on the vibrant colours in the store and get enamoured with them before they actually try using them. So they're constantly demanding these screens, when Apple didn't offer them.

I'm not saying that matte screens are better for everyone, but IMO they're probably better in most situations for most people, including some who initially prefer glossy screens.
     
slugslugslug
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May 16, 2006, 04:07 PM
 
Yeah, you'd think Apple would create an option to leave the gloss off the MacBook and not bother with the option to add it to the MacBook Pro. I wonder how many MBP buyers will actually go for it..
     
Severed Hand of Skywalker
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May 16, 2006, 04:09 PM
 
Yup, the screen sucks. Look at those reflections! Why APPLE why?!



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Eug Wanker
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May 16, 2006, 04:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by slugslugslug
Yeah, you'd think Apple would create an option to leave the gloss off the MacBook and not bother with the option to add it to the MacBook Pro. I wonder how many MBP buyers will actually go for it..
I suspect a fair number. Some people really do prefer it despite the drawbacks, and there's nothing wrong with that.
     
Severed Hand of Skywalker
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May 16, 2006, 04:23 PM
 
I don't see anything wrong with having the option either. Just wish Apple gave you one with the MacBooks.

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SpaceMonkey
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May 16, 2006, 04:24 PM
 
Yeah, an option would definitely have been appreciated. Even if the option was only available for the black model or something.

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redhot_nyc
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May 16, 2006, 04:30 PM
 
I'd blame the big-box retailers - when people are browsing the local BestBuy's laptop section, and have 100's of laptops to choose from, they are immediately drawn to the shiniest, most saturated screen.

They do look great in a dimly-lit room, but that's about it! If you work in an office with overhead fluorescents, you're in for some incredible eyestrain.
     
kw14
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May 16, 2006, 05:10 PM
 
Well how good or bad were the old LCD screens? Aside from the glare, are the new screen an improvement in performance? Here I am typing on my Powerbook with an LCD that just started turning pink on the right side. I am certainly not thrilled with this turn of event. Could it be that Apple found a better source of LCD displays--the caveat is that they offer it with glossy surfaces only?
     
HazelGirl
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May 16, 2006, 05:16 PM
 
wow that is extremely glossy.......wow....maybe it's not so bad in person and the photos are eexaggerating the glare? I dunno....but wow, I am loving the black one. I need to see it in person. Not sure if 13 inches would be too small fo rmy horrible eyesight to handle. I wish they offered black mbps.
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Eug Wanker
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May 16, 2006, 05:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by kw14
Well how good or bad were the old LCD screens? Aside from the glare, are the new screen an improvement in performance? Here I am typing on my Powerbook with an LCD that just started turning pink on the right side. I am certainly not thrilled with this turn of event. Could it be that Apple found a better source of LCD displays--the caveat is that they offer it with glossy surfaces only?
True. The previous screens kinda sucked. Just no glare.
     
dfbennett
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May 16, 2006, 05:26 PM
 
wow those shots with the glare remind me of my old 17" Apple Studio Display CRT that I had with my Sawtooth G4. I could get along with the smaller screen (I think) but I'm not sure if I could deal with that kind of glare going from my 17" Lampshade iMac (which will probably be upgraded in the next 6-9 months). We'll see I guess.
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kw14
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May 16, 2006, 05:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug Wanker
True. The previous screens kinda sucked. Just no glare.
Well then, lets hope that Apple did the right thing to get us better, more reliable screen that'll help us overlook the glare issue. Guess I'll have to see it in person to make my own judgement. Funny, I am actually in the market for an ibook...err MacBook.
     
Spirit_VW
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May 16, 2006, 05:40 PM
 
Personally, I don't think I'll be able to overlook the glare. I *hate* those screens on PCs, and I'm sure I'll hate it on the MacBook as well. I'm just glad my MacBook Pro doesn't have it.
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Severed Hand of Skywalker
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May 16, 2006, 05:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug Wanker
True. The previous screens kinda sucked. Just no glare.
What sucked about them? They compared well to anything else on the market in the same price range.

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Kadman
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May 16, 2006, 06:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Severed Hand of Skywalker
What sucked about them? They compared well to anything else on the market in the same price range.
No they didn't, not even close! For the price of the old iBook you could get a laptop with a wide variety of 12"-15.4" displays, matte or glossy, wxga, wsxga, or even wuxga (if you timed it right), all with nice, bright images. The old iBook was horrible by comparison.
     
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May 16, 2006, 06:35 PM
 
Glossy screens look great in showrooms. Even with reflections, the screen appears brighter and crisper.

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Voch
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May 16, 2006, 06:40 PM
 
I'm using the screen right now (yay Lyndhurst Apple Store!) and it's pretty reflective. Fortunately I have a fat head and can block most light that's behind me. The screen brightness and color saturation is just excellent. It's cloudy here in Cleveland (surprise, surprise) so I'll reserve judgement for a sunny day.

And other good news: I'm using it flat on a table and it's not that warm. I'm even charging it!

I'm still getting used to the keyboard. It's really nice but different from what I'm used to. The TiBook "mush" is definately gone.

Overall...I'm VERY impressed with this machine.

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May 16, 2006, 07:35 PM
 
Everything else about this Mac looks fine. I have been waiting to replace my iBook and I would order a MacBook today but the glare is an absolute deal breaker. I'm not putting up with glare. I don't care what else they do, if there is no option for a non-glossy screen, I'm not buying one

This is just stupid.
     
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May 16, 2006, 10:56 PM
 
Frankly, I don't think it's that big a deal. I'd never really noticed but my work laptop has a glossy screen. I wasn't even really conscious of it and I've been using it for months. Yeah, at work sometimes I have to adjust the angle and in retrospect, I guess I'd have been doing less of that on a regular screen, but it would never be a deal breaker for me. In fact, I might have to do some side-by-sides when I order me a MacBook Pro...whenever THAT may be.
     
tr
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May 16, 2006, 10:57 PM
 
i really don't know what the concern is all about. yeah, it's glossy. so is my TV. so is my flat screen CRT that i use on my Sawtooth G4. i have no problem watching TV, or using my G4. angle of incidence equals angle of reflectance. the only time i would really see a distracting reflection on the screen is if i had a bright light behind my head pointed at the screen, or if i was viewing my screen at some strange angle.

if i'm right in front of the screen, i don't think it would be that big a deal. going back to the TV thing, i was right in front of the screen, and i just turned it off. while off, i could see my reflection, as well as the reflection of some mirrors mounted on the wall behind me. after turning the TV on, all i see is the bright image from the TV. if i concentrate really hard, i can focus on the barely visible reflections (throwing the tv image out of focus). but, for me at least, it's pretty hard to get distracted by the reflections.

personally, i'm all for the glossy screen. it's like the difference between glossy prints and matte prints, you'll get blacker blacks, better contrast with the gloss. plus, it will be easier to clean up my greasy-keyboard marks on a glossy screen, although i suppose with the new keyboard, this shouldn't be a problem anymore, right?
     
Eug Wanker
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May 16, 2006, 11:04 PM
 
Form some usage it's perfectly fine, and may be superior according to some people.

However in areas at high risk for glare - strong overhead lights in offices or lights behind you, glossy screens are very frustrating. Fortunately, if it's your own workspace, you may have control over the lighting, and you can minimize the glare. If you can't control the ambient lighting though, then glossy screens may be problematic.
     
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May 16, 2006, 11:10 PM
 
I really could care less. I am very nit-picky about fingerprints on my screen, and will wipe them off seconds after finding them. I just think as long as you dont touch the screen you'll be fine. Also, stop complaining. I know I wont care as well as IMO, its a small price to pay for what the big package is...
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I WAS the One
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May 16, 2006, 11:13 PM
 
how many of you already got the new MacBook? NONE OF YOU! tipical... whine about it when you spend the money for it. that's where the comments guide you somewhere. I can make an opinion about something I don't have. that's a reality. I wish I had the money now and then bring home that nice black MacBook. but C'mon people, Apple is growing, and all of us are just playing negatively with them? I love Macs, and if I remember correctly, everytime Apple brings a new machine it's always something to talk about at first, but at the end everyone want the new one. even You.
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Eug Wanker
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May 16, 2006, 11:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by I WAS the One
how many of you already got the new MacBook? NONE OF YOU! tipical... whine about it when you spend the money for it. that's where the comments guide you somewhere. I can make an opinion about something I don't have. that's a reality. I wish I had the money now and then bring home that nice black MacBook. but C'mon people, Apple is growing, and all of us are just playing negatively with them? I love Macs, and if I remember correctly, everytime Apple brings a new machine it's always something to talk about at first, but at the end everyone want the new one. even You.
Huh?

1) I ordered mine already
2) I have used numerous laptops with glossy screens and they all suffer the same issues. It's not rocket science... Glossy screens reflect more light, so glare can be an issue.

The pix posted already are pretty obvious:

     
Spirit_VW
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May 16, 2006, 11:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by I WAS the One
how many of you already got the new MacBook? NONE OF YOU! tipical... whine about it when you spend the money for it. that's where the comments guide you somewhere. I can make an opinion about something I don't have. that's a reality. I wish I had the money now and then bring home that nice black MacBook. but C'mon people, Apple is growing, and all of us are just playing negatively with them? I love Macs, and if I remember correctly, everytime Apple brings a new machine it's always something to talk about at first, but at the end everyone want the new one. even You.
I don't need to buy one to know that I hate the glossy screen, as I have hated it on every PC laptop and desktop monitor that I have seen it on.

Everything else about the MacBook looks great (other than the usual wish for a real video card). That glossy screen, though, would keep me from buying one.
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I WAS the One
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May 16, 2006, 11:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug Wanker
Huh?

1) I ordered mine already
2) I have used numerous laptops with glossy screens and they all suffer the same issues. It's not rocket science... Glossy screens reflect more light, so glare can be an issue.

The pix posted already are pretty obvious:

well, then my comment wasn't for you. don't you think?
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I WAS the One
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May 17, 2006, 12:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spirit_VW
I don't need to buy one to know that I hate the glossy screen, as I have hated it on every PC laptop and desktop monitor that I have seen it on.

Everything else about the MacBook looks great (other than the usual wish for a real video card). That glossy screen, though, would keep me from buying one.
Do you need a new MacBook right now? if you do, that the only options Apple is giving away, and that sucks. You will have to wait for something new... or buy that one.

If you know the differences about the glossy screens and mate LCDs then you know what to buy already.
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Spirit_VW
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May 17, 2006, 12:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by I WAS the One
Do you need a new MacBook right now?
No. I bought a MacBook Pro a while back. Doesn't forbid me from disliking the MacBook screen.
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sonicularulus
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May 17, 2006, 12:09 AM
 
i dont see why everybody is complaining about the glossy screen.
i feel that the purpose of having a glossy screen is to have a better look when your watching movies and videos. The color is more vivid and everything.
what i dontt get is having to put the glossy screen on the macbook pros, where users are primarily the professionals who rely on color accuracy for their work...
the macbook is merely for multipurpose use...
my opinion may still change as i havent actually seen the macbook in person. but that is just an opinion. its a greate machine though
     
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May 17, 2006, 12:14 AM
 
Massive step in the wrong direction. I returned a 13.3 inch Sony vaio precisely because of the glossy screen and bought a 12inch powerbook because i liked the screen. So dont know why people dont like it. Anyway, i was going to buy the new macbook to upgrade my g4 powerbook but because of the glossy screen i will not. WORST DECISION EVER APPLE!!! at least give us the option to have a non-glossy screen. If i wanted a $1000 mirror, i'd go to an antique store.
     
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May 17, 2006, 12:22 AM
 
I picked up a semi-glossy screen coating for my iBook in Japan, and I've never had reflection problems. People comment on how nice my screen looks all the time.

Don't knock it until you've tried it.
     
Eug Wanker
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May 17, 2006, 12:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by wataru
I picked up a semi-glossy screen coating for my iBook in Japan, and I've never had reflection problems. People comment on how nice my screen looks all the time.

Don't knock it until you've tried it.
I've tried it (on PC laptops), which is why I'm knocking it.

However, I also note that under certain lighting conditions, glossy screens can look quite good, and sometimes better than matte screens.
     
Ryan1524
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May 17, 2006, 12:43 AM
 
I've experienced both with my Powerbook. I bought a Crystal Film for it and installed it very very carefully, and was enjoying, yes - enjoying, the glossy screen for several months. I think it depends on your own preference first of all, and also where and how you work. i get the glare, but a little tilt normally fixes that right up. i do it all the time with my glossy PB - there's a massive fluorescent light right behind my back. and yes, the colours do POP with the glossy coating. There might be less glare on the matte screen, but it's still there, and it washes out the colours. with a glossy screen, if there's glare, you know it immediately and respond by changing the angle until it's sufficiently gone. by doing so, you get richer colours.

when my PB screen was replaced for a minor flicker, the film comes off, and i feel weird - the screen feels a bit....dull. I'd say i like both - if there were no choice, i'd be happy with either. now that apple's given the option for the MBP, i'm gonna be pulling my hair out trying to decide.

it does attract dust though - you can see it more on the glossy screen.
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May 17, 2006, 01:37 AM
 
Agreed. I almost bought the Crystal film when I was in Tokyo. But I decided to hold off. Now, to my very pleasant surprise, the MacBooks have them.

It seems that we're going to have those who just hate the glossy screens and those who love them. Of course there will be the rest who fall somewhere in between.

I for one, love the glossy screens.
     
amazing
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May 17, 2006, 02:01 AM
 
Yep, Jason Snell's surefire prediction in the MacWorld.com initial-impressions-review is already panning out: Some people love glossy, some people hate glossy. The main lesson here: Apple Giveth, and Apple Taketh Away. Somewhere down the road, Apple will stimulate sales by offering a choice between glossy and matt MB screens.

It's gonna take some time for user opinions to settle down towards some sort of rough consensus. With the bright summer days ahead, we'll definitely have a lively debate about glare and heat.
     
badtz
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May 17, 2006, 02:36 AM
 
how about graphic designers, will the shiny-ness effect the color accuracy?
     
michaelb
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May 17, 2006, 04:45 AM
 
Professional product photographers sometimes use a matt spray to remove reflections from objects being photographed when it's important.

I wonder if it would be safe to use on this screen? In any case, I suspect within a month there will be such a product on the market.

Myself, I've ordered one sight unseen. I figure I always preferred glossy to matt for prints, so it might just work for a laptop screen.

And I trust Jonathan Ive not to ship a bad design!
     
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May 17, 2006, 05:06 AM
 
Different Strokes for Different Folks I guess.

Somehow I doubt a glossy screen is the end of the world.

I give it 3 weeks before there is a 3rd party diffuser.

T
     
krillbee
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May 17, 2006, 06:19 AM
 
I have a mat finish on my PC laptop.
While its nice not having to worry about glare, it is more difficult to clean the screen.

one nice thing about the glossy screen is that it is probably very easy to clean!
just like a window, spray windex and wipe the cloth over it
     
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May 17, 2006, 07:05 AM
 
Fingerprints and smudges really stand out on the glossy screens i have seen. fingerprints leave kind of a purple colored oilly mark that is very noticable. Matte screens tend to hide smudges.

One issue with the glossy screen is that it might be prone to scratching or scuffing. I'd be very careful about what I used to wipe off that glossy screen, it is plastic afterall and will show microscratches. I think that in addition to glare, the real issue with the glossy screens is that over time they will begin to show their age with lots of little scratches that are easily noticable in that very reflective surface
     
 
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