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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > MBP - Glossy or not to Glossy, that is the question

MBP - Glossy or not to Glossy, that is the question
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wowway1
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Jul 14, 2006, 08:45 AM
 
Okay so after lamenting over this for a couple of weeks and spending an hour at my local apple store comparing the MB and MBP, I've decided - a MBP for me it is. What I'm really struggling with is what screen finish to get.

This will be my office lappy, hooked up to an external LCD. I travel quite a bit and conduct on-site customer demonstrations of our software. I liked the nice colors that the glossy screen produced, but I am concerned about glare, especially using it in say, an airport or on the plane.

Any real world experiences with either/both? I'd appreciate some feedback.

Thanks.
     
lars-man
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Jul 14, 2006, 10:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by wowway1
Okay so after lamenting over this for a couple of weeks and spending an hour at my local apple store comparing the MB and MBP, I've decided - a MBP for me it is. What I'm really struggling with is what screen finish to get.

This will be my office lappy, hooked up to an external LCD. I travel quite a bit and conduct on-site customer demonstrations of our software. I liked the nice colors that the glossy screen produced, but I am concerned about glare, especially using it in say, an airport or on the plane.

Any real world experiences with either/both? I'd appreciate some feedback.

Thanks.
If you get a MBP with a glossy display and you hook it to an external display, which is probably not glossy, that could be very irritating for your eyes. Because you always have to switch from a non-glossy to a glossy display which stand probably side-by-side. I guess you should try this before you make your decision.

Regards, Lars
     
Abbas
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Jul 14, 2006, 10:25 AM
 
My previous Sony was a glossy and I definitely like my matte MBP more. Especially in the office where lights reflect.

-a
     
wowway1  (op)
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Jul 14, 2006, 10:55 AM
 
thanks, good feedback!
     
TerryJ
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Jul 14, 2006, 10:59 AM
 
I am using a MacBook glossy, with an Sony external matte, side by side and there is no issue of being irritating to the eyes from switching back and forth. Maybe if your eyes are particularly sensitive to such subtle nuances, but I don't think this would be a concern for the vast majority of users.

After using the glossy screen for a while, looking at a matte screen seems so flat and two dimensional (which I suppose it is, in reality). The glossy screen makes everything more alive and vibrant. I also use my MacBook for client presentations and training and again, no issues with glare or reflection. It appears that Apple is using a different finish on these screens compared to the Sonys and HPs that I have used with glossy screens. Those were absolutely terrible in terms of reflection. Not sure how they did it, but it seems that Apple got it right on this one too.
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Jason
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Jul 14, 2006, 11:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by lars-man
If you get a MBP with a glossy display and you hook it to an external display, which is probably not glossy, that could be very irritating for your eyes. Because you always have to switch from a non-glossy to a glossy display which stand probably side-by-side. I guess you should try this before you make your decision.

Regards, Lars

I never thought about that Lars Man! I have a MBP (matte) and I am really happy with it. I have used my friends MB with a glossy screen, however it was too glossy for my liking. The reflections werent unbarable, but definitely noticable enough for me to go with the matte, eventhough the colours may be a wee bit nicer on the glossy!

Also what you do with the machine might sway you to one particular option over the other. Being a graphic designer, and always working with large images, and constantly going from side to side of these images for corrections and whatnot, i need to be seeing spot on colours! and the reflections would/have (when using my friends MB) disistract me.

As a side note; i'm a very pedantic person and when i notice something i can't seem to stop thiking/looking/dreaming! about it, a glossy screen is a no go for me! (I hope this insight helps you somehow)
"Amidst all the hype of modern design and computers, we have remained true by generating the majority of our designs by hand, viewing the computer as a tool and not letting it dictate our designs." - Ames Design.
     
iREZ
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Jul 14, 2006, 11:36 AM
 
i agree wholeheartedly with jason's post above me. i too am a designer and ANY lil reflection (no matter how subtle) drives me up the wall, so i decided for the matte finish as well. sure the colors are saturated on the glossy screen, but the matte is just as bright as my 20" lcd at home and videos look just as good on int, so im very happy with my purchase.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
wowway1  (op)
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Jul 14, 2006, 01:31 PM
 
Thanks all, I just returned from the Apple store with a matte-finished MBP (base model). I studied them again pretty hard in the store and the glare would be just too much for me. Now to go set this puppy up!
     
lexon
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Jul 14, 2006, 01:31 PM
 
glossy = glare. a matte screen for sure.

like the preivous posts, i too do a lot of graphic work and a glossy screen would drive me friggin nuts.

nothing much, but my 2 cents.
     
zign
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Jul 15, 2006, 03:04 PM
 
I was thinking of getting myself a MacBook as a second laptop, but after trying it out in the store I was very dissapointed with the glare and a reflection. The colors are nicer, but maybe less natural I thought. Plus, after about 10 minutes of usage it felt as if I had PhotoBooth running all the time.
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Jawbone54
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Jul 15, 2006, 03:10 PM
 
I've used a friend's MacBook quite often recently, and the glare hasn't been a distraction for me at all. I think it really comes down to a person's personality and what they focus on. This is part of what makes the Apple stores so great.
     
wowway1  (op)
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Jul 15, 2006, 03:12 PM
 
Yeah I really wanted a MB because of my travel schedule, but just knew down the road I'd be disappointed by lack of dedicated graphics. I do like to play WoW occassionally when traveling when the hotel's internet connection will allow for it. Besides, the MBP isn't that much bigger. I'm really loving it. Picked up a 20" widescreen LCD for it today (Viewsonic, great price, 299), along with a mouse/keyboard. I'll order the 2gb RAM upgrade for it Monday. Great machine.
     
zerock
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Jul 15, 2006, 03:14 PM
 
i love the gloss, which my imac g5 screen was glossy lol.
     
Fusion
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Jul 15, 2006, 09:15 PM
 
Since you have already been to the Apple store checking them out, you already know this. But the thing I always consider is that remember even though it's a matte display, the new MBP screens are so bright that the colors look fantastic. The glossy is cool, but for serious work I find the matte much more pleasant to look at.
     
bearcat2000
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Jul 16, 2006, 02:17 PM
 
Where did you get the Viewsonic 20" for $299? I may just have to get one myself. Thanks.
     
wowway1  (op)
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Jul 16, 2006, 04:00 PM
 
Microcenter. $349 minus 50 mail-in rebate. Even came with a free DVI cable. Really nice display. 8ms. Check their website.
     
kobi
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Jul 16, 2006, 05:58 PM
 
I run that same monitor. Works great.
I'm all about the glossy, my 17 powerbook needs a new screen and I'm going to do a glossy replacement.
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MovieCutter
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Jul 16, 2006, 11:32 PM
 
From a video editor's standpoint:

Since I work in various environments, the glossy is not for me. I do a lot of editing in the field, which could be outdoors, indoors, etc. However, since my 30" is in the edit suite, which has a controlled lighting environment, I would LOVE to have a glossy screen on it. I use videoscopes to check colors anyway. But comparing a glossy screen to a matte screen in person, the glossy screen just looks sexier. Unfortunately, it only looks that sexy in controlled lighting environments.
     
Googer-Giger
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Jul 17, 2006, 10:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by lars-man
If you get a MBP with a glossy display and you hook it to an external display, which is probably not glossy, that could be very irritating for your eyes. Because you always have to switch from a non-glossy to a glossy display which stand probably side-by-side. I guess you should try this before you make your decision.

Regards, Lars
What?!

My friend has a MacBook pro 17" with the BTO, I have a 12" PowerBook, and a sony vaio VGN-AX570G for games (it has an incredible bright, glossy screen). We trade and borrow because sometimes one wants portability and the other wants the powerful guy, one wants games. Etc. I have hooked all three of them (separatly) to a Dell 19" and an Apple 20", we have had all three of them in a row at once for hours. My point is, unless we have different types of eyes or something like that, your eyes never have to adjust to a glossy screen or the other way around, unless your outside and there is a reflection or glare on the glossy screen.
I miss the days of the G5 and XPS Pentium 4 running side by side as high-end machines.
     
eddie2369
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Jul 17, 2006, 11:16 AM
 
planning to get a macbook pro soon...really wanted the glossy screen as the colours are just so attractive but havin been to the store, they highly recommend matte screen for graphics works which I do. They also told me that most of their customers are from the graphic design field, which they never chose the glossy as the colours wont be too accurate due to glare etc etc.

End of the day, is what you like and what you do with ur macbook pro the most.
     
noracrombie
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Jul 17, 2006, 11:58 AM
 
I honest have no porblem with the glossy screen. It doesnt hurt nor affect eyes at all! I love it. When i first bought my MBP... the guy gave me a matte macbook without askin me which screen i wanted. So had the chance to use matte for a few hours. I realized the matte are boring to look at. I love the glossy because it's soo much bighter and clearer.
     
polendo
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Jul 17, 2006, 06:52 PM
 
I feel that the glossy screens are way better than the normal ones. The colors are just amazing.
     
Googer-Giger
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Jul 17, 2006, 08:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by polendo
I feel that the glossy screens are way better than the normal ones. The colors are just amazing.
You need to understand that better colors is good for some, but I feel that the videocard is responsible for (sub-amazing colors), and the screen just makes them a little brighter and easier to see. But even if the good videocards were only avalible in glossy screen-machines, the horrible reflection and glare is very annoying to someone who is in a room without the window being perfect, or the lighting, or tv, etc.
I miss the days of the G5 and XPS Pentium 4 running side by side as high-end machines.
     
Googer-Giger
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Jul 17, 2006, 08:08 PM
 
But that is your opinion, and you see how I feel about different opinions.
I miss the days of the G5 and XPS Pentium 4 running side by side as high-end machines.
     
wowway1  (op)
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Jul 17, 2006, 10:13 PM
 
I'm pleased with my decision, and the screen looks identical to my 20" LCD.
     
iREZ
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Jul 18, 2006, 01:34 AM
 
glossy adds saturation to the image from what ive seen. this is a big no no for print work. i could see it being positive for those who dont do print work, but i chose matte and wont look back.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
polendo
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Jul 18, 2006, 12:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Googer-Giger
You need to understand that better colors is good for some, but I feel that the videocard is responsible for (sub-amazing colors), and the screen just makes them a little brighter and easier to see. But even if the good videocards were only avalible in glossy screen-machines, the horrible reflection and glare is very annoying to someone who is in a room without the window being perfect, or the lighting, or tv, etc.
I stand corrected. The graphic card is responsible for creating the colors. Nevertheless, If I were given the choice between the two, I would definetly go glossy. But that is me who doesn't work in the printing industry. If I were working with colors I would definetly ditch anything LCD related and go the CRT route. Then again I'm not a pro at adjusting or calibrating an LCD screen.

regards
     
Googer-Giger
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Jul 18, 2006, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by polendo
I stand corrected. The graphic card is responsible for creating the colors. Nevertheless, If I were given the choice between the two, I would definetly go glossy. But that is me who doesn't work in the printing industry. If I were working with colors I would definetly ditch anything LCD related and go the CRT route. Then again I'm not a pro at adjusting or calibrating an LCD screen.

regards
I'm no pro either, I just like to use my laptop outside, I don't like glare.
I miss the days of the G5 and XPS Pentium 4 running side by side as high-end machines.
     
Gossamer
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Jul 18, 2006, 01:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by polendo
I stand corrected. The graphic card is responsible for creating the colors.
Are you basing that on real research, or what Googer said? My iBook G4's matte screen looks washed out next to the 19" CRT it's spanned to. Same video card, but somehow the CRT's colors are much richer.
     
Dark_Lotus
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Jul 18, 2006, 03:28 PM
 
If I do go the MBP route, Im definetly going matte. For a while I was thinking there wasnt another choice but glossy on the MBP but now that I have seen it in person, I changed my mine. So your opinion matters most, just go to the store and check it out for yourself. If you do graphics work, you can always hook it up to an external display and do the graphics work on that. But who does graphics work when they're on the go?
( Last edited by Dark_Lotus; Jul 18, 2006 at 05:03 PM. )
     
iREZ
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Jul 18, 2006, 04:30 PM
 
"when THEY'RE on the go"

and i do graphic work when on the go.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
pinktank
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Jul 18, 2006, 05:48 PM
 
I can give you a comparative review after august
     
imitchellg5
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Jul 18, 2006, 07:33 PM
 
I really enjoy glossy screens most of the time. However be aware that if you will often be using it with a source of light like a window behind you, you will often see yourselfif the screen is displaying darker colors.
     
SDDave
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Jul 18, 2006, 08:41 PM
 
Okay, I've been wondering this for awhile now, this is as good a place to ask:
Virtually all CRT displays (computer and television) have glossy finishes (the glare can really be aggravating when watching TV). I presume the finish is an artifact of the manufacturing process (i.e., glass).
Virtually all large screen TV's have a matte finish (LCD, plasma) and, until recently, all flat panel computer displays. Again, I presume an artifact of manufacturing.

Of course, for a long time now, you could get a filter for your CRT display to view it through a matte screen. So now, apparently, flat panel displays are getting an "artificial finish" (matte to glossy). The grass is always greener ....

Anyway, now that we have glossy laptops, are there any plans to come out with glossy finish TV displays? I haven't heard of any such plans. For good reason, IMHO. For me, the glare on a glossy flat panel TV would drive me crazy.
But, YMMV.

I love the (matte) screen on my MBP.
     
iREZ
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Jul 18, 2006, 10:10 PM
 
ive seen both matte and glossy television displays at my local best buy...im not quite certain where youre going with this. i think its great for apple to include your choice of glossy or matte, but i personally see little use for glossy in design work.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Burn
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Jul 18, 2006, 11:18 PM
 
There is as much 'use' as any other display. Wow, this is going to be one that goes on forever.

Just like the argument of manual vs standard transmissions in cars - it's YOUR preference. Stating that one or the other is "better for design work" is hogwash. That's like saying you only design well when you are in your 100% light controlled high end natural light bulb studio. If you like to work outside or in an environment with very poor light conditions (ie, uncontrollable flourescents or other oddly placed light sources), then yes, matte might be for you. If you never encounter those conditions, then both are totally amazing and as a glossy 17" MBP owner, I would definitely recommend it.

I've done design on calibrated displays and non calibrated displays (before there WAS external calibration) and doing design requires a monitor to be somewhat good... not exact. That's what we have companies like Pantone for.
     
polendo
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Jul 19, 2006, 06:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gossamer
Are you basing that on real research, or what Googer said? My iBook G4's matte screen looks washed out next to the 19" CRT it's spanned to. Same video card, but somehow the CRT's colors are much richer.
the videocard makes the colors/graphics.. the way we see it depends on the monitor.. be it LCD or CRT.
     
imitchellg5
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Jul 19, 2006, 07:19 PM
 
In my expierience glossy is nice, but scratches easily. And if you work in bright conditions it gets to be annoying.
     
pinktank
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Jul 19, 2006, 08:02 PM
 
It's not liek youre going to pocket your lcd, I'd nevermind the scratch ssue unless you like getting tactile with your screen
     
pinktank
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Jul 19, 2006, 08:04 PM
 
"Anyway, now that we have glossy laptops, are there any plans to come out with glossy finish TV displays? I haven't heard of any such plans. For good reason, IMHO. For me, the glare on a glossy flat panel TV would drive me crazy.
But, YMMV.
"

when have you gone shopping? There are thousands of such screens out there
     
imitchellg5
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Jul 19, 2006, 09:22 PM
 
Many plasmas are glossy and some lcds.
     
   
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