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Laptops Screens, Glare or Matte?

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the the-glare-it-burns-us dept.

Portables 663

An anonymous reader writes "This weekend I spent half a day surfing the web looking for a new laptop. I just want (to be able to switch to) 1650x1280, or at least ...x1024, and a *non*-Glossy Display . To my surprise I found out that many vendors leave me not that much choice: ...x800, and glossy, i.e., higher-reflective type screens seem to have become the promoted defaults. Should I give up on my non-glossy wishes, or should I start flaming vendors?" I still can't understand the glossy screens. They make my eyes hurt almost immediately in any sort of ambient light, and do nothing in low light. Glossy laptop screens are like TVs on the shelf in the store with their colors all whacked out to look brighter. Once you get them into the real world, you realize that the colors are just wrong.

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663 comments

ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23063494)

The ThinkPad T61's still use a non-reflective screen, and are now available in wide screen models.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (2, Insightful)

electrictroy (912290) | about 6 years ago | (#23063608)

My work computer has a glossy screen. I have to put a "roof" on it to block the glare of the flourescent lighting. WORSE: The stupid glossy material was scratched by the company's IT guru, so now all I see is a giant smudge on the bottom 1/8th of the screen --- unusuable.

I still prefer CRTs. They may be "old fashioned" but at least they were scratch-proof (real glass, not plastic), could be easily cleaned (windex), and made brighter pictures.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (1, Informative)

emag (4640) | about 6 years ago | (#23063820)

I managed to scratch a Sun-branded Trinitron about 10 years ago, carrying it from one office to another in a parallel hallway. At the time, it never occured to me to take my ID badge with the metal clip off my neck, so with it between my chest an the tube, I ended up with a nice 2" wavy scratch in the middle of the screen...

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (3, Informative)

Mr Z (6791) | about 6 years ago | (#23064004)

Ah yes. As I recall, the Sun Trinitrons have an antiglare coat that can scratch relatively easily compared to straight up glass. It also tended to make fingerprints glow practically neon under certain fluorescent lighting conditions. (And people wonder why half the fluorescent bulbs are turned off in my office.) As for the glossy laptop screens, I'm thinking about getting one of those 3-M privacy filters. Those have a matte finish, and should hide the glossy from the glare. I'm hoping that's the one saving grace of glossy--less light loss before getting to the privacy filter.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (3, Informative)

csimicah (592121) | about 6 years ago | (#23063612)

2nding the T61. We have trouble finding high-end laptops that don't come with subwoofers and Splinter Cell stickers; our new T61 fits the bill exactly and has a matte 1920x1200 screen.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (3, Informative)

Cecil (37810) | about 6 years ago | (#23064026)

I think those are technically T61p's. I just got a fully-loaded T61p with the 15.4" 1920x1200 widescreen a week ago and it is wonderful. I'm loving it so far.

So I third the T61 recommendation.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#23064040)

MacBook Pro [apple.com]. You can even run Windows on it. Doesn't come with Splinter Cell stickers or subwoofers. And they give you the option of glossy or matte.

I mean, if you're willing to shell out the dough for a T61, you might as well get a MacBook Pro and at least have the option to run MacOS X.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 years ago | (#23063670)

Yeah, I was sitting here on my ThinkPad T61 just now wondering what the issue is. No wonder I couldn't figure out what people were complaining about. Then I saw the screenshots of a glossy screen, and I have to say that totally sucks. Yeah, ThinkPad T61 may be the way to go. Mine is 15.4 inches widescreen at 1280x800 resolution (WXGA), but they go up to 1680x1050 (WSXGA).

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 6 years ago | (#23063850)

Does anyone understand these bizarre acronyms, WXGA, WSXGA and so on? If XGA is 1024x768, why is WXGA 1280x800?

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (5, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | about 6 years ago | (#23063990)

WXGA = Wide XGA

But I very much prefer people say the numeric resolution these days. I'm not interested in keeping up with the acronyms.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (2, Informative)

Octorian (14086) | about 6 years ago | (#23064070)

Seems like a load of crap invented by laptop manufacturers who thought it would be better to confuse buyers with acronyms than meaningful numbers. Of course I'm probably half-wrong, and there is some sort of reason for all of this.

Regardless, just print this [wikipedia.org] out, and post it on your wall.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (3, Informative)

Mr Z (6791) | about 6 years ago | (#23064102)

I've always found these inscrutable, personally, and they also don't seem to always be exactly set in concrete. Wikipedia has a secret decoder ring, [wikipedia.org] thankfully, and points out some of the inconsistencies [wikipedia.org] on individual pages where different resolutions have been referred to by the same name.

This is worse than the HD folks mixing 2^10 and 10^3 units in the drive capacity computation.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (2, Informative)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#23064120)

W usually means widescreen: implying formatted for the display of HD content. Note that when you go from 1024x768 to 1280x800 you gain more in the width:
1280/1024 = 1.25
800/768 = 1.041

Usually a W format screen is 16:10 so that 16:9 HD can be displayed inside a window with a titlebar without any stretching.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23063672)

Ditto Acer's TravelMate 8200/8210 notebooks, which come with a 1680 x 1050 pixel matte panel. Backlight brightness is a little sub-par, but in *most* other respects these are pretty darned powerful and well-designed notebooks.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (1)

blue_teeth (83171) | about 6 years ago | (#23063766)

A Thinkpad T40, T42, T43 and now currently T60 user here. For some, they may appear ugly. Once you get used them, you will appreciate their ergonomics and build quality. You will not be sorry for making investment in Thinkpad T Series.

Cheers
BT

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (1)

Yoooder (1038520) | about 6 years ago | (#23063772)

I just purchased a T61 from Lenovo's Outlet and have very few qualms. I'd heard the LCD wasn't as bright as many would like, but it's every bit as bright as the Gateway M-685E that I've been using for the past 18 months.

The ThinkPad is a killer machine, and my favorite aspect is the cooling. There's not really any intakes on the bottom of it, so having it on your lap won't turn you into a eunich.

One note: My T61 (with a Seagate Momentus HDD) is affected by the Load_Cycle_Count bug under both Linux and Vista, you'll likely need/want to use Notebook Hardware Control if you're intending it to be a Windows machine.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (2, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | about 6 years ago | (#23063892)

I couldn't get a T61, so I got a MacBook Pro.

Anyway, Macs also have matte screens, and for the love of FSM, I cannot see the reasoning behind glossy screens. They look like fscking mirrors.
If I wanted to see myself or what's behind me, I'd have invested in a mirror. I want to see what's on the screen, thank you so very much.

It appears only the high-end stuff still gets matte screens; I hope they don't go out of style.

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (5, Funny)

RedHelix (882676) | about 6 years ago | (#23063874)

Just wipe it with some isopropyl alcohol, it'll tear the gloss right off. Disclaimer: Don't do this

Re:ThinkPads still use non-reflective screens (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | about 6 years ago | (#23063890)

My work-issued machine is a Dell with a 1920x1200 matte-finish display, and it is gorgeous. I don't know if I would necessarily recommend Dell to anyone, but I mainly bring it up to point out that they do exist

Similarly, I recently purchased a 1680x1050 LCD monitor, also in a matte finish. Salesdude was trying very hard to sell me on a high-speed, high-contrast, glossy (and, of course, high-priced) model, but (a) I didn't like the finish and (b) I didn't need that much speed (the claimed 2ms is equivalent to 500 FPS)

Agreed- glossy sucks (4, Interesting)

Brandee07 (964634) | about 6 years ago | (#23063496)

My newest laptop has a glossy screen for lack of a matte option, and while I don't hate it with a fiery passion, I do prefer the matte screen of my old computer. Unfortunately, Apple only offers matte options on MacBook Pros, and not MacBooks. =(

Re:Agreed- glossy sucks (2, Insightful)

phpmysqldev (1224624) | about 6 years ago | (#23063640)

I think most of it comes down to screen quality overall. While I prefer a non-glossy screen, I would much rather have a bright, quality glossy screen over a sub-par matte screen. I have two laptops, one glossy one matte and the matte screen has a far superior viewing angle which I enjoy because I use my laptops for watching movies on trips a lot and hate having to adjust the screen angle to see the picture.

Ooh, shiny (1)

Cillian (1003268) | about 6 years ago | (#23063506)

I find a glossy display gives better blacks and dark colours, though I completely agree that they are terrible unless in perfect lighting.

Re:Ooh, shiny (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23063658)

You racist

Re:Ooh, shiny (5, Interesting)

badasscat (563442) | about 6 years ago | (#23063664)

I find a glossy display gives better blacks and dark colours,

That is the idea.

It's very easy to make a cheap LCD screen extremely bright - brighter than you would ever need (or could even tolerate). It is not easy to make a cheap LCD screen with a decent black level.

So these glossy screens act as a sort of neutral density filter. They lower the black level at the expense of some of the unusable white level on the other end of the spectrum.

But these filters are always being used to mask flaws (poor black level and contrast) in cheap screens. It is still obviously better to just buy a better screen capable of better black levels.

I have a laptop with a glossy screen and I hate it. I bought it because it was cheap. Next time, I'll spend a little more and buy a laptop with a decent screen that doesn't require tricks to get it to look good at the expense of glare.

At work, I have two non-coated screens and it's such a pleasure to work with them by comparison.

Re:Ooh, shiny (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#23063972)

Any source for this? AFAIK matte distributes glare over a bigger surface and in more directions which makes it less of a mirror but also disturbs more of the surface, it also spread lightning from the pixels in whatever directions. Sure glossy will make it more like a mirror but atleast the glare and concentrated to a few spots, and the light will travel more straight forward against you (doesn't it? Maybe that affect viewing angles, but I doubt it since specs seems to be similair, TN-panels sucks major ass anyway, no matter what if they are glossy or mate, Nec 20WGX2Pro are glossy IPS and it probably still have 178 degree viewing angle ...)

Anyway I have a Macbook Pro glossy and it doesn't bother me, but then I haven't seen or compared it with a matte one since noone sells macs here.

How can one find such a thing? (3, Funny)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#23063986)

It is still obviously better to just buy a better screen capable of better black levels.

Well, yes, but trying to find that is probably going to be harder than trying to find a screen that does true 24-bit or 32-bit color, instead of 8-bit or 16-bit with dithering.

Where do we start?

Glossy is more like reading paper (5, Informative)

davide marney (231845) | about 6 years ago | (#23063524)

No doubt this is hugely a matter of personal preference, but after using a glossy screen for 3 years, my preference is definitely for glossy. True, one must get used to positioning the screen to avoid reflections, but this becomes automatic very quickly. The experience of a glossy screen is far easier on my eyes, and the higher contrast feels much more like reading on paper.

For the record, I'm officially over the hill, and have used glasses all my adult life.

Re:Glossy is more like reading paper (2, Insightful)

friendofthenite (1226310) | about 6 years ago | (#23063704)

I guess it is down to personal preference, which is why it's pity that many manufacturers have stopped even giving the option of a matte screen. Personally I find that glossy screens offer a poor viewing angle and unwanted reflections - but they seem to have won the battle for mass appeal.

Re:Glossy is more like reading paper (4, Interesting)

SpryGuy (206254) | about 6 years ago | (#23063878)

I'm not sure that glossy/matte has anything to do with viewing angle. Individual displays have differences in viewing angles, but the same display with different finishes wouldn't.

Mercifully I don't have to work in a cube environment with over-head flourescent lighting or anything, so the glossy screens look just fine to me. I also don't have huge bright windows at my back either. I guess those lighting issues would cause glossy screens to be somewhat annoying, but I just never seem to run into the situation where it's a problem.

And all my glossy screens (laptop, desktop, HD TV) have incredible and wide viewing angles.

Re:Glossy is more like reading paper (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#23064008)

All laptops except whatever Thinkpad it was only offer TN-panels so viewing angles will suck on all of them. I doubt this have shit to do with the screen having an anti-glare coating or not.

Re:Glossy is more like reading paper (5, Insightful)

jyoull (512280) | about 6 years ago | (#23063854)

*nod*. I don't wear glasses, and was recently "forced" into a glossy screen because the rest of this laptop was exactly what I wanted. I perceive it as brighter and cleaner than the several non-glossy displays that preceded it. This surprised me as I thought I'd hate it. But on the balance i am not at all unhappy, after an adjustment period of maybe a week or two. For a while I had both laptops and the "old one" seemed dim and less sharp. I agree with posters who have written that reading dark text on white has a sense of "text on paper" on the glossy screen, while the matte screens look like computer displays.

Hey, anyone remember 16-color EGA? :)

Re:Glossy is more like reading paper (1)

gyranthir (995837) | about 6 years ago | (#23063948)

Exactly, it takes some adjustment time, but Glossy is definitely my preference now as well.

Re:Glossy is more like reading paper (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23064050)

Hey, anyone remember 16-color EGA? :)
I remember Hercules Monochrome, you insensitive clod!

Re:Glossy is more like reading paper (1)

kcelery (410487) | about 6 years ago | (#23063956)

When people watch movies, the screen looks better when you turn up the screen to make it brighter. In this case the reflection glare would hardly be noticed.

Now when you use the screen for word processing. Staring at bright background would hurt the eyes. So I would turn the white background to grey background and dim the screen. My eyes would feel much better after hours in front of the screen. When the screen is dimmer, back reflection will be an issue. So I would prefer glossy screen for movies, matte screen for word processing.

Another quality Internet discussion (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23064064)

Yet another person coming forward to say, "I don't like x, I prefer Y. Anyone who likes X must be retarded."

It's a situational preference, get over it. If you don't like one buy the other. It's pretty simple, we have based our entire commercial system on it.

Not an issue (3, Insightful)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | about 6 years ago | (#23063526)

I read all the bashing of glossy screens and even started to repeat the propaganda. But in reality, it doesn't matter. The glossy screens tend to have better contrast and be easier on my eyes, and glare isn't an issue in practice. You do tend to notice glare in a store, looking at a big row of laptops, but it's a total non-issue for me.

Re:Not an issue (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 years ago | (#23063624)

I cannot disagree more. The only time the additional glare of the glossy screen will not affect you is if you only use your laptop where there's no light, e.g., in your mom's basement. In fact, ANY time there is ANY light source brighter than the panel at your back, you will have glare. The problem is most serious on LCD displays because they have a limited viewing angle which often coincides with the glare.

Re:Not an issue (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#23063870)

. In fact, ANY time there is ANY light source brighter than the panel at your back, you will have glare.

It depends all on angles and lighting. In a properly designed work environment, glare will never be a problem because there should never be any direct lighting that can't be repositioned by the end-user.

If this isn't the case for you, then your work environment is substandard and a threat to your health, especially your eyes. In which case, you should notify your employer, with all of the appropriate hints that if they don't fix it, you'll sue them.

Re:Not an issue (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23063894)

What you're saying is true of a matte screen, but not a glossy one.

A glossy screen (like a mirror) reflects ambient light directionally, so the glare from a light source will be super-bad if the screen is aligned so that the glare is reflected into the user's eyes, but minimal otherwise. Matte screens reflect as much light but scatter it in all directions, so the worst-case glare is reduced but the best-case glare (in any particular environment) is increased.

The matte screen also (to some degree) scatters the light from the screen itself, which is why the images from a matte screen are not as sharp.

Insist on non-glare (2, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | about 6 years ago | (#23063530)

Glare-type displays have better colors unter some conditions (dark environment), but will often be pretty bad. Their primary advantage is that they are cheaper to manufacture.

For the resolution, don't get something below your standards. If the product you want is really not available, then refuse to buy.

The problem with matte (5, Informative)

Piata (927858) | about 6 years ago | (#23063536)

I have a glossy laptop and a matte LCD. The problem with the matte screen is it can make things appear grainy.

The glossy screen has a much sharper image but the reflections are annoying.

That said, bad colour exists in both desktop LCD's and laptops. The only real deterrent for this is to spend a lot of money to get a colour accurate display.

I feel your pain (2, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | about 6 years ago | (#23063546)

Even flat panel displays for desktops are jumping on the glossy bandwagon. I suspect it's because glossy models sell better. People see them on the shelves, "oooooh, shiny!" and buy them without regard for actual useability.

I could be wrong, but I believe Thinkpads are still mostly, if not all, matte screns.

Re:I feel your pain (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#23064088)

And on desktops aswell people don't have a fucking clue so everyone and their dog buy shitty TN-panels all the fucking time so it's not like some glare will bother them. A matte or glossy TN-panel won't matter at all since THEY BOTH SUCK.

I don't mind glossy, my macbook pro works nice. I do mind TN thought. I want a IPS panel which aren't to expensive, glossy or not doesn't matter. Should have bought the Nec WGX2Pro when it was cheaper, but I had the Dell WXP2007 at home but the anti-glare coating of that one was like staring at a grease dustfilled window. I'd so much rather have a glossy one than that piece of shit.

Toshiba M70 (2, Interesting)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 6 years ago | (#23063558)

My Toshiba M70 is ridiculously glarey (if there is such a word). On some web pages I have to tilt the screen back and forth until I find an angle that I can read the text at, otherwise everything's way too light.

Now that I know I'll be avoiding any laptop with a screen that might be too shiny...

Re:Toshiba M70 (0, Offtopic)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#23063970)

I was in a small company that merged with another small company; we used ThinkPads, because we'd had good experience with their quality, they used Toshibas, because they were affordable.

All I can say is that going with the Toshibas was a false economy. We were accustomed to beating on our ThinkPads until the letters on the keycaps were literally worn off. Actually the Thinkpad keys are probably its weakest point; individual keys tend to break off after eighteen months to two years of this punishment, although we became adept at fixing these problems. Toshibas often had multiple problems before they were a year old, with the power supply, screen or keyboard.

And forget about Linux running on them, not if you wanted everything to work. Toshiba's BIOS appears deliberately designed to kick Linux in the nuts. Things don't work, but you can get them to work if you lie to the BIOS when you are booting and say you are running Windows XP. Oh, and forget about changing any BIOS settings, Toshiba won't let you adjust much more than the system clock; you can change the boot order of devices, but that doesn't work very well either.

I like glossy (2, Interesting)

erinacht (592019) | about 6 years ago | (#23063560)

not much help to you, but I find the glossy screen on my MBP to be superior to it's non glossy counterpart. The only real problem I experience is fingermarks being tricky to simply rub off.

Re:I like glossy (2, Insightful)

SpryGuy (206254) | about 6 years ago | (#23063934)

Get a micro-fiber cloth. It cleans the screens quickly and easily, without requiring any cleaning agent.

Heck, I picked one up at the grocery store for cheap, and it works perfectly.

Get a MacBook Pro (2, Informative)

cjsnell (5825) | about 6 years ago | (#23063564)

Available in non-glossy by order. Some Apple stores may even stock the non-glossy versions.

Displays are nice (-1, Offtopic)

techpawn (969834) | about 6 years ago | (#23063570)

But in the end will it Run Linux?

That's been my killing point on most portables. Unless I want a Mac they all run Vista.

Huh? (1)

mpapet (761907) | about 6 years ago | (#23063832)

http://www.linuxcertified.com/linux_laptops.html [linuxcertified.com]

HP is rumored to ship a Linux laptop.

Here's a decent list that's a bit dated, but probably helpful http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168 [lxer.com]

Finally, blow away that Microsoft partition and install it yourself!

Re:Huh? (1)

techpawn (969834) | about 6 years ago | (#23063976)

I've read somewhere that they did something to the BIOS settings and that's not all you need to do anymore. That you need to reload an older version of the bios (if you can find one) or you can't install anything else... Or way that just a rumor?

That's like stating that 1+1 = 2 ;-) (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 years ago | (#23063582)

Who is going to argue with that? Just buy your machine from a trustworthy manufacturer, i.e. IBM/Lenovo. :]

most vendors (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 6 years ago | (#23063586)

Nearly every vendor offers some laptop models that have a non-reflective screen. Unfortunately you haven't given us much else to go on other than a couple of desired resolutions and non-glossy screens. First question is what is your budget? How high are you willing to go, since most of the non-glossy options are towards the higher end of the model ranges (i.e., professional-use machines). Also, do you have any other specific requirements? Non-integrated graphics? Processor type/speed?

Bigger issue than glare (4, Insightful)

LehiNephi (695428) | about 6 years ago | (#23063594)

I'm a little ambivalent about the glossy vs matte issue, but I have a bigger issue with notebook screens: It's either very hard or relatively expensive to get a laptop with a 4:3 aspect ratio screen. Widescreens are good for two things: movies and (some) games. They're no good for web browsing or viewing documents. Anything less than 1920x1200 is too narrow to fit two windows comfortably side-by-side, and you sacrifice vertical resolution to get the widescreen.

Unfortunately, it seems that the manufacturers have decided that normal-aspect-ratio screens, along with docking connectors, Windows XP, and optical drive slots that can take a secondary battery, are a feature that only business users might need. Accordingly, those features are only available on the drastically-more-expensive business market laptops.

Re:Bigger issue than glare (1)

brunes69 (86786) | about 6 years ago | (#23063642)

Anything less than 1920x1200 is too narrow to fit two windows comfortably side-by-side, and you sacrifice vertical resolution to get the widescreen.

Er... so get a 1920x1200 laptop then?

Both my current and previous Dells (D600 and D820) have been 1920x1200.

Re:Bigger issue than glare (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 6 years ago | (#23063830)

Hollywood is shifting every screen over to 16:9 HD content. It will take another decade but it has already started. That way you don't lose anything when moving a moire from th big screen to your home. editing to fit your tv does cause quite a bit of movie loss.

Computer manufacturers are just following along. besides I find more room in widescreens, as I can shift things like IM clients, docks(apple listen up here) Icons and what not over to one side and not lose anything to display a whole webpage. there isn't quite enough room for to documents side by side but you can get a nice random toolbar of other items. Something that doesn't work so well on the 4:3 aspect unless your at much higher resolutions.

Re:Bigger issue than glare (1)

mikael (484) | about 6 years ago | (#23063888)

I would second that - if I'm going to buy a new laptop I expect the display to fill the entire frame of the laptop, not have a bit "cut off" at the bottom which is replaced with the casing. That seems to be a retrograde step similar to the early laptops which only filled the center quarter of the display.

Using a basic 8x16 font with an 80x60 character grid, standard window frames for the desktop GUI, the minimum resolution is around 1280x960.

I blame certain graphics chips manufacturers for using the phrase "cinematic computing" which then led the display manufacturers to switch to cinema ratio display formats.

Re:Bigger issue than glare (1)

The One and Only (691315) | about 6 years ago | (#23063996)

I've found that a widescreen is wonderful if I want to read or write in a primary taller-than-it-is-wide window on one side and keep an eye on something else on the side. On the other hand, the Windows UI discourages this behavior by encouraging you to maximize all your windows and tab between them.

I like widescreen. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#23064112)

Aside from what happens when I actually have a movie to watch, there's the fact that I often can find a few columns to fill that space.

Current example: Kate, a text editor, with a filesystem browser on the left, and a list of open documents on the right, with the actual editing space between them. Maximize it, and I don't feel like any space is wasted. Certainly not as good as if I had a full 1920x1200, or 1920x1080, but I can usually find a way to fill any decent screen.

Apple (3, Informative)

Telvin_3d (855514) | about 6 years ago | (#23063600)

Well, for what it is worth, the MacBook Pro line of Apple laptops have the free choice of glossy or matte displays. Not sure if that would be your cup of tea, but at least one vendor is giving the option.

Re:Apple (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 years ago | (#23063896)

Most of the companies that do configure-your-system options give you the choice, and companies like HP which just crap a whole lot of variations on a particular model onto the marketplace usually do a decent spread of glossy and matte machines. It's usually not difficult to get your preference satisfied.

Re:Apple (2, Informative)

bugnuts (94678) | about 6 years ago | (#23064020)

That is exactly what I came here to post. Here's a link to the specs. [apple.com]

It's only available on the macbook pro, but that's what the OP would need anyway, because of the screen size.

I remember when my gf (no, really) called me from Apple to ask which screen to get and I insisted on the matte... she apparently had to hassle the "genius" there because she had already picked one out that included a glossy screen.

Glossy looks better (2, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | about 6 years ago | (#23063620)

Glossy screens look more attractive when sold in stores. I guess that's why so many manufacturers choose such screens over matte screens, simply because presentations look better. Furthermore, black looks better on glossy screens, which seems to be a huge selling-point with both TV sets and monitors nowadays.

Re:Glossy looks better - but lousy contrast ratios (3, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 6 years ago | (#23063942)

> Furthermore, black looks better on glossy screens I've heard this before (and not just on this topic). However I just can't bring myself to beleive it. For example, given that most people use their screens in normal ambient light (OK some gamers/video enthusiasts may turn the lights out, but most people don't - it's ones like ME I interested in). That means you always have reflections bouncing around. When you have a totally black screen, all you see are the reflections, not the "blackness".

I did an experiment a while back and used the exposure meter on my DSLR to measure the difference in contrast between a normal picture and a "black" on a glossy screen. I got a contrast ratio of 80:1

To put this on context, I was looking at LCD TVs claiming contrast ratios of well over 1000:1 - absolutely no way, in a normally lit room. Even 80:1 means that you don't get the full dynamic range of an 8-bit display and I blame a large part of this crappy contrast ratio on the reflections from the glossy screen.

thinkpads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23063638)

If I recall correctly, thinkpads still come with a matte finish. I agree, the glossy finish isn't good for much except preventing people from sneaking up behind you.

Glaring mis-design (5, Interesting)

DanQuixote (945427) | about 6 years ago | (#23063644)


I bought a used big-screen last year. I quite liked it except for the glare.

After a while I found a local plastics shop that could sell me a large enough sheet of the anti-reflective stuff used in framing. And I mounted it to the front of the TV myself. That completely solved the problem.

You might be able to buy the laptop with all the other features you want, then go to your nearest framing shop and get their nice anti-glare "glass", and mount it to your display.

i luckily missed this one (1)

Aeron65432 (805385) | about 6 years ago | (#23063662)

I couldn't agree more, and I didn't know that there were so many people that hate the glossy-display. I cannot stand it, it causes more glare than it reduces and matte is just a natural looking display.

I ordered my laptop from Dell a few months before several of my friends ordered. Sometime in the spring of 2006, Dell decided to switch all over standardly to their "TrueLife" display. Thankfully I missed it.....but now it's very hard to find a cheap laptop without the new anti-glare shine.

Glossy and outside use (2, Insightful)

QBasicer (781745) | about 6 years ago | (#23063666)

Sometimes I find it relaxing to use my laptop on the back deck, however, if it's really sunny, I have to struggle with the screen because pretty much all I can see is myself in the extremely glossy toshiba screen. I'm not sure if the matte screens are any better, but in reality laptops probably aren't designed for bright outside use. The glossy screens remind me of the tube tvs, where if there was a window in the room, you lost part of your screen to glare. Much the same here. On the bright side, sometimes you can use your screen to see who's peeking over your shoulder.

Matte = glare from all angles (4, Interesting)

taharvey (625577) | about 6 years ago | (#23063680)

If you use a glossy screen, you will realize that it is superior in most cases.

With a matte screen, light from any vector to the user will create glare. WIth a Glossy screen, only light vector opposite to the user will create a reflection.

Glossy screens have much higher contrast and brightness, meaning you are much more likely to see them in poor lighting conditions, and at least you have the choice to orient your screen so you don't have reflections. With a matte screen, no matter what you do, you will have glare - eating into your already reduced contrast and brightness.

Re:Matte = glare from all angles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23063860)

It's not only the glare, but also the reflections from everywhere that hinder your view.

Imagine yourself sitting in an office where you cannot relocate the desk or close any window blinds. Midday sunlight shines on an ordinary white wall several meters behind you. Common scenario, BTW. And you'll see nothing but a white spot on your glossy display. And then the sun turns around and all you see is your face in the mirrored display.

Superior, eh? :)

Re:Matte = glare from all angles (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23064106)

This is borderline moronic. It's like saying "You can only see things directly behind you in a mirror." No. The mirror reflects all vectors from any incident angle, creating a reflection of the entire field behind you. There could be an entire space-shuttle in a mirror.

Glossy displays are like mirrors. Every light behind you, no matter how pitiful, blasts your retina.

Matte screens at least attempt to deal with it by putting a difuser in front. This is like putting a piece of paper in front of a mirror. The sun will still blast through, but at least you can't see every single horrible detail behind you. Sometimes you just want to see your screen.

MacBook Pro has both options (2, Informative)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | about 6 years ago | (#23063684)

I bought my MacBook Pro about 7 months ago, and when I did, the clerk asked me which I wanted, saying they had every configuration in that line with either option (though the store was sold out of glossy in the 15' 2GB/2.8GHz model at the time of purchases, which was OK since I wanted non-glossy.)

I never really thought about it, but they said that glossy is popular for folks watching a lot of movies or gaming (I know I'm going to get some replys for insinuating that one can game on a Mac... ;)) on the device. The clerk said that for word processing, internet, and design work that most folks prefer the non-glossy one as the color can be misleading. I don't know if that is true (or why/why not), but sounds belivable.
 
When I have spec'd Dell or HP for work, I've found that usually you have to search for non-glossy ones, and it is usually a seperate model number, not a selectable line-item option on a machine. I usually had to select the box I wanted based on the machine size/style/monitor, then customize the internal specs like CPU, RAM, disk.
 
The Apple method (machine, then monitor) made more sense to me, but it isn't exactly a direct comparison to evaluate a retail and online experience.

If you have the money... (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | about 6 years ago | (#23063688)

Go for a Panasonic Y7 [panasonic.jp]. Decently sized non-glossy screen there. Plus Panasonic has wonderful warranty service (oh, and it's not China-made, if you care about that).

Hmm.... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 6 years ago | (#23063706)

The ad on the page(yeah, I'm not cool enough to use adblocker :p) is for the Samsung series of glossy LCD displays. Sorry dude, this might be a battle that you wont win

I had the same problem (1)

soilheart (1081051) | about 6 years ago | (#23063720)

When I was deciding on what laptop to buy I had the same problem.

I didn't really care about the glossy/matte thing (but matte felt more right as I've understood that glossy screens are a pain in sunligt, and I wanted to be able to use my laptop outside at our summer house).

But finding a good laptop with more than 1280x800 was a pain.
In the end I took a 15" HP 6710b with 1680x1050 (I would rather have had a 1400x1050 as my first HP laptop though, but that choice wasn't possible).

The better to see you with, my pretty... (5, Funny)

The Assistant (1162547) | about 6 years ago | (#23063722)

Glossy is better for looking at scantily clad ladies. Makes them look like they do in them thar magazines!!!!! :)

There are tradeoffs to both types (5, Informative)

wodgy7 (850851) | about 6 years ago | (#23063748)

This page has some good diagrams explaining what happens to light in "matte" (anti-glare) versus "glossy" (anti-reflective) screens:

http://www.screentekinc.com/pixelbright-lcds.shtml [screentekinc.com]

With matte screens, emitted light is more diffuse, a disadvantage (less color accuracy, potentially more long-term eyestrain). With glossy screens on the other hand, you have the disadvantage of specular reflections, which some people may find distracting. At any rate, the conventional wisdom that glossy screens are just a fancy way to sell computers to unwitting masses is uninformed. There are engineering tradeoffs both ways. I personally find the diffuse light transmission of matte screens more tiring than specular reflections, but it obviously depends on the person.

Latitude (1)

VanHalensing (926781) | about 6 years ago | (#23063752)

Dell Latitudes have the matte screens. Mine's 1680x1050. The resolution you asked for is 4:3, which they still have a few models with that kind, otherwise, move to widescreen.

Manufacturer Induced Preference (1)

EchoD (1031614) | about 6 years ago | (#23063782)

Most users simply don't notice, or care, that there is a difference in screen. Thus, these users do not complain. Of those who do notice, and have problems, most do not complain. To the industry, there is no problem. Most users, to their knowledge, are fine with it.

The two machines I use at work have glossy displays. I only notice the minimal glare from the overhead lighting when I look for it. The shelving attached to my desk has some recessed lighting built into it, which offsets the glare a little more.

When I ordered my MacBook Pro for home use, I selected the high-resolution matte display option. I did this for more accurate color representation. Unlike my employer, I researched the differences in display before I made the purchase.

All that aside, it doesn't really matter to me which type of display is used. Each has their advantages—My boss loves to proof artwork on the glossy displays, as he thinks they look so shiny. I prefer to work on matte displays as they display the colors more accurately.

Sorry, I love the glossy screens (3, Informative)

SpryGuy (206254) | about 6 years ago | (#23063804)

My laptop has one (I had to choose it as an option), and it gives much richer colors and blacker blacks, and I don't have any problem reading it in any light at all. I'm not sure what problem people have with glossy screens, but I go out of my way to get them. When I got a wide-screen HD TV, I got one with a glossy screen (and got a huge boost in contrast by doing so at no extra cost).

Maybe it takes some getting used to, and maybe there are some lighting situations that cause issues that I just never seem to run across, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Just my two cents.

has anyone tried their own conversion? (1)

mrcdeckard (810717) | about 6 years ago | (#23063810)


has anyone tried converting a glossy to a matte? i'm thinking 1200 grit sandpaper might do the trick.

all the screens in my life are matte, so i've not a reason to try this.

mr c

Re:has anyone tried their own conversion? (2, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 6 years ago | (#23063992)

The surface isn't just ground, but also polarised. It helps reduce the diffusion of light passing through the matte coating, but doesn't eliminate it.

Dell Latitude (1)

cerelib (903469) | about 6 years ago | (#23063846)

How about a Dell Latitude 830. You can get: 1920x1200 1680x1050 1280x800 I believe they still use the matte screens. I personally like the matte screens, but must admit that the vibrant colors of the glossy screens are tempting. The cost (in glare and reflection) of those vibrant colors is just too high, they made the screens matte for a reason.

Add-on Non Glare Laptop Filter (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23063904)

There's a company called Nushield www.nushield.com that makes a non-glare film that can be inserted behind the bezel. You cut it about 1/4" larger than the display area, and it slips in.

It worked well for me, but you need to be careful when inserting it. It took me a few tries to get it to fit right since I didn't want to cut it too much. I scuffed some of the edges.

Dell Vostro (1)

Oxy the moron (770724) | about 6 years ago | (#23063930)

I currently own a Dell Vostro 1700. It has a 17" widescreen @ 1440x900, and it does not have the glossy screen. I purchased it a little over a month ago. Perhaps you could try one of those?

Glossy film on glossy screen (2, Interesting)

weeroona (465619) | about 6 years ago | (#23063964)

my flatmate put a glossy film on his Macbook Pro glossy screen. He did what? The glossy film is less glossy than the MBP and is a balance between matte and glossy.

As a grad student, almost all of my classmates have Macbook Pros. Several of the matte screen users have said they'd now regret the choice.... mostly for vibrant colors. I work next to a sunny window and rarely have a problem. I don't work outside often which is the only time I've had a problem.

Not again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23063966)

And here I just settled on amber.

Etch it yourself (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 6 years ago | (#23063968)

Get pure acetone and hydrogen peroxide. Mix together and heat to 50 centrigrade. Add a few drops of sulphuric acid. Allow to cool. Place the laptop screen down and pour the mixture onto the lcd until it forms a pool the depth of the bezel - you might want to place sellotape to protect the bezel from any splashes. Leave overnight. Remove any crystals that have formed by rubbing firmly with a microfibre cloth.

For display purposes or for actual use (1)

macemoneta (154740) | about 6 years ago | (#23064000)

As far as I've been able to see, people that display their technology (but don't actually use it) prefer glossy displays. They look much prettier and "high tech" and catch the attention of casual passersby. Those that use their machines prefer the non-glossy screen, to avoid glare. You only have to work in a normally lighted environment for a few minutes to get annoyed by a glossy screen. I find the glossy screens useful as an indicator. In the old days it was the person that had their secretary print out their emails - but had the most expensive computer on their desk. Today, it's the folks with glossy screens.

Dell -- Latitude D830 -- Small business (1)

lazy-ninja (1061312) | about 6 years ago | (#23064006)

With any company I always recommend dealing with their small business department. You get better warranties and less of the cheapo skimp hardware (like gloss screens) than you do through retail or home user departments. Check out the D830 from Dell. Default it comes with a 1680x1050 screen or for $150 you can bump it up to a 1920x1200. D830 [dell.com]

I just grabbed a Dell Vostro (1)

LearnToSpell (694184) | about 6 years ago | (#23064036)

Mi vostro es vostro vos... whatever. Anyway, it seemed like most of the Dell Small Business lines have a matte choice. It's amazing to go into a big box store and not see a single non-glossy option. I'd consider it - maybe - with a desktop screen, but for a laptop, glossy seems idiotic. Any kind of situation where you'd have constant moving reflections (like a train on the LIRR, say) would just drive you nuts. (And by "you," I mean "me.")

I went with the matte. It's comforting, and traditional. :-)

Matte is better. (2, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 6 years ago | (#23064038)

I've been told that the glossy screens are appealing to companies because they make for a more eye-catching presentation in stores. They tend to make colors appear more vibrant; I'm not sure why, and I guess most people are impressed by shiny things.

I personally don't like them. I have one of the current iMacs at work with the glass screen. I happen to be sitting in a spot where reflection and clare is minimal, but even then I can see reflections of things around me in the screen.

I have matte LCD screens at home which I much prefer. Obviously those have no issue with glare. And if I were to get a laptop no way in hell would I get one with a glossy screen. Given that they might be used anywhere it's going to be inevitable that there will be issues with glare.

I LIKE the glossy screen! (1)

Bilbo (7015) | about 6 years ago | (#23064080)

I have an Asus "asmobile" with a 1680x1050 screen (15.4 diagonal), and I LOVE it. Yea, I get some reflection, but the screen is bright enough that I don't notice is much -- or at least no more than I did with my previous Dell laptop with the mat finish screen. I couldn't see that one at all if I was outside.

I think it's more a matter of the display technology BEHIND the mat/glossy finish than it is how reflective the finish is.

The color question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23064084)

Glossy laptop screens are like TVs on the shelf in the store with their colors all whacked out to look brighter. Once you get them into the real world, you realize that the colors are just wrong.
-----
Just about every modern video card has a color calibration/gamma utility. If the colors are off, calibrate it and adjust the gamma. There are limitations but you can usually get the color balance right.

-AC

Dell Latitudes (5, Informative)

cyanics (168644) | about 6 years ago | (#23064110)

I have both a Dell d830 and d620 which have non-reflective screens. The D830's native resolution is 1920x1200. I think you haven't been looking around enough, there are plenty of options. However, you typically have to look towards the business-class models for non-reflective (corporate cubical farm) models.

Privacy Filter (1)

Shanrak (1037504) | about 6 years ago | (#23064122)

I tend to use a privacy filter on all my laptops anyway and that tends to reduce the glare by a bit.
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