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View Full Version : Glossy MacBook vs. Matte MacBook Pro in sunlight - any experience?




limi
May 19, 2006, 02:05 PM
As a fan of matte screens over glossy screens in general, I'm trying to decide whether I should go for the MacBook or MacBook Pro for my next laptop.

However, I also find myself in California at the moment, and I'm really looking for some feedback on somebody that has:


Tried the glossy MacBook screen in sunlight
Tried the matte MacBook Pro screen in sunlight


Which is more readable? I would instictively have thought that the matte screen worked better outside in the sunlight, but this article seems to suggest that the glossy screens actually do better:

http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,118951,00.asp

Comparing glossy/matte generic laptop X with the MacBook (Pro) won't help, since screens are different - so I'd like to know if anybody has tried the two MacBook variations up against each other.

Does anybody have actual experience with using both the MB and the MBP outside?



shadowmoses
May 19, 2006, 02:24 PM
I dont have actual experience with a MB or MBP and there glossy screens but I have seen and used many SOny Vaio's with the same reflective coating on there screen and they are great inside or outside they look better in my opinion.

The whole issue is far overblown the fact of the matter is for the average consumer the new glossy screen that ships on the MB's are much better as they make pictures and DVD's look far more vivid and make the general appearance of things more vibrant and who doesn't want that....

ShadoW

DougTheImpaler
May 19, 2006, 02:26 PM
I've had experience with non-Apple glossy screens and if you're going into the sun, neither will be a terribly fun experience in direct light, but the glossy will be much worse.

Subiklim
May 19, 2006, 02:32 PM
Glossy can't be anyworse than my powerbook which was 100% unreadable in the sun.

limi
May 19, 2006, 06:21 PM
I'm looking for somebody that has actually used these two, not "I would think that..." opinions. ;)

Experience with PC laptops of either kind doesn't help me much - the choice is between MB and MBP, and which works best in sunlight.

ryanb
May 23, 2006, 08:55 PM
I have experience with both.

Like many, I've been very, very skeptical regarding these glossy screens. My boss asked me to order two MacBooks immediately after they were announced. In short, they've arrived and I've spent the last two days with them. I've viewed the screens in every lighting situation I could think of (multiple outdoors environments, flourescent lighting, etc., etc.). My initial opinion has been radically altered.

I have worked extensively with the last revision of the 15" PowerBook (improved screen), the 15" MacBook Pro, and now a couple days with the 13" MacBook.

I've been studying the screens side by side. It may be the opposite of what several are guessing, but the truth is the glossy MacBook has far and away the best visibility outdoors. I'm talking direct sun, partial shade, overcast, you name it. It does have some reflection, but you can actually read your text clearly. There is a big (negative) difference when viewing the PowerBook and the MacBook pro in the same environments.

P.S. Generally speaking, any glare on these glossy screens is easily corrected by tilting the screen 1/4 of an inch, up or down. It's that simple.

What's next? I'm ordering myself a MacBook Pro with the glossy option. I'm sold. Seeing is believing.

Spanky Deluxe
May 23, 2006, 09:02 PM
Woah, ryanb are you searching through and digging up every single thread on the glossy screens so as to post the exact same post in them all?? I get it that you feel strongly about this but one post in the most recent topic is enough!!

Edit: Come on, stop already That's four nearly identical posts in four different threads!!

limi
May 23, 2006, 09:58 PM
Thanks, Ryan - this was very helpful!

And to those of you who complain about him posting the same in every thread - I don't frequent the forums that much, and rely on the notification on my thread to keep myself updated. I would have missed this if he didn't post it here.

Seems I have a few friends which will do the same comparison next week (they just ordered a glossy MacBook), and I'll post their findings here.

marchcapital
May 23, 2006, 10:10 PM
im actually planning to spend he extra money for an mbp just to get a matte screen. damn it! it seems got caught in another apple profit grab trap.

wako
May 23, 2006, 10:34 PM
Yeah, i gotta say, the powerbook with the matte screen, it is true that there are NO reflection, however it also means there is NO possible way to see your screen either in broad daylight, unless you turn your brightness all the way up and stick your face 5 inches from the screen, viewing down at it perpendicularly.

MacBoyX
May 24, 2006, 07:52 AM
You know I just tried this this morning and I have to say it's true, the glossy MB screen WAS BETTER in the sunlight than my matte MBP screen. I was shocked.

I carpool and often use my Mac to update my iPods on the way in to the office. My car mate always laughed at my squinting at my MBP and putting my face so close... but today with the MB, there was a lot of glare but you know what, the screen was soooo easy to read. He even commented that *HE* could see the screen from the driver seat and that was never the case before.

I was NOT sold on the glossy screen but I after having my MB for about a week, it's great everywhere even in the office under flourescent lights. I don't think I'd pay EXTRA for one on a MBP, but I like it more then the matte of my current MBP.

just my opinion...

macboyX

blitzydog
May 24, 2006, 08:16 AM
Okayokay, lets be honest here. How many of you nerd are actually going to be using your MacBook outside, let alone -be- outside.

flying.pig
May 24, 2006, 08:30 AM
It would be interesting to know from some experts if there might be any health-related problem by using the glossy screen for long times (all day)...

I heard somebody saying that eyes get tired in shorter time... Somebody else was even stating that he always gets headache after two hours of intensive work on the glossy screens... :confused:

This could be an issue if I want to use my MBP for everyday work...

spencecb
May 24, 2006, 09:00 AM
Okayokay, lets be honest here. How many of you nerd are actually going to be using your MacBook outside, let alone -be- outside.

Well, I don't consider myself a NERD as you say, but I am a college student, and my campus is very lovely and it would be nice to sit outside and use my MBP in the sunlight now that it is nice out, but fact of the matter is, it is just impossible to see the screen in sunlight.

blackdout
May 31, 2006, 11:01 PM
Im hanging on by a thread for your side by side comparison Limi, I really want to get a MBP (would be my first mac honestly), but I am torn between the two screens and due to the cost would kick myself in the ass if I didnt get the right laptop to use outdoors. If you can post picks, please do, but anyway, definately shoot this thread an update, I (if not anyone else) would greatly appreciate the advice!
:cool:

zimbo01
Sep 29, 2006, 04:48 PM
We're not talking about direct sunlight here. But in normal situations where you use a laptop. Everything relects in the mirror finish, windows, lights, sunlight between the leaves of trees, movement behind you in the room.
I'm a writer and I can't have this kind of stuff. I need to be able to concentrate on what's on the screen for long periods of time (probably not much llonger than anyone at work)
I always liked the matte finish but ordered the black macbook not knowing it was glossy, then proceeded to use it. The amount of distractions the reflective surface addied to my workday, not to mention the headaches has meant that after using it for about 40 days I've needed to return it. Unfortunately Ive been told that it is not returnable, so therefore Im stuck with it.
So anyone want to buy a used one cheap. Im pissed off I got stuck with this piece of crap.

Warbrain
Sep 29, 2006, 04:51 PM
Okayokay, lets be honest here. How many of you nerd are actually going to be using your MacBook outside, let alone -be- outside.

Better odds than yours.

Marioz
Sep 29, 2006, 06:33 PM
I have a blk MB and a matte-screen-15,4" MBP. My experience is that when I go by train and I am close to the window my MBP is quite difficult to put on the table in a way I can look my divx in a good way. With MB I never have any problem. The image is much sharper and normally I have not annoing reflections. Who speaks ab Vaio screens speaks ab something different that MB screens. Don't mix apples and oranges.
The result is that I seriously consider to take my next MBP w/h a glossy screen........

blackdout
Oct 1, 2006, 03:30 PM
I decided not to wait for replys and ended up buying my MBP with a glossy screen, and let me tell you I am VERY glad I did. First off the glare is NOT a problem, and I live in a window lit apartment, use it outside, and in classrooms.
the reflections are not as strong as other glossys I have compared it to, there seems to be two layers of anti-glare coating that seem to distort the reflections making them much more dull and indirect
the two layers do limit viewing angles by distorting colors when your looking at it from a > 120' angle etc. This actually seems nice because I do nothing but look straight on, and it maintains a level of privacy when in public.
the image quality and color reproduction are fantastic when looking from < 120', so much so that I wish my main screen was of this kind, even though 1/2 the reason I bought it was to get rid of glare (times have changed back and forth now I suppose). I have been using it for 3 months in sunny california in all sorts of situations and have nothing but praise for the form and function of this glossy screen.

To anyone complaining about this there is one lesson to learn:

- when there is a glare of any kind, you can actually focus on it and adjust your screens angle to where the glare is not reflecting into your eyes, its a laptop and its adjustable (as are you and your position) and the slightest adjustments can solve your problem (if I can do it in a cramped classroom, you can find a way to do it too)

the glossy is so clean looking and reproduces videogames / photowork / and MAN OH MAN text so amazingly my girlfriend had no qualms with getting hers glossy as well.

Nothing but praise.

the Western zoo
Oct 1, 2006, 04:35 PM
I used my MacBook outside, in trains, in busses - in short in various sorts of lighting and though I don't have a matte screen to compare it against I must say that I love the glossy screen! only once have I had touble with it but just had to tilt the screen a bit and I was back to watching my movie...

Glossy screens rocks! :D

ryanx27
Oct 2, 2006, 06:55 AM
Unfortunately Ive been told that it is not returnable, so therefore Im stuck with it.
So anyone want to buy a used one cheap. Im pissed off I got stuck with this piece of crap.

Clean it up so that it's nice and shiny, take some good pics of it, and sell it on ebay. You'll be surprised how well it will have retained its value. :) As for not knowing it had a glossy screen... you must not have read much about the MacBook before buying it. The glossy screen was a major feature, as it was the first time it had been offered on a Mac. The same goes for not knowing opened items are non-returnable after 15 days. That is common knowledge. If you do your homework before buying, you'll find yourself ending up with a lot fewer "pieces of crap".

e-clipse
Oct 2, 2006, 07:39 AM
1. Neither work good in direct sunlight. They are barely viewable.
2. The matte is easier to see in low level sunlight.
3. The glossy looks better indoors in low light situations.
4. The matte is more accurate in color saturation.

?maniac
Oct 17, 2006, 09:34 AM
i spend a ton of time around these laptops every day, and recently a client of mine brought in her Glossy MBP, and we were side by side in Photoshop, and Illustrator on a train, and the sun was beaming in, on my Matte MBP, and she kept working away, as if nothing had happened. The Matte screens do not hold a candle to the Glossy. So I recently traded someone who wanted a Matte screen, boy are they going to wish they had not traded me.

Apple generally does not add something because it's just cost effective, they usually adopt things ahead of the pack, or learn their lessons from their competitors, and they obviously learned from Sony, that Glossy is a much better experience.

Transeau
Oct 17, 2006, 09:59 AM
I could be wrong, but shouldn't this be in the "MacBook & MacBook Pro" forum?

Why are people just picking random forums now??

da5id
Oct 24, 2006, 01:55 PM
I've demoed both, and I prefer the glossy. The glare doesn't seem to be a problem (although it's still there), and it does seem brighter. I'm still a little reluctant to go with the glossy because I know matte won't dissappoint while, perhaps, in my specific user enviroment, the glossy will become less than ideal.

Does anyone have an opinion on DVD use? Our laptop is our only DVD player, and gets lots of use. Would matte or glossy be better for watching movies? (Which would be in a darker room.)

EDIT: Apple specifically recommends glossy screens for DVD usage. In the end, I went with matte. It's tried and true.

agdickinson
Jan 1, 2008, 04:17 PM
Hi,

I bought a MB (c2D) on 24th November 2007 at the Glasgow Apple store, and really enjoyed it until I noticed that the F10 key did not work and took it to a genius in the store who said it would be swapped out.

I took it in for a swap out with the box the following day on 28th December and 'asked if I could upgrade to a MBP' and the answer was 'YES'. So I got a MBP but now the Glossy vs. Matte is starting to "do my head in" and I'm wondering what to do.

I've booked an appointment at the Apple store in Glasgow with a GENIUS to see if I want to keep the Glossy, vs. swap it with a Matte. I was at my parents over new year and in the bedroom I stayed in the Glossy was pretty annoying with the lights shown from the lights in the room. I've had to have the brightness as 100% to get rid of it but have had headaches.

In the past I've had migraines due to computer use, as I've a degree is IT and have worked in the IT industry since 1993, so have had my fair share of Migraines. The Glossy seems to give me more headaches than usual and I was wondering if anyone else has had problems like this due to eye strain.

I'm heading to the Apple store in around 18 hours for an appointment with a Genius and am after some comments from people who have used it for more than 4 days or so.

Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers

Andrew

p.s. My Glasses are in need of replacement (typical of an IT man YES :) ), so wondering if the 'scratched' glasses are causing the problem, rather than the Glossy vs. Matte issues....)

shoppy
Jan 1, 2008, 04:26 PM
I prefer glossy on the 17" MBP I have then to the glossy on macbooks, I have owned. I used to get headaches from them.

twilightcircus
Jan 1, 2008, 04:37 PM
Having traditionally preferred and used matte screens in the Mac lineup, I decided I enjoy the glossy screen better (which is what I got on my MBPSR).

The glare is minimal.
Everthing appears sharper.
Only on a really (nice) black screen can you see your reflection (good to see over your shoulder!).
In brighter lights it is brighter than the matte screen! really.

Complaints about glarey glossy displays are mostly founded on crappy examples from the PC lineup.

I'ts easy to clean and collects no more grime than a matte.

The only disadvantage might be a greater susceptibility to scratches (from say, sand or whatever).

-----------------

agdickinson
Jan 1, 2008, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the reply.. :)

I've also noticed an odd issue with the MBP as it included a CPU update disk to Leopard. I've rebooted and the Num Lock and Caps lock lights are on but when typing they are not in which is a bit weird and disconcerting.

I'm typing this in the dark in my kitchen and the display is fine, but if I turn on the lights the glare is pretty annoying, so I guess the Matte is the way to go. It's weird as when I had the MB (c2d) it didn't appear to be a problem but I did get eye problems with fatigue so the Matte seems to be the best way to go.

My parents have a G5 Imac with a 20" display which is matte and I was using it earlier tonight (before heading up from Newcastle to Scotland where I live).

The Matte seems to be easier on the eyes. Am I right or is it what I'm used to?

I'm an IT Manager and my work PC is a Dell Latitude D620 with a Matte screen and I did not seem to have problems with it. I had a G5 powermac with a Sony 17" TFT with a Matte screen and didn't have any problems.

I recently bought an HP 22" TFT with a Glossy display and had headaches quite a bit using it. I thought it was the display but am now wondering....

I'm shortsighted and wear glasses much of the time so am wondering if the glossy display and glasses are too much for my eyes?

Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers

Andrew

iTeen
Jan 1, 2008, 04:41 PM
Glossy Macbook in Direct Sunlight=HELL, you can't see anything

twilightcircus
Jan 1, 2008, 04:42 PM
and, no need to worry about anal retentive realms of color accuracy unless your life depends on it...even then.......

What is true red or beige anyways?---please....whatever the calibrator says, I guess, cuz your eyes will have a real hard time.

DVDs look great on the glossy screen. Go glossy.

agdickinson
Jan 1, 2008, 04:51 PM
Hi Thanks for the reply.

I'm wondering if the brightness of the display is part of the problem.

I used to have a Ti 667 Powerbook and never seemed to have any problems.

I decided on a Mb (due to cost to tell you the truth) when I sold my G5 powermac on Ebay. Due to the problems I've upgraded to a MBP with the glossy screen and am wondering if the 'glare' or whatever is making my eyes feel 'yuck'.

One thing I've noticed in the 3-4 days since I've had the MBP with the glossy display is the glare and also the annoying dust on the screen, which seems to be 'sticky' and getting rid of the dust is a pain, and the finger marks are annoying as 'blowing' over the display doesn't do much good.

I know due to the way Apple does displays that if I go to Matte it 'should... fingers.. crossed.. be.. okay.. but want to know what people think'.

My parents have a G5 iMac with a Matte display which I used earlier today as a comparison and the Matte seems to be easier on my eyes and more relaxing... What do you think?

Thanks

Andrew

agdickinson
Jan 1, 2008, 05:02 PM
Hi.

I'm wondering if the brightness of the display is part of the problem.

I used to have a Ti 667 Powerbook and never seemed to have any problems.

I decided on a Mb (due to cost to tell you the truth) when I sold my G5 powermac on Ebay. Due to the problems I've upgraded to a MBP with the glossy screen and am wondering if the 'glare' or whatever is making my eyes feel 'yuck'.

One thing I've noticed in the 3-4 days since I've had the MBP with the glossy display is the glare and also the annoying dust on the screen, which seems to be 'sticky' and getting rid of the dust is a pain, and the finger marks are annoying as 'blowing' over the display doesn't do much good.

I know due to the way Apple does displays that if I go to Matte it 'should... fingers.. crossed.. be.. okay.. but want to know what people think'.

My parents have a G5 iMac with a Matte display which I used earlier today as a comparison and the Matte seems to be easier on my eyes and more relaxing... What do you think?

I think part of the problem is spending 1300 on a new computer, albeit 470 is upgrading from a MB to MBP... Does the Glossy display make your eyes more tired from limited use... At the moment it's a 'YES', but am wondering if I will get 'used' to it. My current MBP is on around 55% brightness and it's a bit too much for my eyes and I'm starting to get a too much... On 100% brightness it's far too much for me, it's like looking at the Sun, but I suppose "credit due to Apple it's a complement to them that their displays are that 'good' ".

I'm used to the days of 'take it' or 'leave it' now with the glossy or matte it's a bit too much. Though matte seems to be easier on the eyes.

What do you think.

Thanks for the responses so far.

Cheers

Andrew

ps. When I make my decision I will not blame anyone so don't be afraid to comment.

Thanks

Andrew

pscoble
Jan 1, 2008, 05:03 PM
I have had a much better experiance reading my glossy MBP display rather then my iBooks matt display or my friends PB G4s matt screen so I would defiantly say Glossy is better. No Glare for me either.

e12a
Jan 1, 2008, 06:15 PM
matte is almost completely washed out in sunlight. Not very visible at all unless you look real closely. Glossy is tad better. I've seen this on my friend's macbook and compared it to my matte mbp. the way the screen diffuses the light plays a major role. Matte obviously diffuses the light a lot more than a glossy screen.

agdickinson
Jan 2, 2008, 07:48 AM
Hi,

I live in Scotland so I guess sunlight won't be too much of a problem for the next few months or so :)

I'm just wondering if the matte vs glossy thing is making go a bit silly. Though the my mom has an iMac G5 with a lovely matte screen and my work laptop (a Dell) has a Matte screen. The weird thing is I did not notice the glare when I had the C2D MB. I guess it's the two extra inches on the screen which probably make quite a bit of a difference.

I know this subject has probably been written about millions of times, but I'd still like personal feedback if that's okay.

At the end of the day a C2D 15" MBP is a lot of money and will hopefully be used for several years, so making the right choice is a good idea.....

Actually your not going to believe it but the glossy metal 'MacBook Pro' is starting to annoy me, as it is like a mirror.

Andrew

agdickinson
Jan 2, 2008, 12:08 PM
Hi,

Thanks for the advice and views.

I popped into the Glasgow Apple store today and had a chat with a Genius and had a Matte and Glossy MBP side by side for a few minutes and checked them out in the lights in the store. Also checked against black backgrounds.

The Glossy really shows off blacks well but the glare or reflections were a little annoying. We did a quick straw poll on some of the apple store staff who had MBP machines and they had Matte displays as they thought they attracted less dust and overall were easier on the eyes, and caused less eye strain with long usage.

Whilst a man next too me from Sweden came in with his glossy MBP and said he loved it.

At the end of the day's it's an individuals choice.

I'm now typing this on my new C2D MBP with a Matte screen and overall feel happier with it. The display is lovely and is as bright and clear as some of the Cinema displays in the Apple store.

All the Best

Andrew

Matiek
Jan 2, 2008, 12:21 PM
I use my 15" MBP in the sun all the time. It doesn't really bother me, it's still legible. I think it's all just a matter of how finicky you're about reflections.

Something you can do if you have full on sunlight on your screen is to turn the brightness all the way down till the screen goes dark. I do this all the time to conserve battery. I wouldn't recommend this for photoshop/FCP for color correcting or anything but if you're just browsing websites or typing it's not a big deal.

danger89
Dec 25, 2008, 07:51 PM
I hate glossy screen. The reflection is terrible!
Please, you can send Apple a feedback (form) so hopefully Apple fix the reflection from the screen:
http://www.apple.com/feedback/macbookpro.html

Thank u

MovieCutter
Dec 25, 2008, 09:22 PM
I've used both out in the field outside in bright Middle Eastern sunlight. The glossy is better. Sure, it's reflective, but the sunlight is focused on a smaller part of the screen and the matte diffuses the light source across more of the screen, making it harder to see.

Mac In School
Dec 27, 2008, 12:59 AM
I took these two pics in my office.

sp3ctre
Jan 20, 2009, 06:04 AM
Sorry to dig this thread up but one thing I like about the new macs I saw in the store (all glossy) is the fact it is a single piece of glass in front of the screen, much easier to clean than my old macbook pro where cr*p gets collected along the bottom of the screen.

Do the new matte ones still have the single piece of glass, or are they the old style where there is a rim around the screen?

berdinkerdickle
Jun 6, 2009, 10:03 PM
Thanks for all the posts.

Some time as gone by since the last post.

Any more onions as to which is better (gloss vs matte) ?

berdinkerdickle
Jun 10, 2009, 06:48 PM
Thanks for all the posts.

Some time as gone by since the last post.

Any more onions as to which is better (gloss vs matte) ?

I got my new machine.
I really like the glossy.

brasiliangringo
Sep 10, 2009, 05:10 PM
I own an 07' 17'' MBP high def matt screen and a MB 13.3'' unibody glossy screen / which also looked the same as a MBP 15.4'' I owned briefly.

Anyway, the matt screen 17'' reflected far less indoors* than the 13.3'' which is noticeably far more reflective. I preferred the matt screen, there is a very clear cut difference - no question of it being subjective.

*assume it would be far worse a reflection outdoors.

Kilamite
Sep 10, 2009, 05:25 PM
Both displays will suck in the sun. One isn't better than the other. When pure sunlight is glaring onto the screen, you will struggle to read anything. The glossy will just reflect everything and the matte will just diffuse it everywhere resulting in both being rather useless.

Try to avoid using in the sun. I do prefer matte simply because I'd rather have light diffuse than a reflection.

emcham
Sep 10, 2009, 08:02 PM
there is a lot of comparison on this thread, which is reguarding MBPs, that talk about matte POWERBOOK displays. the new MBPs with matte displays are totally different in the sun compared to the older powerbooks. i have used both and the powerbook is almost unreadable in bright sunlight, whereas the matte MBPs i have used in sunny situations are great.

jfyrfytr25
Sep 10, 2009, 09:01 PM
i am sure the OP will find the last few posts very useful, seeing as he was looking to buy one 4 YEARS AGO.

seems like there are a bunch of archeologists around here lately, seeing as they love digging up all this old stuff...

boatski
Sep 10, 2009, 09:28 PM
I've got a glossy and all it takes is a little adjustment of the screen/your position to read the screen fine.

mikes70mustang
Sep 10, 2009, 09:35 PM
How hard is it to conceptualize the reflectiveness of glass?