Glossy MacBook vs. Matte MacBook Pro in sunlight - any experience?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by limi, May 19, 2006.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2003
    Oslo, Norway
    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:,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?
  2. macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2005
    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....

  3. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2006
    Central Illinois
    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.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2006
    Manhattan, New York
    Glossy can't be anyworse than my powerbook which was 100% unreadable in the sun.
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2003
    Oslo, Norway
    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.
  6. macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2006
    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.
  7. macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    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!!
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2003
    Oslo, Norway
    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.
  9. macrumors regular


    Feb 22, 2006
    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.
  10. macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005
    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.
  11. macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2003
    East Coast, USA
    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...

  12. macrumors member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Okayokay, lets be honest here. How many of you nerd are actually going to be using your MacBook outside, let alone -be- outside.
  13. macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2006
    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...
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2003
    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.
  15. macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2006
    Keep us updated Limi!

    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!
  16. macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2006
    Reflective screen is distracting and gives me a headache

    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.
  17. macrumors 603


    Jun 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Better odds than yours.
  18. macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2006
    Rivarolo, Italy
    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........
  19. macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2006
    My experience

    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.
  20. macrumors 6502

    the Western zoo

    May 16, 2006
    Aarhus C, Denmark
    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
  21. macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2006
    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".
  22. macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2006
    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.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2006
    Glossy, Glossy, Glossy, and more Gloss please!

    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.
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2005
    Alta Loma, CA
    I could be wrong, but shouldn't this be in the "MacBook & MacBook Pro" forum?

    Why are people just picking random forums now??
  25. macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2006
    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.

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