Glassy vs. Glossy vs. Matte: a 17" MBP comparison with many pics

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by taphil, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. taphil macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    #1
    Yes, there are many threads about glossy vs. matte. However, I wanted a thread to show pictures comparing glassy, glossy, and matte and explain what I see. Your opinion may differ, but judge for yourself.

    Apple's lineup has gotten rid of glossy in favor of glassy (except the MacBook Air). Personally, I prefer glossy over matte. Glassy, however, I cannot tolerate. IMO, glassy sucks and is needless when glossy in the previous MBP was just perfect in bringing out some extra zing and clarity compared to matte. Glassy, on the other hand, is extra reflective to the point of being unusable.

    This thread will also compare the matte (9CAC screen) vs glossy 17" MBP (9C98) and present a data point in comparison to all the other posts about the 17" MBP. Both are running OS 10.5.6 build 9G2141.

    Where necessary, the camera aperture and shutter speed are identical to allow direct comparison when notebooks were not in the same picture.



    [​IMG]
    Both screens at max brightness in a medium lit room with no light facing the notebooks. The matte on the left may appear washed out compared to the glassy. This, however, is not the case.

    [​IMG]
    Max brightness on the glassy, one notch down from max on the matte. They are now very similar in terms of contrast, saturation, and color.

    [​IMG]
    Max brightness on the glassy, two notches down from max on the matte. Now it seems the matte has better colors. But as in the picture above, they are practically identical.

    [​IMG]
    Comparing white levels. Both are at max brightness, and the matte is brighter. The matte also has better white color whereas the glassy looks a bit dingy, though this difference is exaggerated in the picture. It also appears that the matte screen is more even whereas on the right side of the glassy it's dimmer, but that's not really apparent in real life.

    [​IMG]
    Comparing black levels. Both are at max brightness, so the black on the matte is brighter, but the difference disappears if I dim it down two notches to match the glassy.

    [​IMG]
    Matte screen with a sconce light facing the notebook about 18 feet away.


    [​IMG]
    Glassy screen with a sconce light facing the notebook about 18 feet away. The sconce is reflected over the same area of the webpage as in the picture above. Glassy ends up being terribly reflective and distracting for viewing websites that are dark, such as dpreview.com.


    [​IMG]
    Matte screen with a sconce light facing the notebook about 18 feet away.


    [​IMG]
    Glassy screen with a sconce light facing the notebook about 18 feet away. Here, the LCD is bright enough to mostly drown out the reflections, but even then it may not be enough. Personally it was enough, but unfortunately not everything I look at is bright.


    [​IMG]
    Matte 17" vs glossy 15" MBP. The 17" is indeed brighter as reported. Also, it is true that if I put an older build of OS X 10.5.6 on the 17" MBP, the screen becomes very blue, washed out, and dim. The copy of OS X on the install DVD does not have that problem.

    [​IMG]
    Glassy 17" vs glossy 15" MBP. The 17" screen is much better in real life and the picture does not do it justice.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Comparison of 15" glossy vs. 17" glassy. That extra layer of glass makes the screen much more reflective compared to glossy. You can see that the reflection is so strong in the glassy that it blocks out the white text, whereas the white text is still visible and readable on the glossy.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Another comparison to characterize the reflection. It is much brighter in the glassy.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A close up. If you look carefully, you can see that in addition to the reflection being brighter, the 17" actually has two reflections compared to the 15". I believe that this is due to the glass on top of the glossy LCD: the glass creates a bright reflection, and the glossy LCD beneath it creates a dimmer reflection similar to that of the glossy 15" MBP.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    In ideal conditions (a dim room with no light behind me), the glassy is also distracting when watching movies. I often see my reflection clearly in the display, such that i can make out the whites of my eyes. The glossy MBP, on the other hand, is not so reflective and you can't see my reflection in it. Obviously, the matte doesn't produce a reflection at all.

    I can't capture it in on camera, but even if the room were completely black, when watching a movie light from the LCD shines on me and then reflects back at the glassy LCD, and it is still distracting.


    So in (my) conclusion:

    1) There is a clear distinction between matte, glossy, and glassy. Matte doesn't produce reflections. Glossy gives the LCD some extra zing in terms of color saturation and sharpness compared to matte.

    2) Glassy, as far as I'm concerned, has no advantage over glossy. It crosses that threshold in which the reflections become so strong and distracting that it becomes unusable. Moreover, it doesn't provide any extra zing that glossy can provide. Glass also adds weight, and it can be cracked just as easily. Since the LCD is sealed inside the MBP lid, breaking the glass will still be expensive to fix since it requires replacing the entire lid.

    I should note that during daylight hours, the room gets brighter and though there is no window where that sconce light is, the reflections are much greater as that back wall gets completely lit. Overall, in daylight there is reflection over a greater area, though not as intense as a single lamp, but is still very distracting.

    3) When viewing bright images or web pages, the reflections can be drowned out by the backlight on the glassy screen. However, the problem is that not everything you look is bright. This is true especially for movies with dark scenes. Even sitting in the dark, there are reflections from the backlight shining on you and then reflecting back.

    4) The 17" MBP is bright as or brighter than the previous gen MBP (which is similar to the unibody MBP) if the correct build of OS X is installed.

    5) The matte 17" MBP has just as good color, contrast, saturation compared to the glassy version. In my case, the matte display can actually go a bit brighter than the glassy.

    6) Black levels are fairly good and similar on both.
     
  2. jeremybuff macrumors regular

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    #2
    All I can say is that I, in no way, shape or form, get those types of reflections on my march 09 macbook pro.. even with tons of florescent lighting, torches and sconces. The screen itself simply outshines those reflections. On the other hand, I get a bit of reflection in the black outlining of the screen... but that's no problem.
     
  3. James Cole macrumors 6502

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  4. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

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    #4
    I dont find Matte washed out one bit. Actually its much brighter and more vivid to my eyes.

    Matte gives that 3d look on those green egg or whatever thing on the background pops out.
     
  5. MAG. macrumors member

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    #5
    Very clear and nice pictures. Thanks for sharing :D
     
  6. toyotaoffroadca macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Nice job on the overview of the three screens. Though you are putting the glass screen in a position which focus' on its weakness, your points are valid and should be considered when having a choice in screens. Myself, I don't like the look of the silver surround, I find that to be more distracting than a little glare and you can't move the screen to a different position to get rid of it.
     
  7. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020

    ViciousShadow21

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    #7
    wow thanks for doing this. i really appreciate it. i have a glassy screen and your right it is a matter of opinion the glassy screen just doesnt bother me for whatever reason.

    i do have a plasma tv so maybe im just used to reflections on my screen. and i had a CRT monitor for a long time as well.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    I can't wait for those people who insist that the glass screen isn't any more distracting than the matte screen to respond. It's one thing to say you're OK with it, but another thing to ask people how they could possibly be bothered by strong reflections is beyond me. And the reflection from the light is mild. Just wait until there's a larger light source behind you, such as....oh, I don't know........a window, or a bunch of fluorescent ceiling lights.

    I'm sure someone is going to say that the reflections aren't as bad as they appear in the photos in this thread, because it has been said before. Is Kastenbrust still around? :p



    Anyway, great job mate. :)


    EDIT TO ADD: Judging from the film/movie comparison with the smoke, anybody else notice that the black levels are noticeably better on the OLD 15" MBP?? :eek: Some of the really dark grey bits on the old 15" MBP screen just cut to black on the Unibody 17" MBPs (matte and glass).
     
  9. jeremybuff macrumors regular

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    #9
    Guess you won't have to wait too long. I sit with a window behind me, in an a corner office with windows making up 50% of the walls, and a ton of florescent lights... and honest to God, the reflections for me are simply not bad. If I had the screen on 1/3 bright, yeah, the reflections would be hell... but who has a screen that dim during the day? I've never had it that low during the day; only at night.

    All in all, it comes down to preference and your lighting situations. Many people have made the glassy out to be worse than it is. This is a good thread, though.
     
  10. vote4anh macrumors newbie

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  11. wankey macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Biggest liar ever. I can get those reflections every time I go to the Apple store on every single unibody. Even using my friend's UniMacbook I get those reflections. Stop lying or be in denial. The fact of the matter is there is reflections, you just choose not to see them.
     
  12. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020

    ViciousShadow21

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    #12
  13. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020

    ViciousShadow21

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    #13
    and it begins....
     
  14. jeremybuff macrumors regular

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    #14
    Grow the hell up man. I wrote what I experience and was not condescending nor rude to anyone, unlike your pathetic self. I realize others may experience this issue, but I do not. Take it or leave it, your still pathetic in the end.
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    But then again, there are photos here, and elsewhere at MR, to prove otherwise. ;)


    Or I guess some people notice the mirror-like reflection and simply don't care. My white MacBook's glossy screen bothers me, but only under extreme circumstances. In indoor conditions, it's (usually) fine. Lights behind me are OK if they're far away. Just keep away from windows. However, if the problem is even worse with glassy.....


    And the OP is right. The photo of the reflections created by the light attached to the wall were taken in a rather ideal condition. This was as mild as case as you could get, really. If his tests were conducted during the day, that entire white wall would be lit up, and the reflection would be a EXASPERATED!!!

    Glossy looks much more tolerable though.
     
  16. wahoo10 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Good job! Thanks a ton, this is going to be exceptionally helpful to a lot of people I think. It's making me think about looking into a removable "matte" cover for my upcoming MBP, so if I ever can't get out of the light, I won't ruin the beauty of the screen (if it becomes an issue even). Targus makes one I know...
     
  17. bossxii macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Good pics indeed. I have the 17" UMBP don't have an issue with the glare. I guess some people focus on the reflections others focus on the content of the screen. Not really an issue for me, to each his own, glad there are options so everyone can have the one they like :)
     
  18. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #18
    Calm down. Matte isn't entirely devoid of reflections, what world have you been living in? ALL LCD PANELS have reflections no matter what kind of coating you give it. Matte, glossy, glassy, etc. Whatever. The point is, you get a dimmed reflection (dulled) on the matte screens and the actual reflection on the glossy. So it's either a clear image of the light source (lamp, window, etc) or just a dulled/dimmed image of the light source. Either way, it's personal opinion. If someone likes either one, then so be it. Just like Windows and Mac, neither one is 100% superior over the other. Oops, did I just started an OS war? :eek::D
     
  19. bossxii macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Clearly it's late at night and you have been drinking :p
     
  20. Mark2000 macrumors regular

    Mark2000

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    #20
    I like how meticulous and scientific you were with these photos. And then you go on to tell us to ignore what we see half the time due to your own biases. Tsk, tsk.
     
  21. tubbymac macrumors 65816

    tubbymac

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    #21
    Great pictures! I gave glassy screens a try but came across the same problem a lot of others have run into - the reflections and the glare during the day were just too distracting. For work I've switched back to using only matte displays and matte external monitors. Glassy looks shinier and sexier though.
     
  22. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #22
    Wirelessly posted (iPod touch 32GB: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5G77 Safari/525.20)

    The reflections don't bother me at all on my MBP or my ACd but my wife is constantly complaining about reflections on her iMac.
    I guess some people are bothered and some aren't and it would be great if Apple offered the choice...
     
  23. Anuba macrumors 68040

    Anuba

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    #23
    Funny, you'd think it was the other way around.

    An iMac is in an upright position and would never reflect the ceiling, unless you're 10' tall and you've tilted the screen to the max. The only reflection you see in an iMac screen is your own mug. I've used my iMac 24" both in a very brighly lit office and near a window and noticed the reflections at first, but I forgot them after like 5 minutes of usage and never looked back.

    The MBP is another story because you tend to have the screen at a different angle that will pick up light sources from the upper half of the room... but I still wouldn't hesitate to buy a glossy MBP.

    If you don't have a 2009 MBP but you do have an iPhone (another super-glossy glass screen with a black bezel around it), do this: Hold it 4-5 inches away from your face and imagine that it's an MBP laptop screen. You'll see your mug staring back at you. Good, now switch on the iPhone. Still bothered by reflections? Probably not. Now swivel the iPhone around a bit until you find a bright light source reflected in the glass. It took a few seconds to find an annoying angle, didn't it? Good, so now ask yourself why you would defiantly point an MBP screen exactly at that bright light source, rather than just extend your index finger and gently nudge the laptop an inch or so to make the reflection disappear...? Unless of course you're taking photos to demonstrate how bad it can be in a worst case scenario.
     
  24. emt1 macrumors 65816

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    #24
    I wish there was more people like you, OP. Thanks!
     
  25. derek1984 macrumors 6502a

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