Glossy iMac screens suitable for design?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Paco, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Paco macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2007
    Washington, DC
    I'm a freelance graphic designer (mostly print). I'm looking to upgrade my kit to the new 27" iMac when it's released, but have some hesitations about the glossy screen.

    I know it's an ongoing flame war between the pro-gloss and anti-gloss people around here, and I don't really mean to restart that. Aside from any potential reflective glare, are there any particular color management issues I should be aware of with the glossy screens? Anything that a screen calibrator couldn't fix?

    I've heard the gloss makes things 'pop' more on the screen, and enhances movie-watching and games and such, but does it do that by over-saturating, etc?

    I have a (fairly) color-accurate Dell 22" IPS monitor (2209WA) attached to my current set-up and hope to switch that over to be a second screen on the new iMac (that's possible right?). So I guess I can continue to use that when I need to pay closer attention to color if I need to.

    I run a pretty small shop, so don't have the $$ to bump up to a Mac Pro w/ external displays, so that's not an option.

    Any guidance? Thanks!!
  2. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    I just switched from a 27in iMac to a new MacBook Pro and a 27in. display. For me, the portability is a better setup, albeit much pricier than just an iMac.

    As for the glossy display, I was concerned, but I do like it. It's got great color accuracy and reflections don't distract me like I feared they would.
  3. davedee65 macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2010
    I'm also a graphic designer and I've been using the 27" iMac for about a year and I can assure you that it is a great machine to design on. The colour accuracy is spot on especially after using a Spyder3 to calibrate it correctly.

    As to reflections, yes they can be an issue sometimes but if you position it wisely taking into consideration your light sources, then you can reduce the problem to a minimum.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    There is no choice. You just have to make do and resign you work space so that there are not bright source of light over your shoulder. The worst would be working with you back to a window. If you do graphic design for a living then you can setup your office and even paint the walls in back of you a dark neutral color.

    Color acuracy is not an issue. I assume you calibrate your screen with a colorimeter. The issue is color contrast. All glossy surfaces exagerate the contrast, that is the reason we like to print photos on glossy paper. It makes the color "pop". This is great for games and some movies.

    All that said, you can use the reflective screen as long as your office is set up well and you understand you are seeing a higher contrast then if you had an anti-glare screen.

    I think Apple is only saving about $50 per screen by going with these cheaper LCD screens, I'd gladly pay an extra $50 for a good anti-glare treatment.
  5. Paco thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2007
    Washington, DC

    Thanks for all your replies! I guess I'll give the iMac a try when it's updated. I've been doing the MBP with external monitor for a couple of years now, and have found all the plugging and unplugging of cabling makes it a brick on my desk anyway, so may's well buy something that's meant to look good on a desk!
  6. sarah3585 macrumors regular


    Aug 12, 2007
    While I do think the glossy screens give a more wow factor to looking at images or watching movies, for design nothing beats a matt screen. I find apples complete move to glossy very strange and frustrating.

    My set up is a a macbook pro that I hook up to a dell IPS monitor for serious work. I agree that it is a little annoying unplugging and plugging all the time and it doesn't look as neat as an all in one imac the portability means more to me. I can't take an imac into bed with me!
  7. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2006
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    can't believe you escaped the madness in the glossy vs matte debate...

    but... likewise I am a design professional who does a lot of imaging work on a 27" iMac. Calibrates easily using Spyder3. Reflections are very overrated, in most situations it is negligible (and mine is next to a window). Take care when positioning it, buy a pair of blinds for those few occasions when excessive light is an issue... and you will have no problems.

    I moved from a Pro tower to an iMac configuration and have had no regrets.
    Cost is half, space savings are a nice bonus (my dog appreciates the extra room under the desk too, lol).
  8. BBrandDesign macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2011
    Yes I have also used this equipment glossy iMac screen which is very much suitable for the purpose of design. Thanks for providing this tool and wishes you all the best for your further discovery,
  9. 4miler macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2009
    Paco, I see you've decided to go with the glossy screen - which is fine - but if you buy the glossy screen, then subsequently find that you cannot stand it, consider adding your petition to the petition - There you will find quite a few people that bought glossy iMacs, and ended up finding them unsuitable.

    I think there really is no point asking other people for their opinion. Most online user polls show that around 40-80% of people prefer matte screens, so you are always going to get comments for and against. It is a personal preference.

    Even if these polls are skewed because of the type of people who respond to polls, the undeniable fact is lots of people hate glossy screens. Moreover, many of these people only discover they hate glossy screens after using them for extended periods. I suggest you read the more than 1,550+ petitions at before making your final decision.

    A recent PCPro poll showed that around 70% of its readers preferred matte screens.

    And this generally tallies with around a dozen other online polls which are reviewed here:
  10. dead flag blues macrumors member

    May 13, 2011
    We have both glossy and matte screens in our office. Some love glossy, some hate it. Try it out and see if it works for you.
  11. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar

    I've had a lot better color reproduction on glossy screens than matte. (Matte diffuses light remember). Glossy is excellent. I actually had a perfectly calibrated screen out of the box (the other required extremely minor tweaks with my colorimeter). The prints I get match my monitor perfectly.

    As the above poster said there is a trade off, simply make sure you pay attention to your light sources in your room and you will be fine. The glossys not near as bad as people make it out to be either. The light from the monitors is so bright it kills the glare, the only time you have to be cautious is on a very dark background.

    Remember though, its all up to personal preference. I'm surprised how you dodged the "glossy vs matte" debate. I've used both extensively and personally prefer glossy.
  12. acharnas macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2011
    davedee: I just got a new 27" imac, and am looking for a new calibrator. (My old Spyder no longer works on Intel macs). I'm glad you've gotten good results with the Spyder3.

    Which version do you have (pro, elite, ...?)

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