Matte vs. Anti-Glare and the new iMacs


macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 13, 2005
I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that once the new iMac is released, we may see the tide turn on the matte vs. glossy screen debate. Even without retina resolution, the new iMac screen will change some minds.

First, I agree with those who think that the new iMac will ship with an anti-glare screen similar to the one found on the Macbook Pro Retina. There will not be a cover glass, and glare will be significantly reduced.

Second, as most people realize, the “glossy screen” of the iMac is really just a highly reflective cover glass. Under that glass is a glossy (but less reflective) LCD screen that is actually quite nice to work with. Before, I purchased my first iMac, I used several Mac Minis with matte HP displays. I assumed at that time that I would always prefer a matte display. However, since I’ve been using my iMacs without the glass cover, I’ve changed my tune and actually prefer working on the glossy iMac.

As an aside, I’ve recently been researching buying a new display for my Windows machine. I’ve looked at several IPS monitors from Dell, and it’s interesting to note that many users think the matte coating on the new Dell monitors is too heavy and actually detracts from the image quality.


macrumors 68000
Feb 11, 2009
I work on an iMac at home with glossy screen and I have a Dell 2407WFP at my office. I agree with you. Even though the Dell screen is suppose to be a top notch screen for visual work I still prefer the screen of the iMac - that is when there's no window reflection from the strong sun. In the evenings its perfect. The Dell screen, even after I've carefully tweaked the colors are less vibrant and the images more dim than what the iMac produces. I guess the glossy screen gives a better color and contrast feel. So, if the next iMac screen gets glossy screen as the rMBP with less reflection, it would be the best of both worlds. For me, only the tiniest hope of this is worth the wait.


macrumors 68020
Jul 22, 2002
I'm on the fence, Matte v Gloss(iMac).

I've used Matte screens on my G5 PowerMac, just got a BenQ (gw2450), before that an LG. I've used iMac's in store but usually there are away from windows and it's hard to see glare off them.

I'm hoping the reason for the iMac delay is new screens, maybe a Matte option otherwise I can't see why they didn't release the Ivy Bridge update (like the MBP) back in June. Either we'll get a new design or screens in October. I will be very disappointed if we just get the Ivy Bridge with the next update.


macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2005
Do not be fooled.

Here’s a great shot comparing the new Retina MacBook Pro (2012) screen in the middle, with the old glass screen on the left and the matte screen on the right:

Here is the source and more:
 The next-gen MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review

I have seen the new Retina MacBook Pro (2012) and the reflections are HORRIBLE.

We need a matte option for all Macs, even if more expensive. It is a serious health and productivity problem.

More at MacMatte.


macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 13, 2005
Thanks for the photo, but I think you could also look at it another way.

You can see how much less glare there is on the Retina Macbook Pro. That has been similar to my results in using my iMacs with the cover glass removed. Yes there are still some reflections, but indoors with the brightness turned up about 1/2 way, I never notice them.

You can also see how washed out the matte display looks compared to the Retina Macbook Pro. While not this dramatic, that has also been my experience when comparing my iMac display (without cover glass) to my matte HP display.

My Macbook Pro has a matte display, simply because the only other alternative at the time was glossy (which I don't really like either). However, when I upgrade, I think I'll go for the Retina MBP and not the high-res matte display.


macrumors 65816
May 22, 2012
I maybe the only one on this forum that prefer the glass/glossy display if only because it is easier to clean than a matte display. This is hay fever season around here...

Beside the glass also help with the overall picture quality and color vibrancy.

I presently own an iMac and. Toshiba laptop, both with glossy screen and wouldn't go back to matte screen.