Protecting my MBP screen: Matte Film or Tempered Glass

Which protection would you choose for your Retina MacBook Pro?

  • Matte film.

    Votes: 12 60.0%
  • Tempered Glass.

    Votes: 8 40.0%

  • Total voters
    20

Populus

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
886
803
Valencia, Spain.
Hi!

As some of you already know, I just purchased a new 13" MacBook Pro 2015. This is my very first retina laptop, and I'm very excited! I come from a Core2Duo 2010 MacBook Pro, so figure it out!

From several years, I've been reading about staingate. I don't want my screen to end up that way :(
Also, I think a protective layer can help me to clean more easily the screen, without the risk of damaging it.

The screen of my previous Mac, the 2010 one, was very easy to clean with water and dish cleaner. It was glass, without any coating. Now, this new MacBooks have a delicate layer of something that can degrade.

So, I've decided to buy some protection to my 2015 MacBook Pro.

Option 1: Matte film. This is a film by KWMobile, and it is a matte plastic film, preventing reflections -not my main purpose, although it can be a good extra- and users say that it does not dim or low the sharpness of the Retina display (I still have to see it with my own eyes).

Option 2: Tempered Glass. This is a glass, with oleophobic coating. It is more protective than the KWMobile film, but probably it will ad a lot of glare. And weight. But if something impacts on the glass, it will be more protecting. Also, cleaning of the screen will be much easier than with matte film. But matte film is less prone to fingerprints and it is not a dust magnet like the glass.

So, wich one would you choose?
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
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Shanghai
Why can't Apple just go back to the high resolution matte screens? The Retina is obviously plagued with problems so they ought to try something else.
It's do do with viewing angles, colour accuracy/vibrancy, image distortion, and brightness. That's why matte screens are no longer a thing, because they suck in nearly all aspects other than glare. You can close the blinds or move the computer with glossy, but you cannot make that image appear 100% as printed with matte. A semi-gloss or eggshell would be 'something else', but majority of people want colour accuracy as these tend to be used by creatives. Office workers generally favour matte but they use 15 year old Dells and Word so they're clearly happy with anything they get.

Personally don't put anything on the screens, haven't had any issues with glare and considering the brightness levels it just shouldn't be a thing unless under extreme circumstances like you were sat at a park bench. In which case close the laptop and enjoy the view!
 

ulfertg

macrumors newbie
Jan 18, 2016
23
12
... but majority of people want colour accuracy as these tend to be used by creatives.
I am a creative and I would never buy a glossy Display for work.
I would prefer a matte screen over a glossy one in the MacBook, but since there is no choice I have to live with it (Windows is no alternative for me).

Why do you think that a matte coating would affect color accuracy?
Afaik all High-end Displays for color critical work are non-glossy.
 

nia820

macrumors 68020
Jun 27, 2011
2,090
1,890
Tempered glass on a laptop is unnecessary because the chances of for screen shattering is extremely slim because laptops rarely fall face down.

I always go with matte screen protectors because it will reduce that glare. Its much more useful than a tempered glass protector.
 
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Populus

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
886
803
Valencia, Spain.
Tempered glass on a laptop is unnecessary because the chances of for screen shattering is extremely slim because laptops rarely fall face down.

I always go with matte screen protectors because it will reduce that glare. Its much more useful than a tempered glass protector.
Thank you Nia, for your opinion :)
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
2,316
482
Cornwall UK
I have a thin film on my macbook air.

a cheapo from ebay mainly stop screen getting marked from the keyboard keys when closed etc.

Works and does as it should. glass be too thick on an air I think so film better option for me anyway.

I also have a silicone keyboard cover on my air...
 

Populus

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
886
803
Valencia, Spain.
Well, I'm wondering if having a protective film on the screen can damage somehow that anti glare coating... Hopefully, it will protect it.
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,963
4,550
Do you want a honest opinion? Neither of two. Your display is a precisely engineered piece of technology, manufactured to very low tolerances. I have strong doubts that any kind of aftermarket layer will offer any noteworthy protection, but it will almost certainly compromise the quality of the image and maybe even increase the chance of display damage (again, low tolerances!).
 

HerbertDerb

macrumors regular
Jan 10, 2017
189
143
I was thinking the same thing (Going to buy 2017 15" MBP")

But, what i have read is that the AG coating is very delicate. If the screen protector clamps too thigh to the screen, when you try to peel it off, it might peel of parts of the coating. (In some Amazon reviews there was pictures of it)

On the other hand, there is protectors that can be removed and "washed". Problem is that if its too "easy" to remove the protector then dust can get between the protector and the screen itself and potentially cause damage.

What i ended up doing is to buy this thing:
https://www.radtech.com/products/screensavrz-macbook-pro-keyboard-cover

If Apple would use something like Gorilla Glass, it would be nice. But then the screen would be very glossy and reflective
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,914
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Shanghai
I am a creative and I would never buy a glossy Display for work.
I would prefer a matte screen over a glossy one in the MacBook, but since there is no choice I have to live with it (Windows is no alternative for me).

Why do you think that a matte coating would affect color accuracy?
Afaik all High-end Displays for color critical work are non-glossy.
Fair enough, just read up and seems they are equal on colour accuracy. I just hate a textured screen to work off, it never cleans right and just looks cheap to me. I just find a glossy display to be a cleaner more uniformed looking screen than diffused and flat matte.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,529
I agree with leman in post 11 above.

I wouldn't put ANYTHING "on top of" the retina display surface.

It has a very thin anti-glare coating that -- regardless of what Apple has tried since the retina was introduced -- seems fragile and is easily marred.

The best way to "protect" it?
I try to use as much "care" when handling the top cover as is reasonably practicable. That means, don't touch the screen, and be careful when opening/closing the top cover.

If there's dust on it, I just "brush" a soft cloth over it, without pressure.
If there's a spot on it, I use a soft piece of tissue moistened with water and as little "pressure" as possible. Then [again] brush lightly with the soft cloth.

In the long run, some of these just seem more prone to "staingate" than others.
There's no way to really know, other than using it over time.
Fortunately, Apple has extended the screen replacement program.
I'll -reckon- that they silently acknowledge the inherent design weakness of the display coating, without a public admission of same...
 
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Populus

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
886
803
Valencia, Spain.
I agree with leman in post 11 above.

I wouldn't put ANYTHING "on top of" the retina display surface.

It has a very thin anti-glare coating that -- regardless of what Apple has tried since the retina was introduced -- seems fragile and is easily marred.

The best way to "protect" it?
I try to use as much "care" when handling the top cover as is reasonably practicable. That means, don't touch the screen, and be careful when opening/closing the top cover.

If there's dust on it, I just "brush" a soft cloth over it, without pressure.
If there's a spot on it, I use a soft piece of tissue moistened with water and as little "pressure" as possible. Then [again] brush lightly with the soft cloth.

In the long run, some of these just seem more prone to "staingate" than others.
There's no way to really know, other than using it over time.
Fortunately, Apple has extended the screen replacement program.
I'll -reckon- that they silently acknowledge the inherent design weakness of the display coating, without a public admission of same...
But I don't want to use my laptop like it was a museum piece of art. I want to use it on the go, and without worries. I tend to clean often the screen because I can't stand dust and dirt on it, so I think in the long it run will be better to put some layer (with no glue at all) in order to protect the screen. There are protectors with no adhesive, but I don't know wether the glass or the matte film will be adhesive-free.

Regarding that extended screen replacement program, look, I live in Spain and here, don't ask me why, they are very reluctant to help you when something goes wrong. Me: "my battery goes under 80% and I have only 569 cycles" In the USA -> "OK, it is clearly under the normal parameters, let's replace it :)" In Spain -> "well, batteries degrade over time, you know, and the software tells me your battery doesn't have any manufacturing issue, so I can't replace it".

So I'm not expecting them to put things easy, especially when this laptop was purchased finally on Amazon, not in the Apple Store. That's why I try to avoid having to use warranty services of the Genius Bar: They are excellent in USA and probably in other countries. They suck in Spain (because we are how we are, but that's another story).

Anyway, I appreciate your point of view!
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
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But I don't want to use my laptop like it was a museum piece of art. I want to use it on the go, and without worries. I tend to clean often the screen because I can't stand dust and dirt on it, so I think in the long it run will be better to put some layer (with no glue at all) in order to protect the screen. There are protectors with no adhesive, but I don't know wether the glass or the matte film will be adhesive-free.

Regarding that extended screen replacement program, look, I live in Spain and here, don't ask me why, they are very reluctant to help you when something goes wrong. Me: "my battery goes under 80% and I have only 569 cycles" In the USA -> "OK, it is clearly under the normal parameters, let's replace it :)" In Spain -> "well, batteries degrade over time, you know, and the software tells me your battery doesn't have any manufacturing issue, so I can't replace it".

So I'm not expecting them to put things easy, especially when this laptop was purchased finally on Amazon, not in the Apple Store. That's why I try to avoid having to use warranty services of the Genius Bar: They are excellent in USA and probably in other countries. They suck in Spain (because we are how we are, but that's another story).

Anyway, I appreciate your point of view!
Never put a screen protector on any computer, phone, or tablet I've owned. Never had a scratch or anything on any of them. I don't treat them like 'museum exhibits' or anything, I use them and clean them. Phone goes in my pocket, phone has been used when hand has bits of concrete on it and all sorts. But never any scratches.

The thing is with protectors, is they will never protect against much. It's just a thin piece of plastic after all, so anything capable of scratching the screen will easily go through it. And also because it's often plastic, it'll create static which will attract dust. A build up of dust is more likely to cause small surface abrasions or require more regular cleaning.

I'm not sure what screen protectors are actually supposed to protect the laptop against, perhaps micro abrasions from a windy day on a beach. But if you just clean the thing (I do it maybe once a week / when a project manager feels the need to 'point' to something on the screen) it's always fine. The gap between the keyboard and screen is also super small, so any buildup on the keys is going to imprint on the screen, try not to leave dust/soot/grit on the keyboard.

Anyway you can use a screen protector, but personally those things look naff, often crinkle over time/bubble up, attract dust, and always go loose grip towards the edges (Leading to a build up under the protector, potentially causing scratches on the screen when closed). I would rather have a 100% nice screen for 99% of the time, than have a hampered screen for that tiny chance I could get a huge crack down it.
 

Populus

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 24, 2012
886
803
Valencia, Spain.
Never put a screen protector on any computer, phone, or tablet I've owned. Never had a scratch or anything on any of them. I don't treat them like 'museum exhibits' or anything, I use them and clean them. Phone goes in my pocket, phone has been used when hand has bits of concrete on it and all sorts. But never any scratches.

The thing is with protectors, is they will never protect against much. It's just a thin piece of plastic after all, so anything capable of scratching the screen will easily go through it. And also because it's often plastic, it'll create static which will attract dust. A build up of dust is more likely to cause small surface abrasions or require more regular cleaning.

I'm not sure what screen protectors are actually supposed to protect the laptop against, perhaps micro abrasions from a windy day on a beach. But if you just clean the thing (I do it maybe once a week / when a project manager feels the need to 'point' to something on the screen) it's always fine. The gap between the keyboard and screen is also super small, so any buildup on the keys is going to imprint on the screen, try not to leave dust/soot/grit on the keyboard.

Anyway you can use a screen protector, but personally those things look naff, often crinkle over time/bubble up, attract dust, and always go loose grip towards the edges (Leading to a build up under the protector, potentially causing scratches on the screen when closed). I would rather have a 100% nice screen for 99% of the time, than have a hampered screen for that tiny chance I could get a huge crack down it.
It's not a crack what I fear... I don't know if I didn't make it clear. Neither are the scratches (I use my iPhone SE without any screen protector, and I have some minor abrasions but I don't care). The point of all this post is... Staingate.

I just want to prevent it from day one, and be able to clean easily and confidently the screen of my new rMBP.

Nice user name by the way xD
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
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It's not a crack what I fear... I don't know if I didn't make it clear. Neither are the scratches (I use my iPhone SE without any screen protector, and I have some minor abrasions but I don't care). The point of all this post is... Staingate.

I just want to prevent it from day one, and be able to clean easily and confidently the screen of my new rMBP.

Nice user name by the way xD
I don't know if a screen protector would prevent that, I don't know the complete cause but a part was possibly improper cleaning techniques. A screen protector would also possibly exaggerate this due to creating a layer between the surface that could result in a build up of moisture.

Also the fact that Apple settled this and it resulted in defect warranty repairs means they likely put heavy investment into making sure it doesn't happen again, otherwise it's just more lost money for them.
 

groove-agent

macrumors 65816
Jan 13, 2006
1,053
777
Me too, I absolutely detest glossy screens. I'm still holding on to my cMBP for the matte screen but it's getting old and wanting to die. Not sure what to do now, particularly considering the pricing of the new Glarebook Pros. I can't use one for more than 2 hours without getting a headache. The fact that these are standard is awful. I figured my cMBP was my last mac. Right now I'm considering Hackintoshing a Dell XPS 15. I feel like I don't have any other choice. MacOS is great. The hardware it runs on is overpriced for what you get.

I am a creative and I would never buy a glossy Display for work.
I would prefer a matte screen over a glossy one in the MacBook, but since there is no choice I have to live with it (Windows is no alternative for me).

Why do you think that a matte coating would affect color accuracy?
Afaik all High-end Displays for color critical work are non-glossy.
 

FineFuturity

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2012
101
65
TX, United States
I use a matte-based screen protector on my MacBook Pro and my iPad Pro. It, in my mind, makes reading things easier, as matte finishes tends to ward off glares than clear/tempered glass ones. Also makes writing on my iPad Pro feel more like a piece of paper, as the surface becomes much less slippery.

The only downside with matte-based protectors is that they absorb the oils from your fingers, which affects the screen's color uniformity, especially on whites. Thankfully, this is resolved by simply cleaning the screen. Thing is, I am considering going back to a clear screen protector, though, since I'm not sure I can deal with this annoying downside anymore.

Take from this what you will, OP.
 

Sterkenburg

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2016
386
329
I'd put absolutely nothing over a MBP retina screen. I can understand (and use myself) a screen protector for a phone or other touch screen device where you actively scrub the glass with your fingers and expose it to the elements. But a laptop? No thanks, I'm not going to cover a precision-engineered display with a cheap piece of plastic/glass. Anything you can put can only make things look worse, and the protector itself could potentially be harmful for the screen coating.

The only thing I recommend is a microfiber cloth such as the Radtech to cover the keyboard, as marks and tiny smudges from the keys form very quickly on new MBPs.
 
Last edited:

Adamantoise

macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2011
891
112
Lol, who the hell puts screen protectors on a laptop? Is this seriously a thing?
[doublepost=1499500908][/doublepost]
Me too, I absolutely detest glossy screens. I'm still holding on to my cMBP for the matte screen but it's getting old and wanting to die. Not sure what to do now, particularly considering the pricing of the new Glarebook Pros. I can't use one for more than 2 hours without getting a headache. The fact that these are standard is awful. I figured my cMBP was my last mac. Right now I'm considering Hackintoshing a Dell XPS 15. I feel like I don't have any other choice. MacOS is great. The hardware it runs on is overpriced for what you get.
Why don't you guys just get external monitors? I mean, matte displays are nice, but the viewing angles on glossy display is way better.
 

groove-agent

macrumors 65816
Jan 13, 2006
1,053
777
Lol, who the hell puts screen protectors on a laptop? Is this seriously a thing?
[doublepost=1499500908][/doublepost]

Why don't you guys just get external monitors? I mean, matte displays are nice, but the viewing angles on glossy display is way better.
Why would you need better viewing angles on a laptop? Just turn it to face you. It's portable.

I take my laptop to various places to work. I can't always "close the blinds" or turn out the lights and really, should I have to go through this hassle to accommodate the screen? A laptop needs to work wherever you go, not dictate where you can work.

In the 90s we would have to use glare shields on CRTs to reduce the glare. There are many studies proving that glare is bad and yet these screens are standard. IMO, they were a popular BTO option in the late 2000s because the casual user thought it looked like their TVs - and somehow that was good because that was what they were used to.

Pros however know better. If you go to most kiosks, or even the screens behind the genius bar, they're matte. It makes sense for protection on touch screens and I'll concede that (although touchscreen laptops are counter productive IMO because you're putting your hands in front of the area you're looking at). I tried the 27" cinema TB display when it first came out and took it back same day. It was bad enough I was working inside, but now I had to close the blinds to use it.
 
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ixxx69

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2009
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634
United States
Fair enough, just read up and seems they are equal on colour accuracy. I just hate a textured screen to work off, it never cleans right and just looks cheap to me. I just find a glossy display to be a cleaner more uniformed looking screen than diffused and flat matte.
You're of course entitled to your preferences, but based on your last couple posts, I think your knowledge of matte screens is way out of date. I've been using Dell "pro" displays since the early oughts, and in the early years, they did tend to suffer a bit from what you describe. In reality, matte displays were mostly done in by terrible cheap displays where manufacturers could take those same terrible cheap displays and put them under a shiny reflective glass panel, and presto, those terrible cheap displays suddenly looked a lot "better" under the fluorescents at Best Buy (even if they did act like mirrors).

As has already been pointed out, almost all "professional" external displays are matte. I've been purchasing Dell "ultrasharps" and the like for over a decade, and the latest matte coatings are awesome. The Dell 4K P2715Q is almost like looking at laser printed paper. No "texture", no issues with cleaning... I don't know what these extreme viewing angles are that people mention (a family of four trying to gather around a laptop to watch a movie?), but matte displays are all we use at work, and we have people gathered around a user's workstation all the time and no one ever has any issues seeing the screen when sitting or standing next to the primary user.

I have my retina MacBook sitting next to the matte Dell display, and there's a slight difference. I get it - the glossy glass displays give an extra "pop". It also shows the reflected ceiling light fixture behind me. Fortunately Apple has some of the least reflective glossy screens available. Also fortunately with a small laptop, it's generally not too big a deal to just slightly tweak the positioning of the screen to reduce annoying reflections. On larger desktop displays (or maybe larger laptop screens and/or environments where no matter how you tweak the positioning, something gets reflected), it's a HUGE issue for a lot of "pro" users.

Unfortunately, we can't really vote with our wallets... Apple refuses to offer matte displays, and even outside of Apple, matte screen availability (in laptops and AIO's) is extremely limited to just a few models (e.g. Dell Precision laptops... which no surprise are aimed at "pros" rather than those more interested in using their laptop for content consumption).

------

As far as the OP goes, generally speaking, I think screen protectors cause more trouble than they're worth by a long shot.
 
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