Death to the glossy display!

Death to the glossy display!

Summary: (If you're a big fan of glossy displays, you can probably skip this post)I've been gushing about the MacBook Air to anyone that will listen for the past week, but I have to admit that now that I'm back from Macworld Expo the Kool Aid is starting to wear off.Don't get me wrong, I haven't canceled my order or anything, but I'm really becoming troubled by Apple's move exclusively to glossy displays.

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(If you're a big fan of glossy displays, you can probably skip this post)

Death to the glossy display!

I've been gushing about the MacBook Air to anyone that will listen for the past week, but I have to admit that now that I'm back from Macworld Expo the Kool Aid is starting to wear off.Don't get me wrong, I haven't canceled my order or anything, but I'm really becoming troubled by Apple's move exclusively to glossy displays. What started as an option on the MacBook Pro, became the only choice on the MacBook. Then the iMac. And now the MacBook Air.

The glossy screen annoys me so because of the incredible amount of glare that it reflects. Sure, it might be ok in a dimly lit studio, but as soon as you're near an outdoor window it's as reflective as a mirror. This effect is exponentially worse when used outdoors or in a car, train or airplane–the prime locations for using a notebook computer. Have you ever used a glossy display during the day in a vehicle? It's horrible. Especially if you have a light-colored shirt on.

I can't believe that Apple made the MBA exclusively glossy. In fact, I'm pissed. I'm getting myself more and more worked up as I write this, so I need to take a deep breath and go to bed.

Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow to find out the the MBA's glossy display was just a bad dream...

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Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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  • Amen brother Jason

    The iPhone, the MacBook, the MacBook Air, the latest iMac... What's next - the Cinema
    Displays??
    greg_glockner@...
  • I know what you mean . . .

    My old PDA had a glossy screen (Axim X5A). My new one has a matte finish to it (ASUS MyPal A626), and I can't believe the difference . . .

    I've looked at glossy vs matte on Dell laptops, and they can keep the Glossy ones . . .
    JLHenry
  • RE: Death to the glossy display!

    Glossies are great for movies but not appropriate for anything else (i.e., business applications - the purported market of the MBA).
    jwearley@...
  • RE: Death to the glossy display!

    You utterly fail to understand the point of a glossy surface. As someone who used to make his own prints in the darkroom, I can explain. ANYTHING but a glossy surface acts to (a) dull colors by introducing extraneous white light into to what you see, and (b) significantly reduce visual sharpness (detail), by failing to provide a clear, simple path from light to eye.

    All serious print makers employ glossy surfaces. Why use an expensive lense if you're going to dull the effect with a matt surface. Ditto for a computer display.

    Glossy surfaces simply look better. As for glare, for pete's sake just shift your sitting position, as you do under other circumstances (to keep glare out of your face, etc.)
    tomcloyd
    • You utterly fail...

      ...to understand the point of this article. How many of us do you figure are going to use a MBA solely for printing? As for constantly shifting positions when on a train to try and look for a (possibly nonexistent) angle with no glare...well, I'd rather just get a matte finish. Which I think is the point.
      skatersev
      • It's about probability...

        First of all, the reference to "prints" was to photographic prints. I assumed that in this neighborhood people are technological enough that the reference would be understood.

        What's true about the physics of the surface of photographic prints is true for the surface of any image, and that's why computer screens have gone glossy. I've actually been waiting for years for this to happen, since I always knew that they'd be better, if glossy. And they are.

        Trains? Using laptops on trains? Would you care to guess what percentage of folks do that? For them, matte finish might indeed be better. That Apple isn't offer that option is is likely a business decision. The market is likely seen as too small. And THAT suggests that the percentage of potential users is not great, doesn't it? One sells to the largest market first, and to other if it makes any sense.

        So - there are two things the author didn't quite grasp: the physics of image surfaces and market economics. 'Ya keepin' up?

        I use an almost-full glossy monitor right next to a window, all day. It's not problem, 'cause I keep it shaded - mostly so it's easier to see. Solves both problems. Don't know is something like this could be possible for those deviant train people. :)
        tomcloyd
        • planes, trains, automobiles... differing environments...

          really, glossy is put up with by most people, so, they go for glossy. but most people HATE glare. if given the option of "vivid" or "glare free", when sitting out in the sun, we all know what they'd pick.

          they want to sit however they want, where-ever they want.

          the sheeple have been told they want a glossy to watch movies, and then they didn't remember that they rarely watch movies, or work on photos, etc.

          there's a reason that IBM was never selling glossy screens. IBM sold business machines, not consumer ones. enjoying DVD playback, or editing pictures weren't part of the routine. They just wanted a simple machine for the business user.
          Guess what? I prefer the stuff they had, for the screens. Video editing and photo work are the rarity among usage of a machine, comparatively.
          shryko
        • Two things

          Not that I don't agree with you....I personally prefer glossy as well.

          But
          [i]Trains? Using laptops on trains? Would you care to guess what percentage of folks do that?[/i]

          When was the last time you rode the train? You'd be hard pressed to find someone on the train NOT using a laptop. The same goes for planes, buses, cabs, other forms of public transportation (not as often on the subway - I guess it's more crowded and you're more likely to be robbed...but I've seen it...). Glare is a problem and it's impossible to move to avoid it. If you're lucky, you are next to a window and can pull the shade or the person next to you who is next to the window will pull it for you. If not, it's a hassle to make out what's on the screen.

          And,
          [i] That Apple isn't offer that option is is likely a business decision. The market is likely seen as too small. And THAT suggests that the percentage of potential users is not great, doesn't it?[/i]

          Two words for you: Macbook Air. Who exactly do you think it's marketed it? People who travel (or else why the thin/light thing?). Travelers will be on trains/planes/buses/etc.


          So...I'm with you on glossy.

          Take the train sometime. It's relaxing. :)
          laura.b
        • Wrong!

          [i]"What's true about the physics of the surface of photographic prints is true for the surface of any image, and that's why computer screens have gone glossy."[/i]

          Prints have reflective colour, screens have transmissive colour - totally different methods of illumination. With prints, the gloss allows the light to be reflected back to the user making it pass through the ink twice (once on the way in and once on the way out) and thus making the colours strong and bold. This does not happen with a display unit.

          The two are not comparable - your reasoning is flawed.
          bportlock
          • Not flawed.

            Reflective and transmissive is important when combining colors (one is additive, the
            other subtractive). But in both cases, the light must pass through a medium on the
            way back to the eye.

            In a transmissive display, the light must also pass through the "ink" (the LCD cells) on
            the way to the eye, so the argument still holds. Non-glare screens achieve their result
            by scattering the light, reducing richness and intensity.
            frgough
  • am i alone?

    i really like the glossy display. i wish my white imac had one!
    lostarchitect
    • That's because you have a desktop...

      ... a glossy machine on a portable (frequently used outside) is an *entirely* different
      animal IMHO.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • i have a laptop, too...

        i have a G4 powerbook (matte screen), and i used to have a dell 17" laptop with a glossy screen, and i prefered the screen on the dell. however, i almost never used it outside, so that doesn't negate your point. but if i bought another laptop, i would probably go glossy again. hopefully i won't regret it!
        lostarchitect
  • I think you may be missing the point

    I'm pretty sure all of these glossy screens are leading up to touch screen use in the very near future. You can't use touch screen with a matte finish.
    Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
    • says who? it's all in the choice of materials... (nt)

      (nt)
      shryko
    • Garmin uses matte finish touch screen

      The matte touch screen Garmin uses look outstanding, in fact I wish it was an option on the iPhone so it doesn't show all the fingerprints
      Question everything
    • re: I think you may be missing the point

      Kid Icarus:

      "I'm pretty sure all of these glossy screens are leading up to touch screen use in the very near future. You can't use touch screen with a matte finish."

      Funny thing, my Treo 700wx has a touch screen, and the finish is matte, not glossy. Works just fine, thankyouverymuch.
      M.R. Kennedy
  • RE: Death to the glossy display!

    I wish that Apple would allow people to decide which screen they want. I really hate "no option" method of selling by Apple that recently gotten into. First started with the iPhone without 3rd party apps or battery swap and now no battery swap and glossy only screen on the MacBookAir. Please Apple, please give us some options so we can decide what we like. I know manufacturing single model and type is cheaper but you, Apple, is turning your Apple faithful away quickly by giving no options.
    I have been using matte screens since PowerBook 100 but recently I bought my MacBookPro with a glossy screen just to see how it looks and I have mixed feelings about it. First it does have much better color and contrast but does have the glare in certain conditions. I don't regent my decision for getting a glossy screen but this gives me insight of which screen I would buy in the future if Apple allows us to decide.
    phatkat
    • RE: Death to the glossy display! What is up with Apple?

      I agree with phatkat. I really a glossy display for a machine in my home office and at work, it is a huge improvement, but Apple should offer the option. As people clearly indicate, in some places a glossy is no good. One size fit's all may work at 4% market share when all your fans will take anything released, but now that they expand they better start offering choices in their software and hardware products. Other OEMs offer the choice. Windows offers more choice for the look of Vista, whereas Leopard is dark and dreary which takes away from it's great features. What gives? It's like take it the Apple way or take the highway. I am a switcher (since Panther OS X 10.3), have an iPod, and Mac guy at work, but I am having second thoughts about things since Leopard was released and issues like this. The conceited attitude from Apple is a problem for me, and I WANT to like their products. Imagine how things come across to casual consumer that they need.
      The Ash Man
  • A nightmare for graphic designers

    Glossy screens are designed to over saturate the colors
    to make them pop on photos and games. This is a
    nightmare for those of us who must have accurate colors
    for printing and proofing.
    ronhowe1@...