Matte Screen SIGNIFICANTLY Worse than Glossy?

slowmac89

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Aug 30, 2017
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My Macbook Pro (2011, 13" base) has a glossy, 1200x800 display. Comparing it with a Dell E5420 which has a matte, 1600x900 (14" screen) display, the Dell looks considerably WORSE. These two laptops have the same graphics card (Intel HD 3000), and despite the Dell having a better resolution at the similar screen size, playing two of the same videos side by side reveals poorer quality visual experience.

Is this due to the anti-glare/matte layer?
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
The difference is mostly due to the type of LCD panel the MacBook Pro and Dell E5420 are using. While both use TN panels, there are good TN panel models and there are bad TN panel models.

Glossy and matte finishes are a matter of preference. Glossy finishes make colors "pop" because of the mirror-like finish, but they are extremely reflective. Matte finishes do not reflect as much light directly back to the viewer like glossy finishes because of the anti-glare coating which diffuses the reflected light. The result of the anti-glare coating does make text and images look a little less sharp because the coating diffuses light.

I personally refer LCD screens (laptops and monitors) with matte finishes. I find reflections on glossy screens to be very annoying and the amount of glare coming off of them makes them difficult to use in bright daylight. That is one of the reasons why I stopped using my Lenovo Ideapad Y470 since it has a glossy 1366x768 resolution screen. The other reason is because of the low resolution screen.
 


The anti-glare/matte layer could very well be a major contributor. I am a firm believer that a matte layer ALWAYS degrades the apparent sharpness of the image compared to a glossy finish, and also mutes the colors somewhat. There appear to be varying degrees of degradation depending on the matte layer. They are not created equal. I had an ASUS g75 gaming laptop a few years ago with a 1920 x 1080 display, and the matte layer was so bad it looked like you were looking through a screen door. I replaced the display with a glossy one myself, and the difference was like night and day. On the other hand, I currently have an Msi GT70, and the matte layer seems much better than the one on the ASUS (would still prefer the look of a glossy screen, but the matte is at least tolerable in this instance). There could also be many other contributing factors causing the lousy appearance of your Dell display compared to your Macbook Pro. Not gonna go into detail, but lets just say that the Dell display is most likely of inferior quality to the one in the Macbook.

 

slowmac89

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That's what I thought! Looks like a lot of laptops today come with anti-glare...
 

BFG-9000

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The MBP 2011 13" had an optional anti-glare matte screen which didn't look any worse than the glossy one but was better for use in bright rooms. While they were both Tn screens, Apple at least took the trouble to factory calibrate them.

OTOH the Samsung LTN156AT02-P01 panel used in the Dell was dim, low-contrast garbage as the colors started to change at just 20 degrees off-axis.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
The difference is mostly due to the type of LCD panel the MacBook Pro and Dell E5420 are using. While both use TN panels, there are good TN panel models and there are bad TN panel models.

Glossy and matte finishes are a matter of preference. Glossy finishes make colors "pop" because of the mirror-like finish, but they are extremely reflective. Matte finishes do not reflect as much light directly back to the viewer like glossy finishes because of the anti-glare coating which diffuses the reflected light. The result of the anti-glare coating does make text and images look a little less sharp because the coating diffuses light.

I personally refer LCD screens (laptops and monitors) with matte finishes. I find reflections on glossy screens to be very annoying and the amount of glare coming off of them makes them difficult to use in bright daylight. That is one of the reasons why I stopped using my Lenovo Ideapad Y470 since it has a glossy 1366x768 resolution screen. The other reason is because of the low resolution screen.
 
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