Glossy vs. Matte notebook screens, health concerns about high-gloss displays?

Apple Store“Are bright, high-gloss notebook screens harder on your eyes than conventional, matte-finish notebook LCDs? …The new generation of bright, glossy notebook screens began appearing in 2003. Compared to traditional anti-glare, matte-finish LCD screens, high-gloss screens have a higher contrast ratio. They’re noticeably brighter and produce crisper, more vibrant images. And they can be more easily viewed from the sides,” James A. Martin writes for PC World.

“Today, bright, high-gloss screens are found on notebooks from Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Toshiba, and others,” Martin reports. “But these screens certainly have their detractors. For example, Deborah Hovey of Fredericksburg, Virginia, writes that the ‘annoying reflection’ on her high-gloss screen is ‘painfully distracting.’ Deborah adds: ‘I’ve even been using my old laptop rather then breaking the new one (with the high-gloss screen) out!’ Deborah’s e-mail was similar to others I’ve received from readers complaining about the glare and reflection.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: MacBook and MacBook Pro glossy screen owners, do you think the screens are harder on your eyes? Are they more or less annoying than experiences you may have had with matte anti-glare screens?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Close-up Apple MacBook photos (keyboard, glossy screen, and more) – May 16, 2006
Apple adds glossy screen option to 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro – May 16, 2006
Apple debuts new 13.3-inch widescreen MacBook; replaces both iBook and 12-inch PowerBook – May 16, 2006


  1. It was a tough choice in the Apple store, but the lusciousness of the glossy made the decision.

    In use, yes it’s more reflective, but angling the screen to avoid those reflections becomes second nature.

    On balance I’d definitely go for another glossy screen.

  2. ive got a macbook and the screen is freaken awesome, ive seen some toshibas that seem too reflective though. but honestly under normal light conditions shiny screens are really good, offering superior color saturation. they are not good for outdoors in sunny conditions or when a powerful light is shining directly at the screen, however even matt screens arnt good in those situations.

  3. Moiety – I’m not surprised that any modern screen is better than the ones on the original clamshell iBooks. They were pretty bad; far worse than the one I had, what, a decade ago on my PowerBook 5300.

    I’ve only worked with MacBooks a few times, but every time the screen makes me glad I normally use a MacBook Pro.

  4. My company just bought me a new MacBook Pro in January and I chose to stick with a matte screen. While the glossy looked sexier, the matte screen is perfect for work, which is the “main reason” I got it (I also get to take it home and play with it on my time–Hurrah!!). Both types of screens are a lot brighter than on previous models, including the Powerbook 17″ that I used to use at work.

  5. I don’t mind the glossy screen of my MacBook C2D, it certainly looks better than my old 12″ PB screen. Just takes a little while to get used to it. My Images look much “richer” & vibrant than they did on the ‘ol trusty 12″ PB.

  6. MacBook screens are great–my wife has one with glossy and loves it. I tried it and found it comparable to the MacBook Pro. (Of course, the size is different–duh–if that’s what you’re alluding to.)

  7. Hmmmm, could it be that the glossy screen is better cause you can buy a filter to put over it make it matte finish, but you cannot make the matte finish more glossy???
    Just a thought.


  8. This is the problem

    The glossy laptop screens are just the same with CRT’s, there is a reflection which makes the eyes constantly refocus back and forth from the reflection to the image on the screen. It produces eyestrain, which produces a headache with long use.

    Matte screens are overwhelmingly prefered by long use computer users, especially ones who grew up using CRT’s five inches from their face. Matte is easier on the eyes. In fact I dumped all my eMac’s for iMacs and my clients have been very grateful.

    This poll shows matte is preferred over glossy.

    If the poll was more accurate reflecting the age and experience of computer user, I’m willing to bet it would show the computer users with more experience choosing matte over glossy screens.

    Over 30,000 people can’t be wrong.

  9. >I’ve even been using my old laptop rather then breaking the new one (with the high-gloss screen) out!’>

    Don’t schools teach the difference between ‘than’ & ‘then’?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.