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Which screen to choose: glossy or matte?


Long time TUAW commenter Arkowi, tracked down my personal blog, shot me an email and said: "I see you are picking up a Macbook for your wife. I am ordering a 15" MBP either today or tomorrow. Still not sure about which way to lean on the glossy screen. At first it seemed like a no brainer...but some of these reviews seem pretty high on the gloss. . . . It seems the glossy screen might give more a TV appearance which I find appealing (I will be using my MBP as a portable HDTV). However, I will be primarily using it for design work (mostly web based, a few print situations). Just wondered what your take on the gloss was?? Feel free to answer on TUAW if you so desire."

Well, Arkowi (and all the others amongst you wrestling with this decision), having both a matte-finish MacBook Pro and a glossy-screened MacBook in the house, I can sum up my observations of the glossy screen in one short sentence: It ain't too shabby.

The glossy finish is not that horrible super-shine that I've seen on oh so many HP laptops in the local Comp USA or Best Buy. My good friend Randall has a glossy-screened HP laptop that I've been forced to use from time to time, and although he loves it, I've gotten a nasty headache any time I've sat down and used it for any length of time. I've used my wife's MacBook quite a bit so far, especially when I was setting it up, and I've enjoyed it. the screen is slightly brighter than the matte screen on my MacBook Pro and bright enough that the reflections are not distracting in consistent lighting.

However, I'd still pick matte for myself. It's all a matter of taste. Try both out in an Apple Store before you buy, if you can, and make sure you read through Scott's take on this topic.

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