Is there a screen protector that will make a glossy Macbook screen matte?
April 11, 2007 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Is there a screen protector that will make a glossy Macbook screen a non-glare matte?

I'm looking at laptops and the Macbook appeals to me. It's the right size, right processor and well, it's a considerable amount less than the Pro. What it also has is a glossy screen that I don't think I can get used to. I've searched far and wide for a "screen protector" that's matte and I can't seem to find anything that fits the bill. Anyone know of a way to make a glossy screen matte?

And please don't tell me to just buy a Macbook Pro.
posted by photoslob to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
YMMV, but for what it's worth, I thought the glossy screen would be tough to get used to, but in reality I adapted quckly and now love it.
posted by unclejeffy at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2007


I love the glossy screen and thought I'd hate it! The only downside is fingerprints. Once you get the macbook, the glossy screen will be a non-issue, I promise.

unclejeffy, what do you use to clean your screen? The smudges are tough to clean and the "screen cleaner" I've been using isn't so great
posted by necessitas at 7:47 PM on April 11, 2007


I abhor the look of glossy screens and struggled over the decision to purchase a Macbook. I could not see why they used a glossy surface. I remember reading the Mac forums aboout this and seeing how many skeptics ended up being OK with the screen.

I've had a 13 inch Macbook for a year and the screen has been fantastic. I haven't had a glare issue.

Sorry if that doesn't answer your question, but you are looking at it for the exact reasons I did, all of which were ones that I've continued to enjoy.
posted by docpops at 7:56 PM on April 11, 2007


I also had reservations about the glossy screen, but also got used to it very quickly and have not had a single moment of consernation since.

For screen cleaning I use a small brush (bought from compusa for this very purpose) to remove the dust first and then use the IKLEAR cleaning solution sold at Mac Stores. I was sceptical about the product but it really has been my best cleaning option to date.
posted by jlowen at 7:57 PM on April 11, 2007


I'm with everyone else -- I love the screen on my MacBook; glare just hasn't been an issue at all.
posted by buriedpaul at 8:03 PM on April 11, 2007


Isn't it funny how we've gone from hating glossy photos, and preferring matte finishes, to the exact opposite in the laptop world.

I love my glossy screen, things just look better. However it shows up any dirt or dust, and if you touch it with your fingers you're practically doomed forever.
posted by oxford blue at 8:06 PM on April 11, 2007


Here's why the glossy screen is a hard sell for me: I'm a photographer and I need to occasionally open large files and check exposure and lighting. This won't be my primary machine as I have a G5 tower at home I do the heavy lifting with. I think the glossy screen is deal breaker for me.
posted by photoslob at 8:18 PM on April 11, 2007


i'm a heavy photo user with a matte macbook pro... would almost prefer a glossy for photo work. it's seriously not the fuss that you'd think from all the whining.
posted by pokermonk at 8:40 PM on April 11, 2007


I find that the micro-fiber cleaning cloth I have for my glasses works great in cleaning smudges and finger prints off my Macbook screen. You can usually find such cloths at optometry offices for a couple bucks. I highly recommend it.
posted by icebourg at 8:41 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find that the micro-fiber cleaning cloth I have for my glasses works great in cleaning smudges and finger prints off my Macbook screen. You can usually find such cloths at optometry offices for a couple bucks. I highly recommend it.
posted by icebourg at 8:41 PM on April 11 [+]
[!]

seconded
posted by docpops at 8:54 PM on April 11, 2007


Here's why the glossy screen is a hard sell for me: I'm a photographer and I need to occasionally open large files and check exposure and lighting. This won't be my primary machine as I have a G5 tower at home I do the heavy lifting with. I think the glossy screen is deal breaker for me.

I'm not sure if I get why a glossy screen will be a major problem for checking exposure and lighting; especially when we factor in histograms and the like. Especially if it is not you're main machine. It seems you're making a mountain out of a mole hill somewhat. And I'm not sure why large files and glossy screens are somehow problematic together.

The whole debate reminds me of the crt/lcd debate a few years ago.
posted by oxford blue at 9:03 PM on April 11, 2007


I hated the idea of getting a glossy screen, but I didn't have a choice because a) I wanted a Mac laptop, and b) I couldn't afford a Macbook Pro. I agonized over it before making the purchase and was dreading using a glare-y computer screen for the next few years. But I have to say, it has been 3 months and I had completely forgotten that I have a glossy screen until I clicked on your MeFi question. It's actually really great. And if you absolutely must -- and I doubt this will be necessary -- you can turn off any overhead lights you have on and use lamps instead.

I'm not a photographer, so I don't use my computer for the same purposes as you will. You should go to a Mac store and take a look at the screens in person. Maybe that will help you make a more informed decision. Keep in mind that most Mac stores have overhead and track lighting.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:07 PM on April 11, 2007


that is to say, for intense color analysis you're not going to be in any better shape with a matte screen than a glossy screen as both have their own type of reflections that adversely effect your ability to see a true neutral point in an image. just because the reflection is more diffuse on a matte screen doesn't mean it's non-existent; in fact, i find that matte screens can be more deceiving in anaylzing exposure and color density for this very reason. at least with glossy, you know that glare is glare. (to be up front, i think apple's matte surface lcds are no better than adequate for graphic design. i haven't worked extensively with glossy, but in my brief exposure to them feel they would be better.)

to eliminate issues with reflection on either of the laptop screens, i think you're going to want a laptop hood (even as dorky as it is).

all this said, i feel like adding another layer or coat to the screen is foolish given your desire for precise adjustment... a permanent type of coat (i would assume a liquid fix of some sort) would likely be inconsistent over the screen's entire surface. a temporary coat would likely have more air space between the screen and the additional layer, muddying densities. in either case, calibration would be a bitch.
posted by pokermonk at 9:11 PM on April 11, 2007


I don't know if waiting is an option for you, but if it is, it's also possible that the next iteration of the MacBook might include both options -- the same way they revised the MBPro last year to be purchaseable with either a glossy or a matte screen.

When you visit the Apple Store or other store where you physically look at these before buying (a must), HotPatatta made a great point about the light in a store being terrible for judging how it might work at home. With diffuse light from multiple sources, you'd have much less of an issue.
posted by sparrows at 12:14 AM on April 12, 2007


Does no one have an answer to the question posed?
posted by caek at 2:47 AM on April 12, 2007


It depends on usage - I've had a gaggle of notebooks with/without glossy/matte screens.

I prefer matte because I find they reduce eyestrain.

However, if you aren't using your glossy screen around fluorescent lighting - then it will be less of an issue.
posted by jkaczor at 7:46 AM on April 12, 2007


I use a screen protector on my Treo that I think is exactly what you need. You could try to find out if they have the same material in larger sizes. I use the original one, but there are other options.
posted by AnyGuelmann at 8:56 AM on April 12, 2007


this too isn't an answer, however, if color and accuracy really does matter, the macbook (glossy or not) isn't the best. the macbook we just bought has a much narrower field of view than my titanium powerbook, meaning colors go wacky when you're not in the sweet spot. i can't speak for the new macbook pros though.

that said, allow me to chime in with everyone else, that i too thought the glossy screen would be a deal breaker. it wasn't. glare turned out to be a non-issue.
posted by sxtxixtxcxh at 9:05 AM on April 12, 2007


I'm sitting using a MacBook with my back to the window right now and, yes, there are chronic reflections. I get around this by having the screen at an angle that's not conducive to good on-screen contrast, but which still works OK. In the evening/on overcast days, I can push the screen back for good contrast, no problems.

But I've learned to live with it, and I'm pretty picky/irritable about these kind of things (I once gave away a notebook because I found it too irritating to use). If I can live with it, other people certainly can.

But if you're going to use it for photography then you really need to check it out beforehand. I wouldn't use my MacBook for checking digital images, unless I'm in a very dark room/car. Because of the reflections/contrast dilemma, I'd be tempted to take a look at a MacBook Pro. I'd definitely compare them side by side.
posted by humblepigeon at 9:12 AM on April 12, 2007


Here's why the glossy screen is a hard sell for me: I'm a photographer and I need to occasionally open large files and check exposure and lighting.

Forget the gloss, that's not the issue: the Macbook's screen is exceptionally poor for colour work. The profiles on the majority of them -- even after an Apple update -- are so wild that the controls are off the scale in the Apple built-in profile adjuster. Avoid.
posted by fightorflight at 9:24 AM on April 12, 2007


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