/ Technology

Do you want matte screens to return?

Baby looking at reflection in laptop

There was one obvious omission in our latest laptop and netbook batch – only one had a matte screen. The rest were glossy. Why is it so difficult to avoid glossy screens and why can’t matte monitors return?

In our latest batch of reviewed laptops, just one had a matte, diffuse, anti-glare (or whatever you want to call it) display.

That was out of 15 pieces of computing kit. And worse, the lone anti-glare device wasn’t even a laptop – it was an expensive, high-end business netbook. The Samsung N350 is hardly going to suit your everyday consumer.

Mourning the death of matte

So the problem continues – where have all the matte screens gone? I know there’s a demand for them – you’ve told me so on Which? Convo when I moaned about shiny gadgets (complete with expletives). Kris commented:

‘My Toshiba laptop has a shiny screen and it’s terrible, particularly if I sit in the wrong place I just can’t see the screen with the sun hitting it.’

I’m with you there Kris, my Sony Vaio laptop threatens me with my own reflection morning and night. Francisson joined the chorus:

‘Personally I hate these glossy, glassy, glittering reflective surfaces, but I’m putting up with one because when I bought a new laptop not long ago I found no choice, though I tried hard enough!’

And that’s the rub – people are willing to go out of their way to track down a matte screen laptop and would probably pay a little more for it. Commenter Timothy Ryan certainly would, ‘if a company made a point of advertising the matte screen of their device I would most definitely consider it above one that didn’t’.

Why not make matte screens?

You’d think computer manufactures would want to make a quick buck – so why aren’t they investing in matte screens?

There are a number of theories. People, like monkeys and magpies, are attracted to shiny and reflective objects, meaning they’re more likely to buy a glossy laptop in a store. Matte screens are said to be more fragile and may even cost more to make. Plus, some commenters on Reddit say they use glossy screens as a mirror:

‘I like to check to make sure my toupee is on right, the shiny screen helps…’ commented ObamaisYoGabbaGabba.

Those poor (and sarcy) reasons aside, I’m not buying it.

Bring back matte iMacs

Loyal Apple customers aren’t buying it either. A petition calling for matte iMacs to return has had over 1,500 responses – they’re not a happy bunch, refusing to buy another iMac until there’s an anti-glare option.

Professional graphic designers seem to be the angriest – they’ve been using iMacs for years and find glossy screens a distraction that often give them headaches. These are existing Apple customers who are desperate to upgrade their hardware, but Apple apparently isn’t listening, despite the company’s promise to take note of customer feedback.

So, we really want to know – do you miss matte screens on laptops and computers? If there’s a big enough call for their return then we’ll use our clout to take this straight to the manufacturers (just like with our viewfinder campaign). Let us know in the comments and vote in our reopened poll – I certainly know which result I’ll be rooting for.

What type of screen do you prefer?

Matte (89%, 1,491 Votes)

Glossy (11%, 178 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,667

Loading ... Loading ...
Christine Caple says:
24 January 2017

The crassest thing in all this is that product specs don’t tell you if you get a gloss or a matte screen. ‘Which’ is not great on this either.