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Fed up with glossy screens? Laptop makers respond

Last year we promised to take your views on matte screens straight to the laptop manufacturers. We did, and now Sony, Samsung and Dell have responded with their plans for anti-glare screens on their laptops.

Why are there so few options for people who want an affordable laptop without the annoying reflections?

That was the question we took to the manufacturers. Why? Because the majority of the comments made on our laptop screen Conversations expressed a clear preference for a matte option.

We’re missing matte screens

When we investigated the issue further in our labs, we found that there was no great difference in the quality of matte and glossy screens. So, the shininess – or not – of a laptop is entirely down to personal preference. And according to the polls and surveys we’ve done, there seems to be a good number of people who want matte.

What I couldn’t work out was why more manufacturers weren’t taking advantage of this and offering more matte screens on affordable models.

So, we sent our research and a selection of your comments to all of the major laptop manufacturers, including Samsung, Sony, Acer, Dell, Toshiba and Apple. We’ve also been meeting with some to discuss the situation further, asking them each to send a response.

Dell, Sony and Samsung respond

So far we’ve heard from Sony, Samsung and Dell – will they be introducing matte screen options to their laptops?

Dell was very interested in both our lab research and your comments, telling us that it would be sharing these findings with its product group team.

Although Dell currently offers a choice of matte and glossy screens on the majority of its small and medium business products, it admitted that in its consumer portfolio only the Dell XPS 17 comes with the option of having either a glossy or matte screen.

However, Dell did add that ‘we continually access out our product portfolio based on customer feedback, and we are exploring adding [a matte option] to future products’.

Sony told us that it decides on the type of screen for particular models according to their key usage. So, although Sony agreed that an anti-glare screen is preferred for on-the-go use, ‘glossy works well for mainly home usage to enjoy vibrant images’. For laptops that are used both indoors and outdoors, Sony has a display that is ‘the best of both worlds with our unique anti-reflective LCD’.

Sony also told us that its own customer surveys had shown that display quality is one of the top factors for their choice of PC, but that ‘there is more to a display than just the finish, particularly if a customer is looking for a high-quality display’. Sony hopes its Vaio displays offer this.

Great sales for Samsung’s matte laptops

Finally, we were very pleased when Samsung brought out its Series 3 laptops, which all came with matte screens. When we took our campaign to Samsung, it told us that it thinks anti-glare screens are best for people on-the-go as ‘it doesn’t reflect the image back and delivers an improved viewing experience in sunlight’. And its Series 3 laptops have performed very well:

‘All [Samsung Series 3 notebooks] sold out months before we had expected which means there is definitely a consumer demand for them that we expect to further increase as the benefits of matte become more widely acknowledged.’

Best of all, by April 2012, all of Samsung’s laptops will have matte screens!

So, what do you think of these manufacturer responses to our matte screen campaign (you can read the full responses here)? Do you think they’ve taken your views on board? And if you also feel passionately about having a matte option for laptop screens, tell us below.

wcohen says:
6 December 2012

The cheapest and easiest way to obtain a matte screen on a new laptop is to simply change it out yourself! Most of the current 15.6″ WXGA screens with 1366 x 768 resolution are physically and electrically interchangeable.

For example, I just purchased two new Compaq Presario CQ57 laptops–one for me, and one for my wife. Both came with annoying glossy/glare screens. One had a Samsung LTN156AT05, and the other had a Chi Mei N156B6-L0B. I bought two new AUO B156XW02 V.3 15.6 matte screens on Ebay for $80 each, and changed them out myself. I suppose this voids the warranty, but still a lot cheaper than paying $1000+ each for a ThinkPad or Latitude just to get a good screen.

Kim says:
30 March 2013

I can’t use glossy screens as my eyes are very light sensitive and the reflective screens give me migraines – I am very supportive of your campaign because I am forced to buy business laptops. I wonder if the manufacturers have done any research with people who are prone to migraines or react badly to other ‘flicker’ or light reflective type issues such as strobe lighting or camera flashes?? There is definitely a consumer/home user market for matte screens.

Steve Jones says:
4 May 2013

[Hello Steve, we’ve removed your comment for breaking our commenting guidelines. Please be polite to other commenters. Thanks, mods.]

wcohen says:
4 May 2013

Steve, you are correct that the gist of my message is that the screen must be replaced, however I am in the U.S. and what I said is a common idiomatic expression here. Apparently, in the U.K. people would not say that, and therefore see the use of this expression as a sign of stupidity.

In any case, the point I was trying to make is that it is generally cheaper to buy a laptop with a standard glossy screen, and replace the screen yourself, than it would be to special order a laptop with a matte screen. New, non-refurbished LED display panels can be purchased on Ebay for less than $80 delivered, and you would still have the glossy screen left over to resell, thus recovering most of that cost.


In the UK, it is common for service engineers to use the term ‘swap out’ to describe replacement of parts.

I have never tried replacing a screen, but have seen instructions on websites. Thanks for pointing out that new screens are available at a sensible price.

Thü Hürlimann says:
20 June 2015

Typical that Apple did not even care to comment. Apple has become so ignorant to customers needs. Once I loved Apple, I was a big defender and fan up to 2005. But Apple had too much success, its OS is still the best you can get. But the hardware really is not. Thats why I have turned to the Hackintosh. And I never bought any of that glossy displays.

mike says:
17 July 2015

spent about 20 hrs looking. did the same about 5 years ago and found a very expensive fujitsu matte screen..terrible sound and all.

this time got wind of game laptops and found a few more. there plenty in the 1080p range…just a few in the UHD. between two i liked Acer Aspire V15 Nitro | Intel Core i7 | 4GB Graphics | 4K Ultra HD | Backlit Keyboard and the ASUS ROG G501JW Laptop | Intel Core i7 | 4K Ultra HD | 4GB Graphics this one had 512 ssd the acer had 256 ssd and 1tb sata, i got to see the acer at frys and had stunning picture….so went with that at costco.

both there now… acer 1299 two year warranty 90 day return any reason

1599 asus with same warranty and return and also year accident.

will follow up in a month or so after my vacation on this…i spent 3 hrs last night and this morning tracking down if this one was matte or glossy….p****s me off they don’t let you know in specs properly with so many people looking.