Matte VS Glossy Screens: Pros & Cons

Essentials, Anti-Glare protection, Pros & Cons

The screens in our life

Computer screens are everywhere and all around us in this day and age.

From your office PCs to your personal home computer and your TV – it seems we have made them a crucial part of our everyday life and need them as a basic necessity to function with the tech all around us for work, leisure, etc.

Screens and monitors are great and all, but the problematic thing about them with a lot of people is that they’re made of glass – highly reflective, shiny glass that is.

The average person, even avid users of tech, doesn’t spend that much time looking at a screen during the day, so even though they may have other issues related to prolonged use they wouldn’t have an issue with some shine.

For the people who have hobbies or jobs involving said prolonged use however, screen glares and reflections could be a big hassle when one has to look at a monitor for longer periods of time, for example:

  • They could distort perceived images and colors, make them look different and render the monitor completely useless in direct sunlight or in a brightly lit room
  • They could cause eye strain and irritation because of all the reflections and glare produced on the glass surface of the monitor
  • The above mentioned eye strains and irritations may cause long-term issues connected to migraines and headaches, etc.

In short, highly reflective monitors are not as liked and as preferred as their matte counterparts by many people looking at screens for longer periods. (gamers, office workers, etc.)

But the thing is, you need a screen to function with a PC for whatever reason it may be.

The shine

So what’s the deal with all the shiny monitors then? Is it a conspiracy theory? Are companies purposefully making screens shiny to cause headaches, migraines, health issues and to distort images and colors? Not really.

The main purpose of all of those shiny screens is exactly to be as shiny and as reflective as possible so they look fancy, expensive and of pristine, premium quality.

The screens being shiny and not having any matte coating on top has its technical aspects as well, but the primary reason why you will barely find any matte screens in mainstream tech these days, especially with smartphones and touch screens all around us, is product image. After all, we all love good shiny, glossy gadgets don’t we?

Luckily for avid computer users, matte alternatives and anti-glare products exist to combat and offer competition to the sometimes painful to use shiny screens.

Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em? Here are some solutions to help with the gloss and shine of modern-day screens.

Anti-Glare Solutions: Filters

Anti-glare monitor filters are usually thin layers applied on top of the glass surface of the monitor to help prevent glare, shine, color shift, etc.

Older varieties of anti-glare filters were mesh filters giving the appearance of a nylon screen – although effective they caused severe degradation in image quality, so they weren’t quite the perfect solution and alternative.

Modern-day manufacturer of such filters however, offer a variety of anti-glare filter solutions for PC monitors, laptops and even smartphones.

Filters these days are manufactured from polycarbonate or acrylic plastic, giving the screen that matte finish without compensating with image quality or clarity.

The filters are thin and easy to use and apply. Some key features include:

  • Light diffusion to help reduce glare
  • Added layer of durable protection added to screen to protect it from dust and scratches
  • Gives the monitor a clean matte surface that’s easily cleaned and that hides fingerprints

Anti-Glare Solutions: Monitors

Naturally there’s also always the alternative to purchase an anti-glare monitor or laptop.

As already mentioned these are usually targeted at audiences who spend a lot of time in front of a screen.

Majority of anti-glare laptops for example are either professional notebooks or gaming laptops.

The pros and cons of matte and glossy displays

In general, there has been a long-time discussion in the tech community about which type of monitor or screen is better.

While glossy screens may cause distortions due to reflections and glare, they have been reported to display images more clearly and colors like black deeper and more saturated, while their matte counterparts tend to water down colors and make images fuzzy sometimes.

While matte screens are better for tasks like gaming or office use, glossy screens, in a controlled environment and properly lit, can be very beneficial to tasks like graphic design or photography – duties requiring clarity of image.

Additionally, matte screens have been found to be less of fingerprint magnets than glossy ones.

The takeaway

So which one should you choose?

Seems like glossy screens, while producing images with better quality, colors and clarity, have the issue of being rendered unusable in any light condition other than perfect and are major fingerprint magnets, while matte screens combat those same issues, but can compensate by not delivering the best image quality.

In a perfect world there would be a matte screen that doesn’t cause any irritation through shine and glare, has a killer image quality and color accuracy, and is not a fingerprint magnet, and maybe someday we will have such a monitor, but until then we can only do as much as pick the best option for our specific needs.

Truth is, nobody can recommend the perfect monitor to anyone else but themselves, but it’s good to know that there are and will always be alternatives and solutions to possible issues along the way.

Glossy or matte, users should pick the monitor they think suits them best and doesn’t compensate with ease of use, their user experience or their health.

There is also another solution to eye pain.

Whether your screen is matte or glossy with Iris you will protect your eyes from harmful effects of the computer. Read more in these articles:

Iris – Program to protect the eyes from the harmful rays of the monitors

14 tips to make your monitor healthier for your eyes

What is the best monitor settings for eyes?

3 Simple Ways to Test if your Monitor is Good for your Eyes and Health

Best Monitor Brightness and Contrast Settings for Eyes

Adjuѕt Monitor Cоlоr Temperature

Author: Yasen Nedelchev

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