back to article Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

For reasons too mundane to express, the location at which I have been currently working comprises two adjacent but separate open-plan areas conjoined by a small office occupied by the departmental boss. The easiest and quickest way to get from one open-plan area to the other is to pass through the little office. In fact, it’s …


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  1. Ian 62

    Incorrect apple bash

    Apple DO offer the choice on certain models.

    Yes, only some models but a choice exists.

    1. chekri

      Re: Incorrect apple bash

      Correct or not, they deserve it.

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Incorrect apple bash

        1. Restrict choice

        2. Offer option as a cost extra

        3. Profit!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Incorrect apple bash

      Sadly not on the iPhone, but it offered an extra incentive to buy the sub £20 battery case from Maplins: it comes with a matt foil. What's more, it also rejects fingerprints *really* well. I heard the standard screens were supposed to reject this but mine seems not have received that memo and thus led to slightly OCD "rubbing on pants" behaviour and excessive ear washing in the shower :)

      Thus, I now have a phone that is not shiny, looks clean and has a battery life that exceeds a single game of Angry Birds (a new measure of battery capacity)..

    3. Jamie Kitson

      Re: Incorrect apple bash

      Would that be the Hobbesian choice per chance?

      1. Kubla Cant

        Re: Incorrect apple bash

        Would that be the Hobbesian choice per chance?

        No. but it might be Hobson's choice. "Hobbesian" sounds very philosophical, but the allusion is to a Cambridge stable owner called Hobson who would only allow customers to hire the horse that was next in line.

        Or am I missing a joke of exquisite subtlety?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Incorrect apple bash

          And on a related note, I'd like to point out to Alistair that it is "knob-end", not "nobend". Don't you journalists have a spell checker, or an underpaid and overworked editor?

          1. Steve Knox

            Re: Incorrect apple bash

            Actually, that was a reference to inflexibility.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Incorrect apple bash

          How about Jobs' choice. Any computer you like as along as it is shiny and expensive.

    4. Idy

      Re: Incorrect apple bash

      "Forget Apple: they don’t do choice, so you’re wasting your time there"

      I can confirm, that I specifically paid the extra to get the higher-res, and MATTE screen. Apple bash ahoy!

      A friend has the glossy screen, and it does make some colours look much better, but I just prefer matte :)

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. RyokuMas

    "Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me..."

    Bad choice of article title - mention the word "Windows" (even with punctuation), and you're bound to get Eadon come along with a troll post...

    1. jason 7

      Re: "Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me..."

      Yes with Eadon around it's like having your own Forum Court Jester.

      Except we got lumbered with a not very funny one.

  4. glen waverley
    Big Brother

    "because you, reading this, are in the matte camp. ..."

    "... I can’t be bothered to explain how I know this, I just do"

    Yes, I am reading this on a matte screen. Now I am worried.

    BB icon, pretty obviously.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: "because you, reading this, are in the matte camp. ..."

      From which we further deduce that the camera cunningly placed above the screen is not obscured with blutak/gaffer tape (delete as appropriate)...

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "because you, reading this, are in the matte camp. ..."

      It's because people with shiny screens are too busy chatting as they can't even look at their screen because of the reflection produced by some florescent light somewhere in the other corner of the office. People with matte screens have to get out of work some other way, so they're reading this.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "because you, reading this, are in the matte camp. ..."

      I know where you live, Glen Waverley...


    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "because you, reading this, are in the matte camp. ..."

      He is right. I am on a matte screen and always have preferred matte, even down to my photographs.

  5. Anonymous Custard


    Given that apparently we all want touchscreens (at least according to some people's crystal balls), it's going to become a bit irrelevant anyway as a matte or glossy screen tend to look the same when covered in greasy fingerprints and streak-marks...

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Touch

      Oddly enough, the greasy finger marks don't show up so clearly on a matte screen.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Touch

      "(at least according to some people's crystal balls)"

      Interesting - I disagree, but mine are brass.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Got both - dont care which is supposed to be best.

    My theory is that shiny screens look better when switched OFF, or when showing a blank screen with the M$ logo screen saver running.

    I own both types and dont really have a preference - but then I am one of the few people who still like watching a CRT TV - again I also own a decent LCD, but even though the CRT is not "Hi Def", I still think the picture is better, so the CRT has pride of place in the living room, and the LCD hangs on the wall in the bedroom for the wife to watch.

    PS I own glasses with an anti reflective coating - isnt this basically the same as a matte screen???

    PPS, Over 40 and not humming shiny happy people - still humming Dumb Ways to Die :-0

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Got both - dont care which is supposed to be best.

      Shiny look best when in optimal viewing conditions, but the range for optimal conditions is slighter.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Got both - dont care which is supposed to be best.

      Personally, I'm not too fussed by a shiny screen, but specs without an anti-reflective coating do get on my nerves, especially at this time of the year when the sun is low in the sky.

      I think that matte screens have a matte texture, but anti-reflective optics have several layers of films with different refractive indexes- as a side effect you see coloured reflections from an angle.

      You could place tracing paper over a picture and see it clearly, but your could place tracing paper on your windscreen and expect to see where you're going.

    3. John 110

      Re: Got both - dont care which is supposed to be best.

      @Ian Emery "PPS, Over 40 and not humming shiny happy people - still humming Dumb Ways to Die :-0"

      Venus in Furs...

    4. John Sager

      Re: Got both - dont care which is supposed to be best.

      My (Tosh) laptop used to have a matte screen, until the wire broke off one of the flourescent tubes & I failed to repair it. The replacement, much to my chagrin, is shiny. It shows up fingerprints much more, quite apart from the greater reflectivity. I wonder what the incremental cost of putting antireflection coatings on sceens would be.

      As for matte 'blurring' detail, my view is that, because the matteness is close to the emitting surface, then it doesn't really affect the sharpness, especially as the roughness scale is probably smaller than the size of the pixels.

  7. Ocular Sinister

    Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather...

    I'm over 40 and currently humming The Velvet Underground's Venus in Furs....

    But you were right about the matte screen.

    1. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up

      Re: Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather...

      Yeah, me too. One for two; not Derren Brown material, but pretty cool...

      1. Paul Mitchell

        Re: Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather...

        I was definitely humming "Shiny Happy People"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather...

      Under 40, and Venus in furs is today's earworm thanks to this article.

      Still - better than yesterday when it was bloody Rock you like a hurricane... I don't even LIKE Scorpions.

      Oh good.. now it's some weird mashup of the two.

    3. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

      Re: Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather...

      Another one here humming Venus in furs.

      I guess we've have rather darker sensibilities than would permit hazy fantaizi to appear at all relevant.

    4. Frumious Bandersnatch

      Re: Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather...

      Yup... definitely in that camp myself

      ♫ ... whiplash girl-child in the dark ... ♬

    5. rory dobson

      Re: Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather...

      Absolutely Venus in Furs - humming all the way through until I saw the video and realised it wasn't TVU.

      Didn't even recall the nonsense at the bottom after listening to the first 20 seconds (all I could stand). I am heading towards the top of the 40's but even so, the only other "Shiny" track I could recall was "Shiny Happy People" - REM.

      Currently the "Best of Velvet Underground" is in rotation on my (non fruity) MP3 player... 8GB or random, but tonight on the commute I'll dial up TVU for some nostalgia.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a theory

    I am firmly in the matte camp and have a theory why the people on the shiny side are all faffing about. People are always happy to be interrupted from something boring, i.e. their TPS report, if someone walks past the movement will cause them to look and see who it is walking past....bang! Eye contact, 15 minutes later they've talked as much shit as possible and the person goes back to their TPS report. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  9. lanzz

    Good luck with adjusting your screen angle, when you're actually seeing your own face's reflection in the gloss.

    1. Ocular Sinister


      Its even worse when you've got the wrong glasses on and you see a reflection of your glasses reflecting the monitor in front of you... all with a ghostly reflection of your own eye ball apparently floating in mid air! Gahhh!

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      you're actually seeing your own face's reflection in the gloss

      Well if you must use your laptop sitting at a dressing table or during a make-up session...

  10. Andrew Moore

    Hang on...

    Did Dabbsie just reference Haysi Fantayzee???

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: Hang on...

      should really read RIGHT to the end before commenting.

      Oh, and Alistair- you're a bastard. I've got that song stuck in my head now.

    2. Fogcat

      Re: Hang on...

      But on the other hand he did also reference the Decemberists, which is a plus for a Friday.

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Hang on...

      I wonder how many consecutive columns I can write in 2013 with music lyrics in the headline before I give up.

      1. Harvey Trowell

        Re: Hang on...

        I wonder how many consecutive columns you can write in 2013 with music lyrics in the headline before we start referring to you as El Reg's answer to Chris Packham and you top yourself.

  11. Ed 13


    You probably do have an anti-reflection coating on the lenses of your specs. It's a requirement on most lens types, except the lowest refractive index type.

    1. MondoMan

      Re: Spectacles

      Ed and OS further up are right -- this argument was sorted long ago in the eyeglass world. Pretty much everyone except wicked Queen decided that reflections were Bad and put technology to work to get rid of them. Voila! Anti-reflection coatings are pretty much standard, since they work (without making it harder to see clearly!) and thus enable Luxottica to continue its juggernaut march to rule the world.

      My glasses are in the pocket -- don't sit on them!

      1. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: Spectacles

        "To my possibly muddled brain, glass surfaces that have been fuzzed with acid or an anti-glare coating are harder to see through. I wouldn’t have this done to the windows in my house, the windscreen in my car nor the spectacles sitting on my nose. Doing so would make everything on the other side harder to see."

        Camera lenses have anti-reflection coatings to maximise light transmission - otherwise a 4% loss on each air-glass surface, which is quite a few surfaces on a zoom (or a wider angle prime come to that). Glossy prints viewed in reflected light, so spectral reflections increase contrast by allowing you to angle the bright spots out of your field of view.

        PS: I have devices with both types and can't decide which is best.

  12. Ocular Sinister

    Rooms with no lights

    The only condition where glossy looks best is a room with no light at all - neither natural nor artificial. Given that most offices won't offer such a space, for office use at least matte is best. Glossy might make sense for TVs as you can close the curtains and turn the lights off to watch the box, though I'm not sure the advantage over matte is that great.

    1. Kubla Cant

      Re: Rooms with no lights

      I find most things look worse in a room with no light at all. Or do I mean better? It's hard to tell because I can't see a damn thing.

      1. Darryl

        Re: Rooms with no lights

        I suspect that my wife thinks I look better in a room with no light at all. Does that count?

  13. Crisp

    Everyone off the bus!

    I want all the shiny people over here, and all the matte people over there, ok!

    I represent mean angry pizza-eating coding people, alright!

    As long as there are no dead pixels, we can get on with writing software!

    1. Ben Holmes

      Re: Everyone off the bus!

      "With apologies to Dennis Leary".

  14. Tubs

    I also want the choice of a 4:3 or 5:4 screen, too, not this widescreen b****cks that's only of any use to people wanting to watch films!

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Actually, I *like* widescreen. I can get far more data on it, and especially with design or flowcharting it's good to have all the toolboxes in sight without having to park them on a second screen or having to hide them or dig them from underneath other windows.

      And with system work I can get many more command line prompts in view before they start overlapping.

      I can, however, see that being an issue with the weird crowd that use all their applications maximised. I find that to be seriously inefficient, but maybe it works for them.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        Seconded, doing development work on a decent quality widescreen display is a joy - I couldn't imagine going back to using a 4:3 display unless (as in the case of my home PC) it's got a second display alongside it... Provided the vertical resolution of the widescreen display is comparable to the 4:3 alternatives, those extra horizontal pixels rarely go to waste.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Warning: please check that your irony detector is switched on

          These days, part of the cost of a new lap top is buying a proper matte screen to replace the mirror that is fitted as standard to almost everything. Now that front facing cameras are ubiquitous, it is time to switch over to fitting matte screens as standard and overlay the image from the camera for people who love glossy.

          Wide screen gets me two 80 column consoles side by side with no overlap in a clear font size. I also get an exciting grey bar on each side of The Register's web site. How many people visit The Register just to stare for hours at those stunning pale grey bars?

          1. Boothy

            Re: Warning: please check that your irony detector is switched on

            @ 'pale grey bars'

            I assuming your using a browser with Adblock or similar? (Like me)

            Try turning if of for a mo and reloading a page, they are not empty grep bars be design ;-)

            1. Boothy

              Re: Warning: please check that your irony detector is switched on

              oops, 'by design' even!

        2. Frumious Bandersnatch

          those extra horizontal pixels rarely go to waste.

          I like widescreen too, for the reasons already pointed out. I still find myself wishing for more vertical resolution too, though. Tabbed browsing in the webotron and gnome-terminal (and virtual desktops if you want to count that) already make great use out of screen real estate, but it would be nice to be able to see more lines of code in emacs or Eclipse or the like. Come to think of it, I guess there's always Ctl-x 3 in emacs if I want to look at a buffer in 2-up mode, providing I don't mind scrolling manually in each window. I must remember to try that next time.

      2. petur
        Thumb Up

        My widescreen monitors at work have been turned 90 degrees. That's what I call vertical resolution :)

        1. Natalie Gritpants

          Good luck with your neck muscles.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Lack of vertical resolution annoying.

            especially when your vertical pixels are swallowed up by ribbon interfaces, title bars, status bar and websites with large banner adverts.

            16:9 also causes the centre of your screen on a laptop to be lower down than it would be on a 16:10 or 4:3 display. Not ideal.

            For sure, it depends on what applications you use it for. Choice is nice, though.

      3. Mark .

        Yes - I think the main dislike really comes from the vertical resolution, rather than the aspect ratio itself. With resolutions like 1366x768 being common (or even 1024x600 which "netbooks" got stuck with), it's a struggle when many UIs were designed with taller resolutions in mind. But with full HD, this isn't a problem, and all the extra "wide" space is great. It also seems a more natural aspect ratio for laptops (where you can't resort to using two monitors on your lap), it takes up the full width of your lap, without being too tall.

        1. Boothy

          @ Mark

          I was recently 'upgraded' at work from a Lenovo T400 to a T420 laptop.

          Whilst the laptop itself is better (faster, more mem, more storage etc.) The new screen res is 1366x768 (16:9), the old one was 1280X800 (16:10).

          So I've got more pixels width in the same physical space, so a higher DPI, but less vertical pixels and is actually physically smaller as well in the vertical, as there is now a wide border at the bottom, so the screen no longer fills the lid. so completely wasted space!

          I've no issue with the 1366 width, but the aspect ratio should have retained 16:10 to at least use the available space in the lid. A reduction like this is a step backwards.

          Luckily I have a monitor as well (1600x1200), so use the built in only as a secondary monitor except when in meetings etc.

          Back on topic.

          Matte all the way, both at work (above mentioned 1600x1200, a HP) and at home, a 24" Samsung 1920x1200 (So 16:10, not 16:9 which is pants) :-)

    2. E Haines

      At least give me 16:10 instead of 16:9, which is something that's becoming increasingly difficult. Display technology in general kind of sucks actually and in many ways seems to have regressed since're constantly being stuck with choices like "do you want decent color, *or* do you want to play games acceptably?"

    3. Bernardo Sviso

      Actually, !6:10 is very nice. But no one wants to offer that anymore, either.

      I bought my (slightly used) T-model Thinkpad (for more than I had budgeted) because:

      I knew it was entirely Linux compatible

      it had excellent battery life

      It had a great keyboard

      AND a wonderful, 16:10 (1440x900), matte/anti-reflective screen !

      I had been looking for 13" laptop quite a while, but everything (affordable) I found was deficient in battery life, and/or had 16:9 glossy screen, (I was looking for 5:4 or 16:10 -- but would have, grudgingly, settled for 16:9 if it had passable anti-glare and good battery life). It didn't hurt that it had a much better CPU than I had expected, and plenty of RAM -- but it was the screen (with anti-glare that was actually effective) that actually clinched the sale. The fact this was a somewhat larger, heavier 14" model seemed an acceptable trade-off, even at $100 more than my carefully considered "limit".

      I was concerned that I would feel "buyer's remorse" once the lure of the "new" technology wore off, but every time I open the lid in a "difficult" lighting environment, I feel a distinct satisfaction, and know that the temporary sacrifice of my Starbucks budget was well worth it.

  15. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    I need matte

    Not for any other reason that I don't very exciting to see myself reflected all the time. One shock in the morning is enough when I'm about to shave (hence the short delay - never put the blade to the skin before you look :) ).

    Having said that, I have both..

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: I need matte

      The thing is, I've been using my shiny MacBook all day and not once noticed reflections on the screen. There's a 27in shiny display on the desk as well and this is like a dark mirror, it's so reflective... but then again, that's because it's switched off.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Matte Screen Sir? I'm afraid not...

    There's just no demand for 'em.

    You're the fifteen-thousandth person I've told this week: just no demand for 'em.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Matte Screen Sir? I'm afraid not...

      Why have fifteen-thousand people asked for matte screens? Now that's quite a demand...

      I have a little theory which is a little bit nagging my mind: is the decline of the PC market is directly related to the hardware one is able to get? Currently only stupid 16:9 aspect ratios are available, only glossy displays, not even 1000 lines vertical resolution who wants to use such hardware 40 hours a week to make real work?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: only stupid 16:9 aspect ratios

        And the only thing this wide-screen monitor is actually good for is ---wide-screen films. And getting less screen area for the same "size." Which suits the manufacturers.

        Oh, and very wide spreadsheets, I suppose. Or editing music.

        OK, OK, so there are some some other things its good for, but it would not be my ideal choice for work.

  17. Jim 59

    Matte will rise again

    "... I wouldn’t have this [matte finish] done to the windows in my house, the windscreen in my car nor the spectacles sitting on my nose. Doing so would make everything on the other side harder to see."

    But you probably have curtains, tinted glass, coated lenses, curved surfaces etc!. I know you have curtains and not blinds, because...

    1. Tubs

      Re: Matte will rise again

      I think the OP is misguided here; there's a big difference between looking AT something underneath a matte screen (where the focal point is very close to the screen) and trying to see THROUGH a screen to the end of the road...

  18. Piro Silver badge

    Huh, all my screens are matte

    My Dell IPS monitors (2007wfp, 1680x1050, U2410, 1920x1200), my Dell laptops (latitude - d610 (1400x1050), d800 (1920x1200), precision m4400 (1920x1200) . Infact, I'm sure even my fantastic Sony Z12 laptop has a matte screen (and my first 16:9 screen - 1600x900).

    1. TwistUrCapBack
      Thumb Down

      Re: Huh, all my screens are matte

      why have i just wasted 3 seconds of my life reading the makes and models of all your swag :(

      1. Boothy

        Re: Huh, all my screens are matte

        and even more writing about it!

  19. Jamie Kitson


    The very new and modern Asus Zenbook Primes all come with (full HD) matte screens.

  20. Christopher O'Neill


    Can we have a similar article on the lack of choice with regards to monitor aspect ratios? I find it increasingly annoying having to use laptops which force me to view webpages or documents through a letterbox.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Widescreen

      >> Can we have a similar article on the lack of choice with regards to monitor aspect ratios?

      I did one of those about 10 years ago, complaining that shorter, wider displays are no use to anyone except people watching full-screen videos. All of the reader responses said I was stupid.

  21. Mark .

    Good article. Yes, for an indoor choice, glossy is fine and you're better off not placing a computer by the window anyway.

    But outdoors, definitely matte. I'm glad I'm not the only one to have noticed the oddity that whilst I can get a choice of matte vs glossy when buying a (non-Apple) PC, when it comes to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, that are often used outdoors, they all use impossible-to-read-in-sunlight glossy!

    (My Samsung ultra-portable has a matte display; my PC Specialist Clevo offered a choice, and I got glossy.)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF is it with Brits and Open Plan?

    The company I work for has US and UK divisions. The US divisions are bad enough with cubical farms, but the UK is open plan - which means all the engineers have little ability to concentrate due to all the disturbances around them. It seems to me that if your boss is being bothered by all the people traipsing through his office, GOOD! SERVES HIM RIGHT for making you work in open plan; if you are going to suffer from no privacy then he should as well!

    1. Tubs

      Re: WTF is it with Brits and Open Plan?

      Dilbert has a lot to answer for.

    2. David Neil

      Re: WTF is it with Brits and Open Plan?

      You should try working in an open plan office with several L1 support desks right behind you.

      I can hear every sniff, snuffle, fart and cringworthy piece of bad advice.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be curious to know what high-end gaming models are using-- either matte or gloss?

    I'm using a high end Asus G75VW 3D for videogames development. It is very deliberately MATTE, a deliberate design choice made by Asus. I'd be curious to know what other high-end gaming models are using i.e. either matte or gloss? For instance the top end models from Samsung (Series 7), MSI, Alienware, Lenovo etc...

    Mmmh, The author neglected to speak about outdoors or use in a car on a bright sunny day? This author said one thing I did note though... 'As an outsider'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be curious to know what high-end gaming models are using-- either matte or gloss?

      That's grand, as long as you have a display that represents what your customers use, for usability testing. Not every XBOX owner has a Hi-Def TV, yet text in Halo Reach, for example, was unreadable on an SD TV.

      I must credit where it is due, though- I now have an XBOX connected by a VGA cable to a matte 4:3 monitor, and the XBOX recognises its native resolution and Halo 4 fills the screen without stretching, croppping or distortion.

      Oh, does anybody want a 32" 4:3 CRT Panasonic TV before I take it to the dumpRecycling Centre?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Be curious to know what high-end gaming models are using-- either matte or gloss?

        You will get MY 32" CRT Panasonic TV when you prise it from my cold, dead hands!!! Although I WILL admit it is a wide screen, not a 4:3.

        HDTV is a bit of a con, only the yanks can see a real difference because THEIR SD broadcast definition was out of the Ark.

        1080p is slightly better, but as someone pointed out at the time, you either need 40+ inches, or sit 6" from the screen to tell the difference; which is why I laugh at all the "Full HD" 24" TV screens I see advertised.

  24. Gordon 11

    How can you tell?

    I've got 3 (different model) screens on my desk at work. But i don't know whether they are matte or glossy.

    How do you tell?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: How can you tell?

      >How do you tell?

      You take a piece of spaghetti that has been boiled for ten minutes, then sling it at your screen. If it slides off, it means you have a shiny screen... or your pasta in not done yet... I forget which.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pasta

        You'll be wanting a beer with that pasta. It's on me :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How can you tell?

      Which one can you see your reflection more in?

      ...especially when there's a strong light source in the room or from outside or from your back?

  25. Fuzz

    screen choice

    Recently a friend broke the gloss screen on his laptop, he bought it to me and asked me to replace it. I asked if he wanted a matte screen, he practically bit my hand off.

    Now a matte screen replacement for his laptop was readily available for the same price as the glossy version. If that is the case why don't we see this as a choice?

    Once you get passed the matte vs. glossy there are more problems. Resolution is one, laptops don't have enough resolution. At the same time screens made for desktop business use are being produced with daft resolutions my users don't want 1080p 21.5" screens. They liked the 1680x1050 22" screens. I'm not saying don't make glossy screens or 16:9 business screens just give the market a choice instead of deciding what they want for them. Personally I think 3:2 would be quite a nice ratio for a screen but nobody's going to start making one now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: screen choice

      >>> Personally I think 3:2 would be quite a nice ratio for a screen but nobody's going to start making one now

      Nobody's going to make them because 16:10 is already close enough... 3:2 = 1.5:1, 16:10 = 1.6:1

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shiny does generally help the colour have a bit more poke. But they could have a bit of shine without the high gloss we have now.

    CRT TV sets and monitors used to be very shiny, then someone added a coating which reduced the reflectiveness somewhat.

    Personally I'm happy with nice dull matte, it is something I was glad of when getting my first LCD screen, that and reclaiming masses of desk space. Those 17 and 19" monitors were huge.

  27. frank ly

    "...that’s the kind of nobend you are turning into."

    I think you'll find that it's 'knobend'.

  28. Dexter

    I thought a 'matte' was something to do with backgrounds in films. 'matt' is the opposite of 'gloss' surely.

    It's matt paint I buy - not matte, which I guess would be used for painting cinematic backgrounds.

    Or is this a UK/US thing?

    1. Darryl

      No, it's the name of the guy with no arms and no legs laying on your doorstep

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The only thing we use "matt" for in the US is as a nickname for Matthew. For paint and screens, it's "matte." The thing you might put down before you paint is a "mat." Though m-w lists both "mat" and "matt" as variants of "matte."

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Matt/matte

        A bit like 'program' and 'programme', then. I've read that 'program' was the original English spelling, and the other was a French affectation, used on English fly posters to make theatre productions look fancier.

        Just to amuse myself, I always use 'program' for things to do with computers, and 'programme' for television shows an the like.

  29. teebie

    Shiny screen woes

    I have been given a shiny screen at work, which means when I am peering at the screen trying to solve a particularly difficult problem I get distracted by the confused- looking man inside my monitor glaring at me.

  30. veskebjorn

    Glossy photos have more contrast than matte--screens may not follow suit

    Many years of reading glossy and matte photographs with a reflection densitometer showed me that the most contrasty black-and-white photos were printed on gloss paper. The maximum density difference I've seen is about 2.2 density units. (This is logarithmic; 2.2 units = a difference in relectivity of 300 times between darkest and lightest areas.) Unsurpisingly, the reflectivity in the white areas of matte prints approached .05 density units greater than the same area in gloss prints. The darkest areas of matte prints had no less reflectivity than gloss--and usually a bit less. If the matte print's density range is .06 units less, contrast is reduced by a factor of 4--a range of 75 for the hypothetical maximal matte print as opposed to 300 for gloss.

    Monitors are different, because they transmit light instead of reflecting it. Density ranges as measured by transmission densitometers could exceed 5 density units in high-contrast film, for a difference of 100,000 between the lightest and darkest areas. Monitors don't achieve this contrast, but matte vs. gloss is not an issue unless matte absorbs more light than shiny. What the author is likely noticing is the fact that inferior matte coatings blur crisp boundaries between image elements, thus reducing resolution.

    Right now I am using a 15.4-inch, 1920x1080 pixel, matte screen. Both the apparent resolution and the contrast range of this screen vastly exceeds the 72 dpi, 21-inch, multi-thousand dollar monitors I used to use for high-end color correction. Would shiny be better? Maybe a little, but I'm happy with what I've got.

    1. Alan Firminger

      Re: Glossy photos have more contrast than matte--screens may not follow suit

      Every surface reflects at least 5 % of the incident light.

      It was long ago accepted by photographic science that glossy prints give better contrast than matte. The reason is that since the surface reflection is always there illuminate to let it shoot off at 45 deg. A matte print sends some of the surface reflection to the observer, or densitometer sensor. A computer screen is no different, During daylight I shut a door behind me to lose the reflection of a window.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Glossy photos have more contrast than matte--screens may not follow suit

        It would seem from the above that the growth of glossy screens has something to do with manufacturers desire to extract the best contrast and brightness readings; under test laboratory conditions, which can then be put in their specifications etc. etc.

        Having used a glossy VDU, I welcomed laptops with their matte screens and yes most of my systems have matte screens (and my main phone even has a keypad that can be used one handed in broad daylight) - just been in the industry too long ...

  31. ContentsMayVary

    We are given a choice at work

    Fortunately, we're given a choice between matt and gloss here at work (we're all developers with 2 or 3 screens).

    NOT A SINGLE PERSON (out of 20 or s) has opted for gloss... I think that tells us something. :)

  32. Morat

    16:10 please!!!

    Widescreen yes - but not the stupid 16:9 1080p sized screens. Sadly people just seem to tick the "widescreen" box without knowing the difference. 16:10 screens are really hard to get hold of now. I'm keeping hold of my old gen Dell Precision laptop because the new ones are all 16:9 :(

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: 16:10 please!!!

      Likewise my 16:10 1920 x 1200 Dell Vostro, plastic fantastic. The Core2 T9550 and nVidia graphics seem handle everything I come throw at cheerfully enough, so have no immediate plans to upgrade. Maybe by the time I do, x86 laptops will come without screens and will be partnered with hi-res tablets.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shiny happy peeeeepolllllllllle!

    Doot doot doot doot doot doot doot....

    (might as well get Michael Stipe's voice stuck in everyone else's head today)

  34. David McCarthy

    It's a question of tatse

    Personal, that is, not in any other sense.

    Bought an Acer Netbook in 2011 - nice shiny screen. Then found unless I wore black and sat against a black background, I couldn't easily read the text. Changing the screen angle didn't make enough difference. Turned the screen brightness up - helped a bit but the battery didn't last so long.

    It was close to unusable in all those places away from the office where I had a spare half-hour and wanted to write something.

    So I looked up matt overlays, and found a very helpful outfit in Hong Kong (Exim). They have huge range, and when I enquired, yes they had one which fitted.

    It was a bit fiddly to install, but made a huge difference. The screen is a little darker, but I was able to use the netbook on my Greek Islands cruise, so long as I sat in the shade.

  35. Ceiling Cat

    Matte vs. Glossy

    I currently own 3 matte displays, a laptop with a glossy display, and a tablet.

    All 3 Matte displays are used daily. The tablet is used faily often as well. The laptop, for various reasons, has been mostly abandoned to the "oops" pile. The reason :

    The Glossy Screen.

    The problem isn't fingerprints, or the fact that the screen is 100x easier to scratch when cleaning (even with a microfiber cloth). The problem is that the "Optimal viewing angle" (you know, the one where black looks black, and not kind of brownish-reddish-blueish) and the angle at which there is no glare are so far apart that the display is unuseable when there's no glare, and also unuseable when there is.

    The tablet doesn't suffer this problem because it has a very wide "optimal viewing angle", and it's very easy to put myself between the source of the glare and the screen if I can't find an angle that works.

  36. Mage Silver badge


    Such rubbish.

    Obviously never used a proper Anti-glare screen.

    Glossy WILL give headaches if the reflections have movement.

    Glossy is rubbish for reading and photo editing.

    It looks fab in a showroom running a video. Decent matt / antiglare finish is expensive to do, glossy comes for free. No surprise which is promoted and easier to get.

    My matt screen is 133dpi and doesn't lack definition.

  37. Christian Berger

    I'm sorry, but I haven't seen a shiny display in months

    It's not like any non-consumer laptop has a shiny display. It's just the consumer laptops that have shiny displays.

  38. bag o' spanners

    I'm on a shiny at home, but only so I can admire my gorgeous reflection when there's a dark background colour.

    I noticed that a lot of self regarding went on in the reflective screen areas in my last open plan environment. I specifically asked for matte screens when the kit upgrades rolled through, because they don't get so fizzy when you're doing intensive audit log forensics. It took me a while to convince my staff that their eyes would also hurt less if their screens weren't facing the windows. They were more worried about having their unguarded backs facing the door while they were poncing around on the interwebs. Baby steps.

  39. Corinne

    I'm old enough to have used CRT VDUs with PCs and I remember being automatically issued with an anti-glare device as a health & safety measure, as the reflections off the shiny screen were cited as a major cause of headaches.

    Roll on (mmmph to many to want to recall) years and we're back to shiny screens for computer work - is this another symptom of the modern trend of assuming all devices are used for entertainment rather than "real" work?

  40. Dave 62

    Get out of my head!

    It's true, I am in the matte camp!

    What's more when I get my films processed I often go for matte.

    To be honest I'm not sure it really matters. I guess my TV is matte though.. I think I prefer it that way.

    Come to think of it my laptop is pretty matte too. My phone on the other hand is gloss and I don't have a problem with it, but then I don't spend hours on end staring at it.

    Are gloss screens really all that ubiquitous? This laptop is all off a year and a bit old..

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read all this...

    On the M8536 Apple Cinema HD 23" (16:10 ration) I finally scrounged an ADC to DVI converter for.

    23" of matte gorgeousness which they will have to pry from my cold dead fingers, oh yes.

  42. woodelf

    Actually, glasses (spectacles) *are* usually "fuzzed up" or otherwise coated (at least in the US). Anti-glare coatings are a standard feature, in order to make driving at night much safer (as well as any other situations where there are bright lights, particularly in the dark). And the coatings they put on eyeglasses are generally optically clear, so it ought to be possible to do something similar on screens, though it might be much more expensive than the coatings they currently use (which are visible, if only barely).

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