Which Display Is Better For a Laptop – Matte or Glossy?

Matte vs glossy laptop screens has been a long-standing debate. Is matte better than glossy or the other way round?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, matte screens are easier on the eye than glossy but at the cost of dullness. Matte screens are also great for gaming.

Glossy screen on the other hand also known as “shiny” screen looks much better and richer than matte displays.

Choosing the right screen for you doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s everything you need to know about matte and glossy laptop screen types.

Differences Between Matte and Glossy Displays

To put it simply matte displays are electronic displays that have a layer of light-scattering and anti-reflective coating on them.

The result of this coating gives matte displays an anti-reflective surface but at the cost of reduced colour vibrancy and poor contrast.

In short, you get a dull laptop display. But at the same time, you eliminate reflections and reduce glare which can pose a serious problem for your eye. Matte displays are also marketed as anti-glare displays.

Related: 4K (UHD) Vs 1080p (Full HD) Laptops: Which One Is Worth It?

Glossy displays, on the other hand, do not have light-scattering and anti-reflective coating on it but rather has a more “glossy” or “shiny” finish to it.

Glossy displays have much better contrast and colour vibrancy than matte displays. This greatly improves image quality – especially in when it comes to photos – and video quality.

Bright colours appear bright and dark colours appear dark. The downsides of glossy displays are their reflective surfaces and glare.

matte display
Matte Display

Pros and Cons Of Matte Displays

Pros

Reduced Amount Of Glare

If you look at screens every day then you know what glare is and what it does to your eyes. Glare is a visual sensation caused by very bright and uncontrolled lights. And laptop displays can be a source of these kinds of lights.

Looking at the screen all day can cause discomfort, eye strain and in serious cases macular degeneration. The light-scattering and anti-reflective coating significantly reduce the amount of glare.

This makes it possible to stare at the display for a very long period of time without suffering from a lot of discomfort as compared to non-matte displays.

Related: Tech Consumer Guide Laptop Finder

And your eyes stay healthy. Keep in mind that glare is not eliminated but rather reduced. This also makes matte screens perfect for gaming because you will definitely stare at the screen for a long period of time.

Does Not Easily Attract Fingerprints

Matte displays are not fingerprint magnets. The coating basically prevents the display from attracting fingerprints or smudges making the display look very clean.

Also, the less amount of fingerprints, dirt and smudges on the screen the more you will be able to see the screen clearly.

Eliminates Screen Reflections

Reflections can be a pain in the ass especially outdoors and bright rooms. A very reflective display basically makes it impossible to use because instead of seeing what is going on in the display you are seeing someone’s reflection.

Related: TN Vs IPS Displays In Laptops: Which One Is Better?

Matte displays eliminate screen reflections making it perfect to be used in bright light and in some cases outdoors. The matte finish or layer scatters the light rays rather than reflecting it back to you making it almost impossible for screen reflections to occur.

Cons

Dull Display

Because of the matte finish, colours on matte displays are very dull. Poor contrast and colour vibrancy.

Image quality and video quality will not be the best because of the dull nature of the display.

Related: Are Touchscreen Laptops Good? Should You Buy One Or Not

The scattering of light by the finish not only eliminates reflections but also interferes with the light given off by the display affecting the quality of images and videos.

You could think of it this way, a highway that has cars moving in their respective lanes is going to look much better than if the cars run into each other.

You Will Rarely Find Matte Touchscreens

If you are looking for a matte touchscreen laptop it will be next to impossible to find one.

First of all, matte screens are not as smooth as glossy screens making swiping a difficult thing. Secondly, they do not respond to touch as well as glossy or glass displays.

Finally, there is not enough demand of matte touchscreens in the market. There are laptops with matte touchscreens but they are very difficult to find.

glossy display
Glossy Display

Pros and Cons of Glossy Displays

Pros

Very Rich Display

Put a glossy and matte display side by side and you will quickly notice how rich in colour glossy displays are too matte displays.

Glossy displays have high colour accuracy, colour reproduction, vibrant colours and high contrast.

Everything looks so good on glossy displays. The quality of images is high and movies are just a pleasure to watch.

Bright colours are bright and dark colours are dark. Glossy displays do not have a matte finish – which makes the light scattered interfere with the light rays coming from the monitor – dulling colours on the monitor.

In short, you get better colour saturation and aesthetic appeal.

Cons

Screen Reflections

Glossy displays are very reflective. Their reflective nature almost makes it impossible to use outdoors and in bright rooms.

The only way to deal with their reflective nature or reflections forming is to get an anti-glare/anti-reflective cover or tilting the display at an angle.

There is no coating or layer on the display that scatters the light rays but rather smooth glass.

Fingerprint Magnet

Glossy displays attract fingerprints a lot. Fingerprints are easily seen because the display reflects light illuminating your fingerprints.

Too many fingerprints can make your screen look dirty and also make it difficult to see part of your display.

Related: A Simple Guide To AMD Ryzen Naming Scheme

You need to clean the display often to keep it clean and free from fingerprints, smudges and dirt.

Glare

Because there is no layer to protect your eyes from glare you will suffer from discomfort, eye strains, headaches and macular degeneration.

You won’t be properly protected from these effects when you use such a display for prolonged use.

A study performed in 2008 found that glares and disturbances from light reflections on glossy screens can be the cause of mild to severe adverse health effects (eye strain, headaches and photosensitive epileptic episodes).

To sum it all up, glossy displays are not good for eye unless you have an anti-glare protector.

Which One Should You Get – Matte or Glossy?

Now you know the pros and cons of each type of display now come to the most important question, should you get a matte or glossy laptop display.

This depends on what you do and your preferences.

Matte displays are great for outdoor use and bright rooms. They are also great if you are the type of person who likes to stare at screens all day, because of the reduced glare they come with keeping your eyes healthy.

Glossy displays, on the other hand, is perfect for indoors or rooms with the right amount of light that does not cause reflections on the screen.

Also, if you are in photography, movies or work dealing with colours in general glossy displays are a good choice.

They provide much better colour accuracy, reproduction, saturation, contrast and vibrancy.

You will be much more immersed looking at photos or watching videos on a glossy display than a matte display.

Another thing is that glossy displays with touchscreens are much more common than matte touchscreens something you should keep in mind.

The Takeaway

Choosing the two shouldn’t be a difficult thing especially if you know what you are going to use the laptop for.

I personally prefer a matte display because I use my laptop for long periods of time and even with the reduced amount of glare, I still get eye strain fatigue, just imagine what would have happened to my eyes if it was a glossy screen.

These kinds of things will help you choose the type of screen you want.

Also, if you work with colours, glossy displays are a good option.

In addition, if you are planning to get a glossy display getting an anti-reflective cover will help eliminate screen reflections.

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