Picture: MacBook Pro Glossy vs. Matte FIGHT!

When Apple unveiled its new aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro last October, we were impressed by the hardware. The unibody construction, massive buttonless glass trackpad and Nvidia chipset were all things that added up to an impressive piece of kit.

One thing that we weren’t sure of right away was the glass-covered display. While we’ve come to accept that today’s LCD displays, particularly on notebooks, are mostly of the glossy variety, Apple took it a step further with a glass sheet on top of what already appears to be a glossy LCD screen. The affect is an unsettling double-reflection from a display that’s mirror-like.

We’ve spent a considerable amount of time with the full range of Apple notebook displays, from the matte and glossy from the previous generation MacBook Pro to the “glassy” unibody MacBook. And we’ll be the first say that the aesthetic designs of the new unibody MacBooks are worthy of a museum, but in terms of usability, the glass-covered screen is a pain to work with even when indoors.

Clearly, Apple has heard our cries and for that reason is now offering a matte option for its new 17-inch MacBook Pro, which will probably spread to the 15-inch version. But maddeningly, what used to be a no-charge option for a matte display now costs $50. No one’s happy with that, but Apple probably knows that those who care about having a matte display would be willing to pay.

Engadget got its hands on one of the first 17-inch MacBook Pros with the matte display. Check out the picture below for a side-by-side comparison with a 15-inch unibody.
If it weren’t immediately obvious, the matte screen has the aluminum border around the frame, which some feel looks a little odd. I’ve gotten used to the all-black borders, but Jane, our news editor, said that the notebook is even better with the matching trim. Even if Macs don’t interest you, Apple has a strong influence on the notebooks that PC makers design, so sound off with your opinion in the comments!

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  • tayb
    I will always take a Matte display over a glossy display until it is no longer an option. Glossy displays look great IF you have good lighting but lighting is almost NEVER in your control. At the office with the fluorescent lighting, in the classroom with the fluorescent lighting, or outdoors the glossy display is awful at any brightness setting besides 100%.

    Wish Apple would have offered the matte display on the 15" Pro. As much as I like matte displays I'm not about to spend $3,000 just to have one with an Apple logo on it.
  • grieve
    I have never understood why notebooks have gone towards the glossy finish. I too prefer a matte finish.
  • maaksel
    Glossy >> Matte