Apple MacBook Review: Part 1

Glare (Glossy) Vs. Non-Glare (Matte)

There is more misinformation about the merits and limitations of glossy versus matte displays than any other topic in notebook computing. Let’s start with the basics that everyone agrees with: glossy screens have more vivid color and contrast while matte screens are better at rejecting reflections from ambient light.

A matte LCD display has an anti-glare coating and waffled surface that diffuses and scatters ambient light. This minimizes the reflections that occur, but as a result, the screen can be easier to read across a wider range of environments. The scatter of the light has its own consequences. Diffused light from ambient light as well as the backlight will lighten the black tone and make the screen surface look hazy and washed out.

A glossy screen does not use any diffusion at all. Instead, a standard polarizer allows light to freely pass through the filter. Since there is no scatter of the backlight, colors are more intense and accurate, and blacks are also deeper. However, the lack of ambient light diffusion means that surrounding light can result in noticeable reflections.

In controlled lighting environments, there is very little difference in color accuracy between the two types of monitors when using a colorimeter. In uncontrolled lighting, the glossy screen has better color accuracy except for the parts of the screen with bright reflections. The matte screen has less of a difference in the image, but has poorer color accuracy due to the diffusion of the light producing haze over a larger area.

Fans of matte displays can point out that top-of-the-line desktop monitors for digital photography such as the HP DreamColor LP2480zx or Eizo ColorEdge CG301W are matte designs. Again, given that color quality is dependent on the LCD panel and backlighting technology more than the polarizer, monitors such as the LP2480zx are arguably among the best of the best. On the other hand, fans of glossy displays can point out that flagship digital mammography displays such as the Eizo RadiForce GS520 are designed with glossy screens because the superior sharpness (MTF) over matte screens allows radiologists to better detect more subtle changes in the breast and identify breast cancer at earlier stages. 

So, when it’s comes to making a life or death decision, glossy wins.

Clearly, it would have been nice if Apple continued to give users the option for glossy or matte screens depending on their anticipated work environments. However, in the interest of saving money and reducing inventory expenses, Apple chose to go glossy. In the previous generation, glossy screens were outselling matte screens by a factor of 10 to 1.

  • mrubermonkey
    My spider sense is telling me that Tom's is desperate to bring in more readers with the release of this article, which is bound to conger up the same epic comment wars regarding Mac vs. PC of Mac articles past.
  • mrubermonkey
  • curnel_D
    Yawn. Basically, you were just explaining a normal notebook that costs more than it should. It's slightly thinner by the standards in it's class but is 0.38" really a big deal? (No.) The famed apple screens can be outperformed and sometimes for cheaper if you shop around, upgradability is shaky at it's very best, and it is generally more expensive than everything in it's class.
    Then of course, you list the Mac OS X as an improvement over the PC's. That's where almost every single person will find error in your article. It is nothing more than a watered down version of more powerful unix/linux OS's. Anyone who has work to do, wont use this. Yawn.
  • ravenware
    I had three options, all of which would require considerable amounts of time. One was to reformat the HDD and start with a fresh install of Windows Vista. It’d be tried and true, but it was still going to take a lot of time to redo the whole thing. I could switch entirely to Linux. I had already switched from IRIX to Linux several years ago, so I was already comfortable managing and troubleshooting Linux systems. Unfortunately, I still needed a system capable of running the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office. Open source alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite didn’t have the same quality or capabilities that I needed, while OpenOffice lacked the same multi-core computation capabilities that Excel offers for some of my more complex spreadsheets. The third option was to try switching to a Mac.

    When Core i7 desktop processors were available in greater quantities, I’d rebuild my Windows PC then.

    I was too careful, too savvy, and too poor to switch to a Mac.

    This seems rather illogical. Reformatting the drive wouldn't cost anything but time and if your too poor then why spend 1300+ on a new computer? You would also still spend time and possibly more money on installing your apps.
    You also spent time and money on upgrade options.

    Who is "We"? We is used often in the article, I thought this article was one mans account/review on switching over to a mac.

    I would like to know more about what you actually do for a living and what you really use your computers for too.

    I and the majority of the Toms hardware readers are diehard windows users too and I can not afford to pick up a $1300 laptop to see if I like it or not. So I am very interested to see how this unfolds.
  • ravenware
    Oh yeah, why would the need to reformat your computer lead to building a new core i7 machine?
  • one-shot
    ..The scent of Mac-ness and the sense of power that comes with it. Maybe spending twice as much isn't such a bad idea after all.............
  • marraco

    I found lots of spam "comming" from my computer. Even when I had run Linux -Live CD only- for a month.

    Headers are easy to fake, so, are a common spam trick, to hide real spam origin.

    By the way, there are some easy fix you could had used:

    1- Use virtual machines to access Internet.
    2- Use utilities as Norton Ghost for fast "formatting". In minutes your computer restore a partition image ready to use with all your software installed.

    I don't want to hurt your feelings, but it looks like you spent an enormous effort to justify pay for an overpriced Mac OS (overpriced because the obsolete hardware you had buy does not wort a penny, so you are paying for the OS only).
  • Pei-chen
    Reads like crap only Anand himself would have written. You went Mac because someone better (a hacker, virus writer, whoever) defeated you? That's like saying you went gay because someone get the girl you're after.

    BTW, where are the reviews of web based Java game we were promised? You got a Mac so you're not reviewing SC2 that's for sure.
  • chaosgs
    Why would anyone "switch" to a mac, when pc will do everything you need for half the price. Everything you mentioned in this article, all pc's (vista pc's) in the world can do at half the price.

    As for security, i don't need security on my computer, i NEVER get any viruses, and if i did Norton or avg would take care of all that.

    Mac aint got shit on pc.
  • arkadi
    It more like an opinion (commercial stile) not a review. It a good article with all the specs and the pictures, but it far from being objective. And the suggestions that was made here...If you writing a review, you can't emphasize the superiority of your product on expanse of other (Microsoft in this case).