Friday, August 10, 2007

The Glossy Screens

I was really looking forward to the new iMac and want one badly (2 actually). One of the things I was most excited about was the new, glossy screens. There was one single phrase that sold me on it - true blacks. I practically swooned over the idea of not having the gray they call black on the matte screen monitors.

But then I started seeing postings all over the internet about how terrible the glossy screens were - that they were totally unacceptable for professionals and that it was a vicious plot by Jobs to force pros into buying the much more expensive Mac Pros! And they had glare! Oh, the humanity! This didn't seem right so I started searching the web and found this article:
Dr. Mac: Rants & Raves - Glossy or Not? by Bob LeVitus. The good doc really knows his stuff and most important, he posted comparison photos.

One look at the large image of this and I knew I was right the first time. Look at the greater detail and depth - and blacks!!! Look how gray and washed out the matte screen on the bottom looks. I'm amazed at pros who say they can't use it, hell, I could color a comic book on a grayscale screen if I had to and know just what the printed version will look. And for someone who used CRT monitors for over a decade I have the feeling I'm going to laugh at what they call glare.

And Dr. Mac's pictures are on the older MacBook Pros from 2006, not of the newer iMacs. The MacBook Pros are made with a kind of polyester but the iMacs are actually high quality glass. Still, I'm going to head down to the local Apple store to look it over in person before spending the money on 2 of these babies.


dannyz said...

You are 100% correct. I have the new 24" iMac and yes, there is glare, but the screen is just gorgeous. I also have a 20" Apple Cinema Display and I'll let you guess which one I prefer -- yes, the new iMac. Like you said, people forget that CRTs have had glass screens for years and were considered far more accurate than any LCD out there because of color accuracy. The thing I like better than CRTs is that many CRTs had curved screens which meant that no matter how much you moved the screen around, if there was any lighting in the room, there would be a glare on some part of the screen (think of a curved mirror), but with the iMac's flat screen, it is very easy to position so that there is absolutely no glare on the screen.

- Very satisfied iMac owner!

Egor Kloos said...

Well for most professional users the glare isn't so much of a problem. It is the messed up colour saturation and high contrast the screen creates due to the darkened glass covering the LCD panel. This also makes calibrating very cumbersome. The plus side is that the glass doesn't effect the viewing of movies as much because the colour range is limited anyway (even HD format) and the contrast is high anyway.

KevinBBG said...

I have a more recent post that gives details on the new 20" screen and the fact is it's a cheap TN film 6 bit screen which looks darker at the top and lighter at the bottom. The average user might not even notice this but for graphic arts it's a deal breaker. And I can't afford the 24" screen.

Simon Montreal said...

Thanks for doing this article. I've read all the negative posts about the glossy screen, I've laughed at people who bought glossy screens, and I cursed Steve Jobs when he forced our hand with the aluminium iMac (which was to be my next upgrade to the trustworthy G5 of the last 3 years)

So I went to the Apple Store 24 hours after the presentation, and, frankly, I didn't feel overcome by it. The screen was so bright that it overpowered the glare, and tilting the screen helped quite a bit. Nothing like the curved CRT screens that we've grown accustomed to in the 80's (for which I had a Polaroid anti-glare screen!)

I stil haven't bought the iMac (still pondering on the free iPod deal until September 16th or waiting for Leopard... knowing that new iPods are coming out September 25th at Apple Expo) but I will. Now, the 20" monitor just seems wonderful to me, but again, that TF film is supposedly terrible compared to the past LCD panels used in the iMac.

Care about writing an article about that? I'd truly appreciate!!!!

KevinBBG said...

Simon - I wrote a follow up article after going to the Apple store to see it for myself:

It's not a glowing review. In fact I just came back from a second trip, just to be sure, and even the 24" glossy isn't as good as the 20" matte on the last white iMacs.

So I will definitely be buying a white one. The aluminum ones look better and are faster but when the rubber hits the road the screen is the most important aspect of a computer when you stare at it all day long.