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John Paul Cook

Matte vs. glossy

Here's a great article explaining matte vs. glossy: Scroll down toward the bottom of the page and look at the two photos. Do a mouseover to see what happens to a glossy display (top) and a matte display (bottom) when the blinds in the room are opened. The difference in the matte display is barely perceptible. Why people who actually do work on a computer would want a glossy display eludes me.

Notice that the article is about Mac hardware with a WUXGA (1920x1200) display. Some of you may remember that I've been looking for a WUXGA laptop. For those readers thinking, no, he couldn't have, he didn't, did he? Yes, I did. I ordered a custom built Macbook Pro with an SSD and a 17" matte screen. I had to pay $50 extra for matte. Worry not, I will install Windows 7 on the machine and use a real external mouse.

I could have purchased a 17" HP with an older, first generation i7 processor for a lot less. But it wouldn't have been truly portable. The HP is much heavier with terrible battery life and a power brick the size and mass of a real brick.

Published Tuesday, July 5, 2011 9:08 PM by John Paul Cook

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AaronBertrand said:

My first MacBook Pro (17") had the matte screen. I went with the glossy on my current 15" model to keep the expense report to a minimum (added an SSD and capped out RAM), and I'm not really sad about it since I am rarely using it in a place where lighting makes it worse. I find that the image quality on the glossy screen is far superior to matte, as long as there are no reflection issues. That all said, I am not sure whether the next MacBook I buy will have a matte or glossy screen.

So many people think that buying a Mac is like spitting in the face of Microsoft. I still run Windows on every Mac I own, so I'm not sure why it's a slight against Microsoft that I refuse to fund companies like Dell and HP - who make junk laptops that don't last. They also complain that Mac hardware is so expensive, but it's not if you amortize the cost of one MacBook over its lifetime, compared to the cost of 2 or 3 other laptops you'd go through in the same amount of time. In fact the same is true for desktops. I bought a dual quad-core Mac Pro in 2008, loaded it up with 32 GB of RAM after-market, and it is still running like a champ. Whereas the last two Dell Precisions I've owned, both of which were less powerful and cost MORE than the Mac Pro (even with all that memory), lasted less than a year.

I am not apologetic about this at all. Like I said, I'm still running Windows, and actually both flavors of Office, so Microsoft should be happy that people like me buy Macs and run both operating systems. We're actually *adding* to their bottom line by doing so.

Enjoy your new Mac. I don't have to tell you that, because I know you will. :-)

July 6, 2011 1:43 PM

fintan said:

I have owned a mac or two over the years, once while working for microsoft. Im loyal to what works, not a particular label.

At the time, mac book pro's had a perfect matte screen, and was boarderline affordable.

Now though they are just not economical.

basic 15"mac with slow 500gb 5400rpm hard disk and 3 gigs of ram will set you back 1800 bucks. If you open it to put in a 3rd party ssd you void  your warranty!

This refusal to allow users to upgrade basic components has pushed me back to the pc world.

i got a dell vostro laptop with stock hd and ram(2gb).

i then purchased a crucial M4 SSD and 8GB ram from crucial.

I got a 23" monitor and a nice keybaord and mouse.

And i still had change left over from 1800 bucks for a nice dinner with my good lady!

Sure the mac is exceptionally well built, but its now style over substance, with the refusal to allow user upgrades.

Also, from a photo editing perspective, glossy screens are a big no no, they saturate colors, which although look good on screen, are not a realistic representation of the actual colors in the image. that, along with the reflection issue means i will only ever buy matte screens.

July 7, 2011 4:29 AM

AaronBertrand said:

What difference does a voided warranty make, for a product that simply doesn't break? Plus if you need a warranty repair for the screen or main board they're no going to give a crap if you swapped out your HDD. Now, if you mess up the controller while installing the SSD...

July 7, 2011 2:06 PM

fintan said:

<quote>What difference does a voided warranty make, for a product that simply doesn't break?</Quote>

And what good are smoke dectors as my house has never caught fire?

my first MBP broke. screen died. if i had just purchased a new MBP, replaced the SSD and then the Screen died then id be quite peeved off. also, remember MBP's were plagued with graphics card issues where they simply burned out after 12-18 months.

if im paying that kind of premium i want to be able to bring it back if/when it dies.

July 7, 2011 2:41 PM

fintan said:

<Quote>Plus if you need a warranty repair for the screen or main board they're no going to give a crap if you swapped out your HDD.</Quote>

Apple wont accept it. Worth chancing your arm sure, as its a 2k piece of kit, but apple are notorious for not accepting anything thats remotely modded. thats why they dont make the HD user replacable.

July 7, 2011 2:43 PM

AaronBertrand said:

Well, of course. But if you smoke in bed and like to light off fireworks on the roof, that smoke detector is much more of a security blanket than if you don't do those things. What I was saying is: they don't break because they're built better. Ask any person who has owned a Mac, and especially those of us that own both, and they will tell you the same thing.

Actually, I did have a graphics card go on a 17" MacBook Pro a few years ago (Matrox issue, not Apple). They covered it, including free overnight shipping in both directions, even though I was past warranty *and* I had swapped out their RAM for after-market RAM from OWC. When I bought a machine with an SSD last year, I gave the 17" to my sister, who is still using it to this day as her daily grind machine (she creates and edits videos). No issues. Had the 17" blown the video card at a time when it was possible / feasible to replace with SSDs, I suspect they would look the other way anyway. Just because their warranty states something doesn't mean they're out to screw every user. Do you have an actual documented experience where they failed to honor their product because you've changed some unrelated component?

My experience over the last 7 or 8 years is that, yes, you can get the same power in a machine from Dell, HP etc. and save a few bucks. But I will bet you yours dies (or is replaced) before mine. And I bet on average you will have more calls to manufacturer support than I will. I've had one total (the one mentioned above) across 3 MacBook Pros, two iMacs and a Mac Pro. And they dealt with it wonderfully. If I'm really concerned about warranty (I'm not, as I'll grow out of this MBP before it breaks), I'll spend the extra money on the Apple components. Bottom line is I want my computer to last; if I'm going to spend the same amount of money I'd rather spend it on one machine than three (because then I have to factor in all the time it takes to migrate, or the down time I have while Dell is fixing their junk again).

July 7, 2011 7:18 PM

John Paul Cook said:

I paid for the Mac with my Fidelity Investments American Express card, so I get an extra year of warranty from American Express and 2% cash back.

July 7, 2011 11:33 PM

Faiz Saleem said:

God knows why I'm posting at this point, but this is ridiculous: Apple has instructions on how to upgrade their HDs on the MBP. How can it void the warranty? (It does state the warranty voids if you mess up, which is understandable)

April 13, 2013 1:07 PM

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a database and Azure specialist in Houston. He previously worked as a Data Platform Solution Architect in Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse currently studying to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Connect on LinkedIn

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