What Is a Matte Display? Is It Better Than a Glossy Monitor?

Nobody likes interruptions when they’re watching their favorite shows, especially screen glare. So, if you find yourself struggling, a matte screen might be just the thing you need. But, what is a matte display? How does it work? And, should you consider buying one?

What Is a Matte Display?

Unlike a regular glossy display, a matte display comes with an anti-glare coating that helps minimize reflections on your screen. Since smooth surfaces such as glass or plastic reflect light evenly, they may have a harsh glare and interrupt your content.

To fix this, matte displays are made slightly coarse using mechanical and sometimes additional chemical processing. Their texture resembles paper or canvas, which helps scatter light around the point of reflection, effectively diffusing glare. As a result, it also helps reduce eye strain since you do not have to focus too hard on your screen to see through the glare.

That’s not to say that matte displays don’t reflect light at all; every surface does. They simply subdue the sharp glare and replace it with a more tolerable, muted reflection. Due to this, a matte screen can be viewed from any angle even if it’s in the way of direct sunlight—making it an ideal solution for family gatherings or movie marathons with friends.

The Problem With Matte Displays

As good as they are, matte displays come with some trade-offs. Since there is a coating on top of the screen, matte displays reduce the contrast and color saturation of your content. If you’ve ever applied a matte screen protector on your phone, you’ve seen this in action.


This limitation goes against the current industry trends of pursuing deeper blacks and more punchy colors. Also, depending on the number of layers added to the screen, the sharpness will be affected too.

4 Things to Consider Before Buying a Matte Display

Whether you should buy a device with a matte display depends entirely on the type of device and your specific use-cases. However, here are a few things to consider before you go shopping for a matte display.

1. Outdoor Usage

If you’re someone who uses their device, say, a laptop, outdoors regularly, then a matte display is a good pick for you. It’ll allow you to see your screen without glare, even if you’re sitting under direct sunlight. On the flip side, if your usage is limited to indoors and you can adjust the position of your device, say your TV, such that it doesn’t show any glares, you can give matte screens a pass.

2. Battery Life

An often overlooked benefit of matte screens is that they can help you save battery life. Since they are better at diffusing ambient light, they don’t require you to turn the brightness all the way up to see your screen clearly. Meaning, on top of better outdoor visibility, you’re also getting more battery life, so you can get more work done without reaching for the charger.

3. Picture Quality

Image quality is a big priority for many, especially movie buffs. And if you belong to that group of viewers, you’re better off sticking to a regular glossy screen and just closing the blinds when you watch something to avoid glare.

A matte screen will make deep blacks appear washed-out and colors less vibrant, resulting in a poorer viewing experience. Reading text on matte screens is also harder, especially at a distance. If you’re a gamer and are looking for a gaming monitor, the lower picture quality of a matte screen will interrupt your gameplay.

4. Fingerprint and Smudges

Matte screens are way better at resisting fingerprints than glossy ones. If you’re someone who likes to keep their device free from smudges and fingerprint marks—perhaps for your smartphone—it might be a good idea to cover up that display with a matte screen protector.

Matte vs. Glossy Monitor Displays

Matte Displays Glossy Displays
1. Screen Glare Glare-free viewing experience Prone to glare from indoor lights, the sun, or any other light source
2. Battery Life Diffuses glare, eliminating the need to increase screen brightness to view content. Hence, saving battery life. Requires you to increase screen brightness to see past glare. Hence, eats more battery life.
3. Picture Quality Diminishes picture quality, affecting color, contrast, and sharpness. The thicker the matte layer, the worse the picture quality. Preserves picture quality, producing accurate colors and contrast.
4. Fingerprint and Smudges Resists fingerprints and smudges, keeping the screen clean for longer. Prone to getting fingerprint marks and smudges.

Matte Displays Are Not for Everyone

If you work from home and attend heaps of Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings, a matte screen will be really useful to you. But if you spend a lot of your time watching shows and movies, it’s not worth it. Ultimately, it depends entirely on your lifestyle and use case whether a matte screen will be a worthwhile investment for you.

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