Matte vs Glossy gaming monitors: technology explained
If you're in the market for a gaming monitor, and you're looking for something with a little more pizzazz, we've got some good news: we're now offering our Spectrum monitors in both matte and glossy coatings! But what's the difference?
Why are matte monitors everywhere?
Allow me to begin with a brief explanation of what a matte coating is. If you're using a modern monitor reading this, chances are it has a matte coating. This is the most widely-used finish for IPS gaming monitors, as it scatters external light as it hits the surface of the display. Breaking up the light in this way reduces the intensity of reflections and as such makes them less likely to interfere with the image on the screen.
This layer, however, also affects the light emitted by the monitor itself. Because of this, the visible brightness is reduced, which also leads to slightly muted colors. A very close inspection will show that the individual pixels are slightly blurred, though the image is still clear.
Above: showing improved text sharpness and image Quality (Source: Dave2D)
Should I choose a matte monitor?
To achieve a matte effect, manufacturers apply an anti-glare (AG) film to the monitor's screen during the panel production process. This AG film diffuses light that hits the surface of the screen, resulting in reduced glare and improved visibility against directly lit light sources. In effect, it minimizes distractions by diffusing reflections and is ideal when you have little control over the lights in your environment.
Improved perceived contrast and colors (Source: Dave2D)
The glossy benefits
A glossy monitor is coated with a layer of clear plastic during the manufacturing process, which appears as a much shinier surface. This allows the panel lights to transparently pass through the screen, resulting in more vibrant colors, deeper blacks, and sharper content.
LCD Basics /j-display.com
One of the reasons why there are no glossy gaming monitors on the market is because of the amount of additional R&D and factory recalibration required. In our case, it requires LG to re-calibrate its fully automated LCD assembly line, but also changes to the certification process, tuning color performance, and conducting durability testing, it was not an easy task.
Above: Text clarity and sharpness comparison – zoomed in on a normal font of 11-point size (Source: TFTCentral)
Improved Perceived Contrast and Colours
The biggest benefit of a glossy monitor is that it provides a truer representation of the colors you're trying to display (especially blacks!). If color accuracy and contrast are important to you - whether for gaming, graphic design, or other professional use - then a glossy monitor may be a better choice.
However, just like any other technology, there are trade-offs to consider based on your use case. Because glossy monitors reflect light without dispersing, they can appear to be more distracting in brightly lit environments (i.e it's more mirror-like compared to matte). If you often find yourself working or playing games in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lights, you may want to stick with a matte finish.
Above: Visual demonstration showing the difference in reflections (Source: Dave2D )
Some gamers will prefer the look and feel of a matte monitor, while others will prefer the increased clarity of a glossy monitor. So, it really comes down to personal preference, which is why we let you choose your own coating when you buy a Spectrum monitor.
The glossy coating is something we are very familiar with - from TVs and mobile devices. However, it has not been applied to gaming monitors until the Dough Spectrum. The implementation requires recalibration of the production line that gaming manufacturers are seemingly not ready to commit to. The beauty of our crowd development, though, is that provided there is enough demand for it, we are here to make it happen. And we did. After extensive research on reflections, we had the amazing opportunity to work on an exclusive glossy project with our display manufacturing partner, LG Displays. In December, we probed your interest in a glossy screen and got your strong support to make it. In February, we officially confirmed that we will be offering glossy coating variants to our Spectrum line-up. Finally, we began shipping the first units out to our customers in July.
If you're still undecided whether or not a glossy monitor is right for you, check out the detailed third-party reviews comparing the differences.
If you're interested, grab a glossy or matte Spectrum gaming monitor to immerse yourself fully into the game-changing Spectrum experience.