While traditional desktop computers afford users the option of installing a wide variety of monitors, your laptop computer displays its graphical user interface on its built-in screen, one whose size corresponds to that of the computer itself. Among the options you have when you purchase a laptop is the choice between a glossy or matte screen.
Glossy vs Matte Screens
When you order prints of photographs, you have the option to choose between glossy or matte finishing; in other words, photos that either have or lack sheen. Similarly, laptop screens can be either shiny, like the body of a car, or matte, like a piece of paper. If you're unsure as to whether a given laptop screen is glossy or matte, turn the computer off and look into the screen.
Just as is the case when you order glossy photographs, a glossy computer screen results in the images that display on your screen having greater depth, sometimes even appearing to be three-dimensional. Although you may be able to see them in slightly greater detail on a matte screen, the sheen of a glossy screen gives definition to different parts of images, making some appear to come out of the screen, while others appear to sink into it.
Glossy screens make colors seem deeper, richer and more differentiated from one another. To understand why this is, think about a red delicious apple versus a piece of construction paper in the same color. The shiny, wax coating on the apple make it appear to be a brighter, more vivid color. Looking at an image or watching a video on a laptop screen results in an enhanced color experience compared to the same image or video on a matte screen.
One complaint some users have about glossy laptop screens is that in certain situations --- bright rooms, for example --- the screen's sheen prevents them from seeing the image on it at all. If you have a glossy laptop screen, remedy this problem by pulling the screen closer to your face so that it comes slightly forward from vertical. This allows you to see your images without any problems.