A Surface Book with a Matte Screen?

I’ve never been a fan of glossy screens. I have been cursing at Apple the day the introduced glossy screens on their iMac lineup, and then on their MacBook Pro line too. Because what Apple does will eventually—and have since then been—copied by the rest of the industry.

So we now have amazingly color-accurate screens that are also mirror like and riddled with distracting light reflections. Everywhere.

Of course, this is a totally subjective opinion. Glossy screens are not worse or better per se. But I can’t stand them, as it makes seeing what’s on screen much more difficult for me, with my already bad eyesight. And what’s making things worse is that we almost have no choice anymore: it’s glossy or nothing. Even more so when you’re looking for non 16:9 laptops.

In that regard, the Surface Book 2’s screen is very reflective, much more than, say, my 15” retina MacBook Pro was. Since I’ve started using the Surface, it has been a constant problem for me. So I did the same thing I did with my glossy MacBook Pro, I put a matte screen protector that, once again, did its magic.

I can now see what’s on screen, without watching my damn bald-bearded head, or without having a gazillion light reflections all over. And since I’ve installed it, I feel like I can really fully appreciate this great laptop.

Any drawbacks?

Sure, all magic has its price be it in a fantasy story, or in technology.

First, it is not as matte as a true matte screen can be. All light reflections are blurred, making them much less perceptible and much less distracting but there are still some reflections.

Depending the brand and the quality there will be a loss in sharpness (the most expensive brands not always being the best, btw: search online for user reviews to decide what model will do the job for your specific laptop). But this is not something I really care—it is not that bad, and I use my laptop to write, not to do photo or video—and after a few hours using it is not something that I was noticing anymore.

Then, there is the painful job of having to put the damn thing on the screen itself. And saying it’s a pain is a gross understatement.

If air bubbles can easily be removed afterward, the smallest speck of dust stuck underneath will be more than noticeable, and once it’s there, it’s incredibly hard to remove, if at all. So, exactly like with my MacBook Pro, I’ve found myself stuck with a few of those specks. Most of them only visible on a dark and clean background (see picture below), all of them on the sides.

Another problem with the model I ordered, was that it was a tight fit. There was maybe one or two millimeters margins to align it within the borders of the screen. So, having a bad eyesight, of course I ended up slightly mis-aligning it, a whole side resting on the bezel’s sharp corner and poorly stuck on the screen. Not wanting to risk getting more specks of dust, I’ll let it as it is for the time being. But it is still ugly as hell, and a constant reminder of the poor job I did. More margins, a slightly smaller protector, would have prevented that.

There is the extra cost. Sure, adding 20 to €30 is not much on a 2-3K€ laptop, but it’s still extra money to spend on something that should have been provided by the manufacturer, at least as an option at the moment of purchase, and that would then have been cleanly applied in a factory.

And what about the Surface Pen?

Microsoft has managed to make an amazing stylus. After years of using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, as far as handwriting is concerned, I prefer using Microsoft’s—not for drawing. It’s fine but I’d still prefer using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil also because of the amazing drawing apps available under iOS.

Back to handwriting: the screen protector does change the way the tip of the pen slides. It’s still very good, but I’ll probably end up testing Microsoft own alternative pen tips just to see if I can get back the original great feeling I was getting—another €20 expense, just for the tips.

Thanks NASA, for this amazing picture of Pluto.

And here is the screen protector I ordered (too few models are available on Amazon FR, much more on Amazon US).

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