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First glossy gaming monitors promise enhanced colors, more reflections

First glossy gaming monitors promise enhanced colors, more reflections

 February 17, 2022 at 5:14 pm   |     Author:   |     Technology  

Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz monitor.
Enlarge / Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz monitor.

While matte screens produce consistent, glare-resistant images in different lighting environments, glossy alternatives can provide a more vivid, colorful image in the right conditions. You can find glossy screens in everything from TVs to smartphones and general-purpose PC monitors. Glossy gaming monitors, though, haven’t been available. A small company called Eve plans to change that by making shiny versions of its two gaming monitors.

On Wednesday, Eve confirmed that it will make a glossy coating option available for two of its three 27-inch gaming monitors, the 4K 144 Hz Spectrum and QHD 280 Hz Spectrum (previously 240 Hz). The company did not confirm a price or release date.

Eve explained the difficulties behind making glossy displays. Despite what you may have seen on Reddit or YouTube, producing a good glossy screen is not as simple as removing a monitor’s anti-glare coating. Glossy displays also require changes to the LCD module’s polarizer filter, which controls the lightwaves.

“It took a bunch of convincing with the right people inside of LG Display to make this a reality,” Eve’s announcement said, adding that the changes meant that LG had to recalibrate its fully automated LCD assembly line and tweak the certification process. The process also meant that LG had to tune color performance and conduct durability testing. “It was not an easy task,” the company said.

Are glossy monitors better?

Gaming monitors use matte finishes because they’re much better at reducing glare. As explained by monitor-maker BenQ, matte screens use “plastic surfaces made of different polymers that undergo an etching process. Either chemical or mechanical, the etching creates an enormous number of grooves or indentations in the screen surface” that scatter light.

However, less light also means a darker screen. Matte screens can look less vivid than glossy screens, as anti-glare finishes have a dulling effect on contrast and color. Glossy screens, which use reflective glass or reflective polymers, don’t have this issue.

But because they’re more prone to glare, they can be difficult to use under certain lighting scenarios. So while a glossy screen can look more vibrant in favorable conditions, you may find yourself staring at your own reflection if your lighting situation is less than ideal. Some glossy screens have anti-glare treatments, but a matte display will always provide the best anti-reflection solution.

Glossy screens also tend to attract fingerprints and dust more than matte offerings.

The first glossy gaming monitors

TFTCentral tested out a pre-production sample of Eve’s glossy 4K 144Hz Spectrum panel and noted its sharper text and better overall image quality. The publication reported that the sub-pixels appear “sharper, clearer, and more easily distinguishable, removing the blurring and haziness of … [anti-glare] coating.”

TFTCentral also said the monitor has stronger colors and deeper blacks, improving perceived contrast. Measured contrast and color gamuts were the same between the glossy and matte versions of the monitor, however.

In December, YouTuber Dave2D also checked out a pre-engineering sample and compared the performance:

Matte (left) versus glossy (right) Spectrum monitor.
Enlarge / Matte (left) versus glossy (right) Spectrum monitor.

It’s important to note that Eve has had trouble delivering products in the past. Its crowdfunded Eve V PC launched in 2016 and saw years-long delivery times. However, Eve’s Spectrum gaming monitors launched in January 2020 through a new distributor, and shipment delays don’t seem to be nearly as extreme. An Eve representative told Ars Technica that “all the monitors have been shipped.”

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