While the English language has a lot of possible wiggle room in defining an item to match a word, the paper companies seem to be off in their own dictionary. Maybe there has always been this problem, but that doesn't mean I accept it. It's really not difficult to find common ground, and I don't find "buy a box and try it" a logical response to determining the surface.
Originally Posted by Silverhead
Matte is not semi-matte. Matte is essentially non-reflective, semi-matte is somewhat. Kodak has from time to time called the N surface "smooth lustre."
Using a letter designation like Kodak does removes all doubt what a surface is. You know what it is, from paper to paper.
Ilford's Pearl, BTW, pretty well matches to Kodak's E, "fine grain, lustre." It's a nice surface, a little glossier than N. I used it a lot - can I say this here? - in inkjet printing.