All You Need to Know About Laptop Screens and LCD Panels

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All You Need to Know About Laptop Screens and LCD Panels

Quite often laptops are characterised by their performance features, such as the processor speed and hard drive storage capacity. When talking about laptop screens, the screen size is often the only specification mentioned, and users seem not to go into depth when it comes to choosing laptop screens. However, the laptop screen plays a major role in the performance of the computer. A good laptop screen allows the user to spend long hours in front of the laptop without straining the eyes. Moreover, a good screen can also be used in different kinds of situation, for instance, in sunlight as well as in the dark.

All modern laptops come equipped with LCD screens. By knowing the types of LCD panels and how they are used on laptops, you can opt for the best laptop screen available and significantly boost your laptop performance, as well as maintain your health. You can find replacement laptop screens and LCD panels for your laptop from high street electronics shops, but you can also shop for them from the comfort of your own home by browsing online auction sites, such as eBay.

Laptop Screen Types

All modern laptops come equipped with LCD screens. "LCD" stands for "liquid crystal display" and LCD screens contains liquid crystals that function like shutters, by either letting light pass through them or by blocking it. LCD delivers crisp images with true colours and precise picture quality. A typical LCD panel consists of five layers: a white backlight for illumination, polarising filters for aligning the light waves, an RGB filter for colours, liquid crystal cells, and yet another polarising filter. Laptop screens are divided into two types, based on the backlight technology used. If looking for a replacement screen for your laptop, you should know which technology your laptop requires, because they are not interchangeable.

Laptop Screens With CCFL Backlight

"CCFL" stands for "cold cathode fluorescent light" and this is an older backlight technology. This technology uses a fluorescent tube that is powered by an inverter. Generally, CCFL screens come with either one or two bulbs, named 1-CCFL and 2-CCFL, respectively. When looking for a new LCD-CCFL screen, you should pay attention to these details, because otherwise the screen might not work with your computer.

The 1-CCFL, also known as single backlight technology, is widely used on laptop screens. This type of screen contains one bulb, which lights the screen up, along with a pair of wires at the bottom and an inverter connector plugged into an inverter board. A 2-CCFL screen contains two bulbs as well as two inverter cables and inverter connectors. This backlight technology is used on laptops that have screens of 15.4 inches or larger.

Laptop Screens With LED Backlight

"LED" stands for "light-emitting diode" and such diodes are used in order to light up the laptop screen. At the bottom of the screen is the inverter, because most LED screens require them in order to work. The backlight power may also come through a flat ribbon cable or through a video connection if an inverter is not used. Compared to CCFL screens, LED screens consume less power and thus allow for longer battery life. Besides this, LED screens are thinner and lighter and heat up less than CCFL screens. If your laptop uses an LED backlight, it should be listed in your laptop specifications.

Comparison of CCFL and LED Laptop Screens

The two backlight technologies used in laptop screens are compared in the following chart. You can revise the main features of both backlight technologies and read about their features.

Backlight Technology

CCFL

LED

Acronym Explained

Cold cathode fluorescent light

Liquid crystal display

Essence

Fluorescent tube powered by an inverter

Light-emitting diodes

Structure

One or two bulbs, wires, and inverter

Diodes and power (inverter, flat ribbon cable, or video connection); no backlight cables

Features

Older technology, consumes more power

Newer technology, consumes less power, saves battery life; thinner and lighter screens

If you know the structure of the backlights used on laptop screens, it is easier for you to determine the type used on your laptop. However, you do not necessarily have to take your laptop apart in order to learn about the backlight technology, because this is usually detailed in its specifications.

Laptop Screen and LCD Panel Features

Besides the backlight technology used in the laptop screen, there are other features to consider. These include contrast ratio, viewing angle, response time, brightness, native resolution, and screen size.

Laptop Screen Contrast Ratio

When looking for a new laptop screen, you should always consider its contrast ratio, because this has an important role in picture quality. The contrast ratio is a comparison of the brightest (white) with the darkest (black) pixels, and it is expressed with two numerals. These numbers show how many bright pixels there are, compared to dark pixels. The larger the first number, the better the contrast ratio and the more vivid the images on the screen. The minimum contrast ratio you should consider is 350:1, while contrast ratios from 500:1 and up are considered to be good.

Laptop Screen Viewing Angle

The laptop screen viewing angle gives you information about the locations from which you can view the screen. The wider the viewing angle, the more people can see it at once, especially from the sides. If you are not likely to have to view the laptop from the side, then a viewing angle of 110 degrees is adequate. If you intend to view the screen with a group of people, then it is best to opt for a viewing angle of 160 degrees. You should also know that the colour intensity drops if an LCD screen is viewed from the side. Therefore, look for models that use special technologies that align the patterns and make viewing from the side easier.

Laptop Screen Response Time

The laptop screen response time refers to the amount of time that is required for the panel pixels to turn from completely black to completely white and then back again. The response time is measured in milliseconds (ms) and the less time it takes, the better. If the response time is a large number, then the response is slow. The minimum recommended response time is between 25 and 17 ms. If your laptop comes equipped with a digital video card, choose a screen with the response time of 16 ms or lower. With slow response times, you may also encounter latency that blurs images on the laptop screen. Latency, also known as ghosting, is caused by voltage that temporarily leaks from energised elements on the display to neighbouring elements that are not energised.

Laptop Screen Brightness

The brighter the laptop screen, the easier it is for you to see it. High brightness is especially important if you use your laptop in direct sunlight. If you typically use your laptop in darker rooms, then a high brightness level may not be the best option for you, because it can strain your eyes. Moreover, if the brightness is higher, the side viewing angle also tends to be lower. Brightness is measured in candelas per square metre or in nits. The brightest models can provide about 450 nits.

Laptop Screen Native Resolution

The native resolution of a laptop screen refers to its actual measurement. The native resolution is expressed in pixels, in vertical and horizontal order, respectively. For best performance, opt for high resolution screens that have more pixels on them. The more pixels displayed on the screen, the sharper the image.

Laptop Screen Size

If you are looking for a replacement laptop screen, then its size is already determined by the laptop model you have. However, if you are buying a new laptop, then you can choose the screen size. The screen size expresses its diagonal length, measured across the screen. If you mainly need the laptop for use on the go, it may be best to choose a small screen. The smallest ones measure about 11 inches. For home use, you can opt for a bigger screen, from 15.4 inches and up. If you are concerned about your health, you may want to choose a larger screen that allows you to see the text on the screen with ease, but you can also increase the text font size if necessary. If you buy a laptop with a larger screen, you can mount it on a stand and create a workstation at home. Ideally, the screen should be at your eye level.

Buying Laptop Screens and LCD Panels on eBay

If you are looking for laptop screens on eBay, you should first know what type of backlight technology you need, because the CCFL and LED technologies cannot be used on laptops that are not designed for them. Most laptop screens use the CCFL technology, so if you need one with an LED backlight, you should include "LED" in your keywords. You can search by typing the relevant keywords into the search box that you can easily locate at the top of any eBay page. After you receive the initial search results, you may click on related searches if these seem more relevant to your query. You may further narrow down the results by sorting them by price or auction time, or by selecting the item condition.

From the detailed item listing, read about the screen's features, such as its size, brightness, resolution, and contrast ratio, because these give you information about the picture quality. If anything remains unclear, feel free to contact the seller and ask. A top-rated seller with high ratings and positive feedback is likely to be able to give you answers quickly.

Conclusion

The screen is a very important part of a laptop, because its quality determines the picture quality, which in turn may affect how much strain it puts on your eyes. Modern laptops are all equipped with LCD screens. These liquid crystal displays incorporate five layers, one of them being made up of liquid crystals. LCD screens are always accompanied with a backlight, and this can be either CCFL or LED, depending on the model. The technologies differ by their working principles and structure and are not interchangeable, so you need to know which one your laptop works with. LED backlight technology is newer, and it consumes less power, thus saving battery life. LCD panels with LED backlight are also thinner and lighter.

Other features you should consider when buying a laptop screen have to do with its image quality. Consider the contrast ratio, brightness, viewing angle, native resolution, and response time in order to get the best product that does not strain your eyes, especially if you work long hours with the laptop.

 
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