Buying Laptop Screens and LCD Panels for Business Use

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Buying Laptop Screens and LCD Panels for Business Use
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Buying Laptop Screens and LCD Panels for Business Use

Replacing a defective laptop screen or LCD panel is a great way for businesses to save money since the alternative is to buy new laptops and monitors. The difficulty lies in identifying the correct replacement screen or panel since manufacturers generally prefer that people replace their devices completely. For this reason, it is often difficult to find information from the original equipment manufacturer about how to go about buying a replacement screen. In fact, often the only choice offered by OEMs is an expensive screen replacement done at a specialised service centre, which may not bear any savings at all.

The good news is that third-party screens and panels can be bought and installed without a major problem. The trick is knowing how to shop for a replacement screen or panel. The same information can also be used to buy a new monitor, or big screen for business purposes. One just has to know about a few specifications that are essential to finding the correct screen or panel, and a few features that are important in business and industrial use. LCD laptop screens and panels can be found at a select few specialised computer equipment stores, or more commonly, online.

Important LCD Screen and Panel Specifications

Fortunately for consumers, LCD screens are complicated and expensive enough to produce that there are not many 'fake', or low-quality screens, on the market. Third-party suppliers buy their screens from the same manufacturers that provide the screens to big companies like Toshiba and Samsung. This means it is fairly safe to buy a screen or panel based on its specifications alone, as long as the seller is established and has a good reputation.

The three specifications one needs to know in order to buy a screen or panel are the screen size, resolution, and light source type. These, along with the laptop model number which is printed on the bottom of a laptop, are enough to find the correct replacement screen. The screen model number can also be useful but is not strictly necessary if it is not given anywhere. Note that the laptop model alone is not enough information since many laptop models are sold with several possible screen sizes, resolutions, or even backlight types.

Screen Size

The screen size is measured diagonally, usually in inches. There is a wide range of sizes available, from 11.1 inches to 17 inches. The table below gives some common laptop screen dimensions, and the screen size as the diagonal measurement.

Laptop Width (inches)

Laptop Height (inches)

Screen Size (inches)

9.6

5.4

11.1

9.6

7.3

12.1

10.2

6.4

12.1

11.3

7.1

13.3

11.3

8.4

14.1

13.1

8.2

15.4

12

9

15

14.4

9

17

Note that it is important to be precise to the tenth of an inch. A 15-inch screen cannot replace a 15.4-inch screen. Also, in a few cases, it is necessary to check all the dimensions, not just the screen size. Notice that two different screens happen to have the same screen size of 12.1 inches. It is worth the extra effort of checking with the seller to confirm both height and width of the screen if necessary.

Resolution

The resolution of a screen or LCD panel refers to the number of pixels it can produce. On a working laptop, the screen resolution can be found by right-clicking on the desktop and clicking on "Screen Resolution". Those running an operating system other than Windows, can check their screen resolution with online tools.

If the laptop is not in working condition, it is necessary to take out the defective screen and check for a model number. The model number can then be looked up with the OEM to find its specifications, one of which is the native resolution. The laptop's manual might also have this information. When the resolution is not given in terms of the number of pixels on each side (as in 1366 x 768), it might be given as simply an abbreviation. The table below gives common abbreviations for different resolutions used in computers.

Abbreviation

Screen Resolution

SVGA

800 x 600

XGA

1024 x 768

SXGA

1280 x 1024

SXGA+

1400 x 1050

UXGA

1600 x 1200

QXGA

2048 x 1536

QSXGA

2560 x 2048

WXGA

1366 x 768

WXGA+

1280 x 800

WSXGA

1600 x 1024

WUXGA

1920 x 1200

WQSXGA

3200 x 2048

WQUXGA

3840 x 2400

The abbreviations starting with a 'W' are all widescreen resolutions. These abbreviations are standard in the industry, and are used by all manufacturers.

When choosing a new monitor, buyers should be aware that higher resolution is not necessarily better. Since text and images generally have fixed pixel sizes, a screen with more pixels actually shows these as smaller than they would appear at a low resolution. Unlike older CRT screens, LCD screens are not good at producing resolutions other than their native resolution. If small icons and text are a problem, lower resolutions are a better, and more affordable choice.

Light Source Type

Many people may not realise that the so-called LED screen is actually a type of LCD screen. Liquid crystal displays have to be lit up from behind in order for the crystal configuration to be visible. This is called backlighting, and there are two main ways that LCD screens are backlit. These are the CCFL LCD and the LED LCD.

CCFL LCD

The CCFL LCD uses fluorescent lights to backlight the liquid crystal display. This is the older type of LCD screen. It is less efficient than the LED LCD and uses an inverter. There are one-bulb and two-bulb CCFL LCD screens. Upgrading to an LED LCD screen is not usually possible because they use different connectors to the motherboard. However, some suppliers sell LED LCD screens with converters that replace the CCFL inverter. Be aware that there are risks involved with an upgrade like this one, and it could have problems working with the graphics processor. Also, there may be warranty issues with installing a screen not intended for a certain laptop model.

LED LCD

LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are longer-lasting, and more efficient than Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps. They are used to backlight many newer laptops. CCFL LCD and LED LCD screens have slightly different properties when it comes to displaying colours and images, especially in the areas of 'true blacks' and contrast.

When buying a new monitor, the best way to evaluate the colour capabilities of the screen is to actually watch a few different video types when possible. If shopping online, be sure to read reviews and consider the way the screen is to be used. For example, a matte screen, or anti-glare coating, is not as important in a darkened conference room as it is in an office with a big window.

Special Considerations for Businesses

Replacing a defective screen or panel is as simple as finding a third-party screen with the same specifications. Buying a new monitor or LCD panel is just a little more complicated. Besides the image quality which varies widely, and should be chosen based on the way the screen is to be used, there are three considerations to take into account when buying a screen for business use. These considerations include: durability, scaling power for big screens, and power consumption.

Durability

LCD panels compete with plasma screens, as well as different types of projectors for business uses. One major area of competition is the durability of each of these. Business owners understandably want a display that lasts a long time and requires little care. The CCFL LCD screens are generally rated to last anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 hours, while LED LCD screens can last around 100,000 to 200,000 hours, much longer than even plasma screens. However there are several types of LED screens, so be sure to ask about the projected lifespan of a screen when shopping.

Scaling Performance

LCD screens cannot change resolutions as easily as the old CRT screens. This means that when the input resolution is different from the screen's native resolution, the monitor has to adjust the image to fit the screen's resolution. When the incoming resolution is higher than the screen's, some pixels are simply dropped.

The bigger problem is when the incoming resolution is lower than the screen's native resolution. Pixels then have to be added to the image to make it approximate the original image, often resulting in blurry quality. The process by which the monitor can create a decent high-resolution image from a lower resolution image is called image scaling. This is an important factor to consider when a business needs a large screen that has to be used with various inputs, some of which might be of a lower resolution than the screen.

Power Consumption

LED panels are far more efficient than CCFL LCD panels. They even use less power than plasma screens, making them the best choice for keeping electricity costs down. Any LCD panel uses less power than the older CRT monitors.

How to Buy Laptop Screens and LCD Panels on eBay

Laptop screens and other LCD panels can easily be found on eBay. In particular, eBay makes it easy to find a reputable third-party supplier of LCD screens, thereby eliminating the biggest concern most people have when shopping online for computer parts.

To find an LCD panel on eBay, just enter the search term 'LCD panel' in the search box on any eBay page. If you narrow the search by choosing the appropriate category, you can then refine the search by display technology (backlight type), screen size, brand, price, and many other search criteria. Once you find an item you are interested in, check the seller's feedback rating. An award icon next to the seller's name indicates that the seller is one of eBay's Top-rated sellers. These are sellers who have demonstrated a commitment to excellent customer service, as seen by a history of positive feedback from buyers.

As with any transaction, check the seller's return policy for the item as well as the warranty. Read the entire listing carefully, and never hesitate to contact the seller with any questions you might have about the compatibility of the item before entering into a transaction.

Conclusion

While laptop manufacturers sometimes make it difficult to find screen replacements for laptops, buying new LCD panels can be a huge money saver for businesses. The price of a third-party LCD screen is a fraction of the cost of a new laptop, and well worth the cost, especially when everything else in the laptop is in perfect working condition. Thankfully, third-party LCD panels are generally as reliable as OEM screens because they are made by the same manufacturer. The only difficulty faced by business owners is finding the correct model.

The three specifications needed in order to find a replacement LCD screen are the screen size, resolution, and backlight type. The same information is the basis for shopping for a new LCD monitor or panel, as well. Business owners should understand these three specifications and then shop for LCD panels while keeping durability, scaling performance, and power consumption in mind. By learning to shop for laptop screens and LCD panels on eBay, small businesses as well as large corporations can cut equipment costs and maintain the quality of their LCD displays with just a few clicks of the mouse.

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