How to Find Laptop Screens and LCD Panels on a Tight Budget

Like if this guide is helpful
How to Find Laptop Screens and LCD Panels on a Tight Budget

There is a Catch-22 when it comes to shopping for computer components and parts, especially for laptop screens and LCD panels. On the one hand, rapidly changing technology creates laptop screens that enhance user experiences and increase productivity in the workplace. The other side of the laptop screen coin is that improved technology translates into higher production costs, which impacts retail prices. Unless a large corporation is considering a substantial number of laptop screens, most consumers operate on tight budgets that require fiscal restraint during the shopping process. The question for most consumers is how to find laptop screens and LCD panels on a tight budget.

The simple answer appears to go used, as secondhand screens typically cost less than new models. However, consumers should consider searching for new laptop screens on eBay, where some sellers offer near mint condition screens at discounted prices. The sellers can be businesses trying to unload excess inventory, or individuals who have changed their minds. Whatever the reason, consumers in search of laptop screens on tight budgets should first learn about the types of LCD panels, and then consider the myriad factors that determine the retail price of laptop screens.

Types of Laptop Screens

Consumers who want to purchase LCD laptop screens on a tight budget should first consider the type of LCD screen. Laptop monitors utilise liquid crystal display (LCD) technology to display information. Consumers have three types of LCD screens to consider, plus two other panels that offer distinct features.

Transmissive Screens

Transmissive LCD panels are the most prevalent LCD panels on the market, and because of the abundant supply, prices tend to be lower for this type of laptop screen than other types of laptop screens. The screen employs a thin film transistor that induces an electrical current to pass through the panel to illuminate the diodes. The popularity of this type of LCD panel stems from the fine balance between low price and high quality. However, the backlight power on LCD laptop screens can be diminished by bright light, especially sunlight.

Reflective Screens

Reflective screens implement the same technology used by transmissive screens, but manufacturers add components that prevent the backlighting issues experienced by transmissive LCD panels. This provides users with an advantage over users who work from transmissive laptop screens, since bright lights do not overpower the resolution. The improved backlighting feature adds to the bottom line of an LCD panel purchase because of the improved backlighting.

Transflective Screens

Consumers who seek the best of both worlds in an LCD panel should consider buying an LCD panel that comes with a transflective screen. This hybrid laptop screen combines transmissive and reflective screen technology to enhance backlighting both indoors and outdoors. The increased complexity of the technology causes an increase in the cost of production, and thus, higher retail prices that may be cost prohibitive for budget-conscious shoppers.


Another feature that increases the cost of an LCD panel is the size of the screen. A growing number of laptop screen manufacturers offer the widescreen feature, as it does a better job of reflecting the natural field of view. This type of laptop replacement part possesses a width that is 1.6 times its height, which increases the cost of production. Consumers who splurge on widescreen LCD panels do so to enjoy a better view of widescreen films.

Backlit LED Display

Many laptop screen manufacturers use LED lights to enhance screen backlighting. LED lights consume less power, which extends the life of the battery. Consumers who use laptops during business travel enjoy the benefit of longer-lasting batteries. However, this type of screen typically costs more when purchased new than any other type of LCD panel.

Primary Laptop Screen and LCD Panel Factors That Influence Price

Consumers have many factors to consider when shopping for laptop screens and LCD panels, and each factor plays a role in determining the retail price. However, some of the factors have more impact on the retail prices, such as resolution, movement, and connectivity.


While size has the most impact on LCD panel production costs, resolution comes in a close second because it determines how much information fits on a laptop screen. More resolution equates to higher productivity because it is easier to multitask work assignments. Higher LCD panel resolution also means sharper-looking DVD and Blu-ray films. More is better for the user, but not for the bank account.

The smallest laptop screen resolution is 1366x768 pixels, but most manufacturers produce LCD panels that possess 1920x1080 pixel resolution, which is often referred to as 1080p. The 1080p model laptop screens provide the optimal resolution for watching content on Blu-ray players and high-definition YouTube videos. Some of the larger laptop screens offer more resolution, but unless consumers work in a highly technical field, they should not waste money on laptop screens that possess that much resolution. Most computer experts recommend 1080p LCD screens for consumers who do not want to stretch their budgets.


How a laptop screen attaches to the rest of the laptop influences production cost. For convenience, most consumers prefer laptop screens that tilt back and forth, as well as from side to side, but this means upgrading to a business-style LCD panel that costs more money. Consumers who shop on tight budgets should stick with laptop screen models that simply tilt a bit to enhance lighting or provide ergonomic benefits.


While a DVI input meets the computing needs of most consumers, HDMI is quickly becoming the standard. Multiple inputs cause production cost increases that reflect in higher retail prices. Power cords, headphone jacks, and USB hubs also influence how much consumers pay for an LCD panel. Consider only the essential connectivity needs to save money when buying a laptop screen.

Secondary Specs That Influence Price

While screen size, resolution, connectivity, and movement has the most influence on the cost of an LCD screen, consumers must consider a number of secondary features that play a role in determining the retail price of a laptop screen. The best strategy for staying within a tight budget is to rank the following features in terms of importance, and then compute which of the higher ranked features allow consumers to stay within their tight budgets.

Response Time

Response time measures how long it takes for pixels to transition from white to black to white. Slow transitioning pixels occur because the "ghosting" effect, which causes objects, such as balls and airplanes to produce what looks to be comet tails. The quicker the response time, the more an LCD panel costs. Most consumers, even those who participate in gaming, find 5 milliseconds to be an adequate response time.

Refresh Rate

Measured in hertz (Hz), the refresh rate measures how often a laptop screen updates images per second. Laptop screens that have fast refresh rates, such as 120 Hz, produce changing images that appear fluid. Higher refresh rates require more computing power, and hence, cause an increase in LCD panel production costs. The industry standard refresh rate is 60 Hz, which is high enough to meet the needs of most consumers.

Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio measures the ratio between the brightest white and darkest black that an LCD panel can produce. The higher the ratio, the more it costs to produce the laptop screen. Graphic designers and website developers require higher contrast ratios, but most consumers can enjoy strong contrast without having to fork over more money.

Viewing Angle

Buying a used or remanufactured laptop screen or LCD panel saves consumers money, especially online at eBay. However, older laptop screens can present problems with viewing angles, which is the measure of the angles that a user can view the LCD panel. Unless a consumer tends to walk around an office, most consumers who view a laptop screen from a stationary position do not require screens that have high viewing angles, as expressed in degrees.


Manufacturers tend to downplay the differences in laptop screen coatings, but consumers should not, since there is a significant difference in cost. Glossy LCD panels, which cost more to produce, enhanced screen contrast and present a much more vibrant look than matte laptop screens. Matte screens present duller images, even in the brightest lit room. How consumers decide on a screen coating comes down to the work environment versus the tightness of the laptop screen budget.

How to Buy Laptop Screens and LCD Panels on eBay

Consumers on tight budgets can find excellent deals by shopping for laptop screens and LCD panels on eBay. If you want to save money by shopping for used laptop screens, then consider buying from one of eBay's Top-Rated Sellers. eBay's Top-Rated Sellers have earned reputations for selling superior products at affordable prices. Look for the electronic ribbon icon that eBay places by each qualified seller's product photograph. Once you find the top-rated sellers by typing the right keywords into the search engine, you can then further vet sellers by reviewing their product pages.

eBay sellers present useful information on their product pages, such as delivery terms and accepted payment methods. You can eliminate sellers from consideration simply because you do not own the right credit card. However, your decision may boil down to the customer feedback that eBay places on seller product pages. Look for sellers who have received high praise over the past year for selling laptop accessories. Once you decide on a seller, contact the seller and ask if you can purchase an LCD screen directly from the seller's eBay Store.


A number of reputable companies produce high-performance laptop screens and LCD panels. From Hewlett-Packard to Toshiba, consumers have myriad options when it comes to shopping for new laptop displays. However, most of the features increase the cost of production, which also increases the retail price of laptop screens and LCD panels. Consumers on tight budgets must rank the feature in terms of importance, and then decide which features fit within their financial constraints.

The first laptop screen budgetary consideration concerns the type of LCD panel. Transflective screens incorporate the best features of transmissive and reflective screens into one high-performance laptop screen, but transmissive LCD panels cost more than any other type of screen. Larger screens also cost more money, as do screens that include a backlit LED display. Consumers who operate on a tight budget should consider buying transmissive laptop screens to save money, yet still receive high-quality displays. After size, other factors that influence LCD panel production costs include resolution, screen movement, and connectivity, among a number of secondary factors that can drain the bank account.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides