Things you should know about Laptop Screens and LCD Panels
Screens are the primary way most computers communicate with most users; without screens, users could not edit text, watch movies, play graphics-heavy games, or do most of the other things people use computers for. Buying a screen is therefore an important part of buying a computer. Of course, computers usually come with a screen, in which case the screen will be only one of several considerations when choosing a machine. But sometimes the screen needs to be replaced, or the user simply wishes to upgrade the system. Then, it is time to go shopping for a screen all by itself. These considerations regarding how to choose a screen should help.
Overview of LCD Panels
Before discussing LCDs, it is useful to talk about what LCDs are, and how they work. Then, the considerations regarding how to buy the screens will make more sense.
What LCDs Are
LCD stands for liquid crystal display. The crystals themselves do not produce light; instead, the crystals determine whether light can get through to light an individual colored pixel. The light can either come from a fluorescent lamp inside the screen or from any of several kinds of LED (light-emitting diode) setups. LCD screens and LED screens are thus not mutually exclusive; LED screens are LCD screens, although not all LCD screens have LEDs. LCD screens vary in price according to a wide range of criteria, with the lower priced models being more than enough for most uses.
LCD screens include the screens of laptops and also the various forms of flat-screen external monitors. The technology is the same, although there are a few additional considerations for laptops that do not apply to external monitors, and vice-versa.
LCD panels can include more than a simple screen. All laptop screens, and some desktop screens, come with integrated speakers. The quality of these speakers varies; even an inexpensive set of external speakers can usually produce better sound than a laptop’s speakers, but not all users care that much about sound quality.
6 Considerations for Buying LCD Panels
These points are useful to keep in mind when shopping for LCD screens. Remember, too, that the quality of the computer is at least as important as the quality of the monitor. An outdated or low-end computer will not produce a very high quality image on any screen.
There are several things to consider, such as the technology of the panel, the backlight type, hidden details, warranty, image quality, and response time. This table provides a brief explanation of what the consideration involves and why it is important.
Paying attention to details such as panel technology, backlight type, and warranty is a good way to make sure the screen meets the expectations and needs of the buyer.
Laptops are a special case because their screens are not really designed to be interchangeable. Nevertheless, screens sometimes break and need to be replaced, and some people want a higher-quality screen than the one that came with their laptop. Changing the screen of a laptop is tricky, but it can be done. The buyer should just keep a few things in mind.
Replacing a Broken Laptop Screen
Before committing to looking for a replacement laptop screen, make sure that the problem is actually with the screen and not with the computer. Any force strong enough to damage a screen could also have damaged other structures in the computer. If the screen can still show an image, put the computer through its paces to make sure it functions well. If the screen cannot show an image, try connecting the laptop to a different monitor. There is no sense replacing the screen when the whole laptop actually needs to be replaced. Unrelated problems, such as loose cables or a stuck backlight switch, sometimes manifest as poor or absent screen images and these issues can be repaired.
In most cases, damaged screens cannot be repaired and must be replaced. Laptop screens can be expensive, and hiring a professional to replace a screen can cost more than buying a new laptop would. Fortunately, it is often possible to find an affordable screen, new or used, by shopping around, and do-it-yourself instructions for replacing a laptop screen are available online.
3 Considerations for Buying a Replacement Laptop Screen
These three are in addition to the six already mentioned, but they apply specifically to shopping for replacement laptop screens. The buyer should consider external monitors, ensure the screen will match the computer, and determine the required coating. For each tip, there is a quick explanation of what it involves and why it is important.
These considerations vary in importance; getting a screen that does not match the computer will result in the screen not working at all. Forgetting to think about the screen coating would, at worst, be a minor annoyance. Nevertheless, keeping all three in mind should help keep the shopping process nicely straightforward.
An external monitor is more straightforward than a laptop screen, since it is designed as a separate unit; taking apart machinery is not involved. In addition to the considerations that go with choosing any LCD screen, there are only a few other considerations to keep in mind.
What Features Should Be Included?
External monitors look like flat-screen TVs, and there is a reason for that. Not only is the LCD technology itself the same, but the two types of screens are becoming interchangeable. Some TVs can accept signals from computers, essentially becoming computer monitors, but some computer monitors include TV tuners and connectors for video signals. To what extent a new monitor should also be a TV, and how well it needs to function as a TV, has become one of the things a buyer needs to decide.
There are three basic ways to mount an LCD monitor. A mounting arm allows the user to adjust the height, angle, and direction of the monitor as needed, a very useful thing if users of different heights are going to take turns and both want the screen at eye level. There are even mounts that have arms for multiple monitors. Alternatively, there are mounts that allow the monitor only to be tilted slightly up or down, according to whether it will be above or below the viewer. Finally, the simplest mounts simply attach the monitor flat to the wall, and are not adjustable at all.
The tricky thing is that not all monitors use the same kind of mount. There are industry standards, called VESA, but not all companies adhere to these standards. When buying a monitor, either make sure that it is VESA compliant or find a mount that fits the monitor and buy both together. It is possible to buy a monitor and then be unable to find a mount that fits it.
Analogue or Digital Connectors
Before LCD screens there were CRTs, or cathode ray tubes. CRTs are analogue devices, so that computers designed to work with CRT monitors had to be able to convert their digital signal to an analogue signal that the monitor could cope with. While there are still some CRTs around, new screens are LCDs. While LCDs are digital, they had to be designed to work with existing computers, which converted their video signal to analogue. The LCD screens were built to accept an analogue signal and then convert it back to digital. LCD screens with digital connectors, or both analogue and digital connectors, are now available, and it is up to the buyer to decide which kind to buy. If the monitor and the computer do not match, it is possible to buy a converter that will shift the signal between analogue and digital, but there is always some loss of data every time the signal passes through an additional step between computer and screen.
Buying a Laptop Screen or LCD Panel on eBay
Once you know what screen to buy, it is time to go shopping. These suggestions on how to find monitors through eBay, along with some tips on how to negotiate the buying process, should help the process go smoothly.
Finding a Laptop Screen or LCD Panel on eBay
Monitors may be listed in any of several places on eBay. The best is to start at the Electronics portal, then select Computers, Tablets, & Networking, and then browse or use the search feature from there. If you already know exactly what you want, use the Advanced Search feature.
Buying a Laptop Screen or LCD Panel on eBay with Confidence
Buying through eBay is fairly straightforward, but there are some good habits to maintain. First, read the listing carefully to avoid buying the wrong screen by mistake. Second, check out the seller’s profile and find out what ratings he or she has received from other buyers. Third, find out if the seller offers a return policy, and what the conditions are. Finally, especially with big purchases, make sure the seller will insure shipping.
Whether buying a replacement screen for a laptop or a new external monitor, which screen is the right one depends largely on what the buyer needs it for, and also what other equipment the screen will need to be compatible with. There are many things to consider, such as the type of screen, its warranty, image quality, and response time. If replacing a laptop screen, the buyer must ensure that the new screen will fit the laptop, or whether an external monitor should be purchased instead. If an external monitor is purchased, check that it has the required analogue or digital connections, and that the proper mounting equipment is also purchased.
Searching eBay for the desired laptop screen or LCD panel is a great way to find the screen that fits the buyer’s budget and the needed requirements.