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All you've ever wanted to know about laptop computer screens

To assist laptop computer users in the laptop screen replacement process, we've
put together the information neccessary to make an informed decision in laptop s
creen replacement and to understand the terminology of laptop screens.
Laptop Screen Components:
The laptop screen is made up of three major components:
* The Display - This is the screen itself.
* The Backlight - This is a very thin flourescent bulb (CCFL - cold cathode
flourescent) that provides the lighting for the screen. Its inside the screen as
sembly. Newer displays have LED backlights.
* The Inverter Board - This is an electronic circuit that powers the backlig
ht. It's separate from the display assembly and is typically mounted right below
the display assembly. Newer LED displays do not have LED backlights.
Laptop LCD Screen Manufacturers
Laptop computer makers (with the exception of Samsung and Toshiba) do not manufa
cture their own LCD screens. The major manufaturers of LCD screens are LG Philip
s, Chi Mei Electronics, AU Optronics, Samsung, Toshiba-Matsushita, and HannStar.
These screens are standardized to sizes and resolutions and are designed to be
interchangeable. Often laptop computers from the same maker and with the same mo
del # will have screens from 2 or more different vendors.
Types of Laptop Screen Failure:
* Cracked Screen - This is due to accidental damage, from a dropped laptop s
creen or improper handling at the airport or during shipping. If the laptop stil
l works with a external monitor, then most likely the motherboard and the video
chip have not been damaged and the laptop can be restored with a screen replacem
* Vertical or Horizontal Lines on Screen - The circuits in the display panel
are failing and the screen needs to be replaced.
* Dark Screen - Faint images can still be seen on the screen. This indicates
that the back light is not turning on. This could be due to a failed back light
or a failed inverter circuit. Often in this situation, the light will flash on
and off when the laptop is just turned on. In most dark screen cases, the backli
ght has failed and the screen assembly needs to be replaced. Laptops Restored ca
n diagnose the cause and replace either the screen assembly or the inverter circ
Laptop Screen Replacement Criteria:
A laptop screen replacement is a signficant fraction of the replacement cost for
the whole laptop. When deciding on whether to replace, the screen we use the fo
llowing criterion in making recommendations to our customers:
If the laptop has no other damage and its less than 4 years old, then replace th
e screen.
If the laptop is more than 4 years old or has other damage then invest in a new
Our reasoning is simple. Laptop manufacturers do not offer longer than a 3 year
extended warranty. Thus, the design lifetime of a laptop is 3 years. It has been
our experience that laptops older than 3 years are susceptible to multiple fail
ures (screen, motherboard, hard drive).
Laptop Screen Sizes and Resolutions:
If you decide to have your laptop screen replaced, first you need to know the sc
reen size, the resolution, and if its glossy or matte (Screen Surgeons can make
this determination for you also). Different laptops have different screen sizes
and resolutions (the amount of pixels i.e. the clarity of the display). Most mai
nstream laptops have 14",15", or 17" screens. Higher end compact laptops have 12
" or smaller screens. To determine your screen size, take a ruler and measure th
e diagonal distance of a screen.
The second item to consider is if the screen is widescreen or square. If the scr
een looks rectangular, then its widescreen. Otherwise it is square.
There are two ways to determine the screen resolution.
1. Many newer laptops will have a promotional label on the palm rest that sta
tes the screen resolution,
2. Go to Start > Control Panel > (Switch to Classic View if neccessary) > Dis
play > Click on the Settings Tab > Slide the screen resolution slider to More >
Look at the pixels displayed (ex: 1200 x 800 pixels).
With the screen resolution you can determine the designation (the 3-5 letter cod
e for the resolution):
XGA 1024 x 768
WXGA 1152 x 768, WXGA 1280 x 768, WXGA 1280 x 800, WXGA 1330 x 768
WSXGA 1280 x 854
SXGA 1280 x 960, SXGA 1280 x 1024
WXGA+ 1440 x 900
SXGA+ 1400 x 1050
WSXGA+ 1680 x 1050
UXGA 1600 x 1200
WUXGA 1920 x 1200
Finally, you need to know if your screen is glossy or matte. The simple rule is
if your laptop was made after 2005 then its probably glossy. If it was made befo
re 2005 then its probably matte. You can also determine it visually. If the scre
en is shiny and you can partially see your reflection, then its glossy. If it ha
s a slightly frosted look, then its matte.
Laptop Screen Quality
A laptop screen can be replaced with a new screen or a used screen. If it is rep
laced with a used screen that is more than 3 years old, there is a significant p
robability that the screen will fail within 1 to 2 years. Screen Surgeons uses n
ew screens in replacement.
New laptops screens are divided into grades, depending on the number of dead pix
els. A+ grade screens have 0 dead pixels. A grade screens have 1-3 dead pixels,
and B grade screens have 4-12 dead pixels. When ever possible, Laptops Restored
uses A+ grade screens, and we notify the customer if for what ever reason (usual
ly supply issues) that we need to use a different grade screen.