Laptop Computer LCD Viewing Screens Guide

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LCD Screens for Laptops Laptop LCD Screens

Laptop LCD screens are getting huge: there's no other word for it. As time goes on you'll start to see the 17, 16, and 15.4-inch displays becoming more prevalent. The widescreen is becoming more popular and it's great for watching movies.

Resolutions are on the rise as well. Laptop LCD's could hit QXGA, an astounding 2048x1536 pixels, within the next two years. Screens are also moving in two directions, following the resurgence of the 12-inch display in ultraportables and the 17.1-inch display in the desktop replacement category.

In recent years, Active matrix (or TFT, thin film transistor) displays have become the most popular because of their bright, vivid images that can be viewed from any angle. The most common notebook screen sizes are 14.1" and 15.0", though some ultra-portable models have screens as small as 8.4". The midrange screens are generally satisfactory and easy on the eyes, but if you'll use your notebook primarily as a desktop replacement or for PowerPoint presentations on the road, choose a 15.0" or larger screen.

You can also expect improvements in LCD screen image quality. Hewlett-Packard recently began offering BrightView LCD panels that feature a special polished surface. Meanwhile, Sony has begun deploying its XBRITE LCD technology, with improved clarity and contrast, across all Sony Vaio notebooks this year.

Regardless of the contents inside, the LCD screen is a notorious power-hog in laptops. Currently, developments by Toshiba Display Technology are promising a screen that considerably lowers battery draw-down. Production has not begun as yet.

Here is a brief primer on the different LCD displays for laptops and things you should watch out for. Screen size and resolution are important if you spend a great deal of time on your laptop; different resolutions lend themselves to particular applications such as text reading, editing, game play or photo and video editing. If you spend a great deal of time in game-play or video/photo imaging apps, you'll want a screen with higher resolution.

 LCD Screen Options

VGA: This is the oldest type of resolution. Usually 640x480. This is a little hard on the eyes when viewed for long periods of time.
SVGA: Often called Super VGA. Resolution is 800x600. This is the resolution most people normally view on desktops or laptops.
XGA: All-purpose viewing. This active matrix resolution is great for home applications like Web browsing, e-mail and word processing. Resolution is 1024x768 or 1280x800.
SXGA: Made for multimedia. Often called Super XGA. This resolution displays 87% more information than XGA. This is an ideal resolution for DVD playback, advanced digital imaging and various multimedia applications. Resolution for laptops is 1400x1050 or 1680x1050.
UXGA: The ultimate in clarity. Often called UltraSharp XGA. This resolution offers a 25% increase in viewing angle and 20% more brightness than a standard notebook display. Resolution for laptops is 1600x1200 or 1920x1200.

 LCD Viewing Screen Sizes

All laptop viewing screens are measured diagonally (corner to corner).

10.2 inch
12.1 inch
13.3 inch
14.1 inch
15 inch
15.4 inch
16.0 inch
17.0 inch
18.0 inch

 Final LCD Screen Considerations

If you spend a great deal of time reading or editing text, I would steer away from a resolution less than 1024x768 or XGA. Too much eyestrain. Also, this resolution is the minimum I would use if I was going to be doing graphics intensive work. If you can afford the SXGA or UXGA, I would go with it. You will really appreciate the difference in clarity and detail.

My current Compaq Armada laptop has a 12.1 inch screen. As I mentioned earlier, I spend 8-12 hours a day on this laptop. My next laptop will have a minimum 14 inch screen because after seeing a Toshiba 14 inch screen recently, I noticed a definite difference in my ability to comfortably read or edit text for long periods of time.

The higher the resolution, the more information can be displayed and the sharper the definition and color. If your budget permits, shoot for a minimum of a 13.3" active matrix display capable of XGA resolution. Your eyes will love you for it.


Laptop Computer LCD Viewing Screens Guide

Laptop LCD screens are getting huge: there's no other word for it. As time goes on you'll start to see the 17, 16, and 15.4-inch displays becoming more prevale





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