Types of Laptop Screens

By Mark Kennan

Traditional desktop computer monitors use cathode ray tube displays, but laptop monitors use LCD technology. LCD stands for liquid crystal display. There are three different types of LCD screens: transmissive, transflective and reflective. Other differences in laptop screens to out check are whether the screen is widescreen, and whether it is backlit by LEDs.

Transmissive Screens

Transmissive LCDs are the most commonly used LCD screens because they are the best compromise between high quality and low price. The screen uses a thin film transistor that allows current to pass through it and light up the diodes. The downside to transmissive LCD screens is that the backlight can be overpowered by bright lights or the sun during outdoor use.

Reflective Screens

Reflective screens use the same technology that transmissive screens use, except that they do not have the same backlighting of the transmissive screens. This gives a reflective screen an advantage when used in bright lighting because it does not get overpowered. However, the lack of a backlight makes these screens appear dim when used in normal conditions.

Transflective Screens

Transflective screens are a hybrid of the transmissive screen and the reflective screen technologies that allows the LCD to act like a transmissive screen indoors and a reflective screen outdoors. The downside to transflective screens is the increased cost of production. Thus, most manufacturers stick with transmissive screens because most laptops are used in an indoor environment.

Widescreen

Like televisions, many computer manufacturers are starting to use a widescreen aspect ratio for the laptop screens, rather than the traditional full screen option. These laptops have a width that is 1.6 times its height, unlike the traditional full screens that have a width 1.33 times its height. The widescreen aspect ratio better reflects the natural field of view, and allows widescreen movies to take up the entire screen when being played.

Backlit LED Displays

Laptop screens are starting to use LED lights for backlighting of the screen. The LED lights use less power, so the battery will last longer. If you often take your laptop with you and need a longer battery life, consider investing in a screen that has LEDs. Screens with backlit LED displays are also thinner than traditional screens. However, they will also be more expensive.