Screens Buying Guide
to help you purchase the
perfect laptop screens.
- Desktop Replacement:
17" at any resolution
- Midsize: 15.4" at
1680x1050 or 1440x900
- Thin & Light:
14.1" or smaller at 1280x800
- Ultra Portable: 13.3"
or smaller at 1280x800
- Desktop Replacement:
15.4" at 1280x800
- Midsize: 14.1" at
- Thin & Light:
14.1" at 1280x800
- Ultra Portable: 13.3"
The Scoop On Laptop Displays
When shopping for a new laptop computer,
selecting the best laptop screen for your needs is going to require you
to decide on a few key features including screen size, widescreen vs
standard, pixel resolution, and glossy vs
Thankfully, picking the right laptop screen is a pretty straight forward process. We
are going to show you via this brief guide just how easy it is to find the perfect laptop
Screen Size Overview
Selecting a laptop screens size should always be your
starting point primarily because the physical body of the laptop
increases along with screen size.
This means weight will typically increase too,
and being that weight is often a key factor for making or breaking a
great laptop purchase, this is yet another reason why it is
advisable to hone in on screen size first.
example, the increased size and weight of your typical 17 or 20-inch
laptop isn't going to be ideal for most travelers or for those who will
be consistently lugging their laptops around town.
who will be running around campus will also want to take note for a
large laptop is less than ideal for cramming in their bag along with
books, etc., and backaches aren't exactly fun either!
today's mobile world some common screen sizes include 10.1, 12.1, 13.3, 14.1,
15.4, and 17-inches.
In fact, there are even
20-inch laptops on the market too. So as you see, there are choices to be made.
you notice the additional number after the period for the majority of
the laptop screens listed above?
This is in fact
because we've primarily
included widescreen laptop screens in the list.
Why you might ask?
Well, today's industry trend is a wide aspect ratio screen so we
specifically focused on widescreen displays instead of older
4:3 aspect ratio laptop
Now if you don't
difference just yet, keep reading for we will cover widescreen and
standard aspect ratio laptop screens in the next section.
before we move forward to aspect ratios, we highly recommend you check out our
Laptop Comparison page if you haven't already done so because we
overview the different laptop types such as ultra-portable, thin
light, midsize, and desktop replacement.
Because each of these
laptop types includes different screen size options we feel this Laptop
Comparisons guide is a perfect complement to this page.
vs. Standard Aspect Ratio
We've already briefly noted that wide aspect ratio
laptop screens dominate the laptop computer market, but you may
encounter standard 4:3 aspect ratio screens when shopping for a laptop
so we do feel it is necessary to elaborate just a bit more.
what's this 4:3 aspect ratio thing mean anyways? To make things simple,
a 4:3 aspect ratio screen is pretty much one that is shaped like a square.
comparison, a widescreen display will typically have a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio, and in
turn the screen is more of a rectangle shape. Pretty straight forward!
The industry has all
4:3 screens into history but we do see some floating around out there,
so take note. We typically advise against purchasing a 4:3 aspect ratio screen
because widescreen displays in our opinion are often the better option for a number of
Movies, games, and day to day multitasking in our opinion are much improved on a widescreen display.
Remember the days of VHS? The world was 4:3 then but in our
digital HD world today, widescreen is king.
the other hand, if you are old school and prefer the traditional square
screen, or you primarily use your laptop for text based applications, a
4:3 aspect ratio display may actually be a better option. That's if you
can find one of course!
a nutshell, a laptop screens resolution is the amount of physical pixels (tiny dots that make up the image)
on the actual screen.
Screen resolution is
listed by horizontal pixels
first and vertical pixels second.
For example, a common
today is 1680 x 1050 pixels. When you multiply these values together
you get the actual pixel count on the screen.
using this example above we have 1,764,000
pixels total. These values multiplied together can also
called the screens megapixel count. Using this example again we can say
it is a 1.76 megapixel screen.
how does all this pixel talk benefit you? For the most part
is technically always better. You will have a sharper overall image,
and also at the same time you will in fact have more desktop space to
layout multiple applications on screen. High-definition movies and 3D
games will also visually benefit from an increased pixel count.
course there are pros and cons to everything and one common drawback to
more pixels is that on screen elements will be smaller. Because of this
text for example will be much smaller and harder to read for some
depending on the combination of the laptop screens size and resolution. This can lead to eyestrain and headaches, so be aware. If you can try before you buy, we highly recommend you do.
You can always up what's called a DPI setting on your computer to
increase the size of on screen elements, but increasing the DPI will have
mixed results with many of you, and this mixed result will often be
determined by the physical screen size. As time moves forward font size
and screen resolution won't matter, but we aren't quite there yet so we
advise you choose your resolution wisely.
So to elaborate further, a 1920 x 1200 HD class resolution on a 15.4 screen will make
on screen elements tiny compared to the same resolution on a 17 or
20-inch display. Yes you can increase the DPI setting in the operating
system as we just mentioned, but if you have the option of going for a 15.4 inch screen with
1680 x 1050 pixels this will be a better decision in our opinion then
mucking around with the DPI setting. The choice of course is ultimately
up to you, but do keep yourself alert to the various resolution options.
more thing to consider in laptop screens is whether or not to go for a
glossy or anti-glare display. Most laptop manufacturers have
jumped on the glossy bandwagon so you won't always have the choice, but
as of this writing we do still see the option from time to time,
especially with business laptops. So we do recommend you pay attention
to available options.
So what's the
difference between a glossy display and an anti-glare? Glossy displays
for the most part do not have an anti-glare coating so they are in fact
brighter, and more vivid. Anti-glare screens on the other hand have
anti-glare properties to restrict glare from external light sources.
of LCD's decided to strip the anti-glare from displays to increase
overall brightness and color vividness. We are personally not big fans
of glossy displays and aren't thrilled with the LCD manufacturer's
decision, but it looks like we will all have to live with it for it
looks to be the ongoing trend these days, at least with consumer
While this vividness
for photos and movies, if you are outdoors or where there is a lot of
glare a glossy screen is in our opinion frustrating because things are
harder to see for the screen is like a mirror. But when inside your
home watching a movie or viewing family photos, we will have to admit
however that a glossy does often look pretty sweet.
it comes to laptop screens we are all very picky here at
Laptop-Computer-Comparison.com for various reasons. While we won't go
into details, just remember the screen is what you will be looking at
day after day and so it only makes perfect sense to buy a laptop with a
screen that you are very comfortable using, right? Picking the wrong
screen in our opinion can very well make or break a great laptop
On a final note always
to look very closely at your screen options when shopping for a new
laptop. In fact if you will be purchasing a laptop online we recommend
you take a drive to your local retailer such as Fryes or Best
Buy to get some real firsthand experience with the different screen
sizes and resolutions. This little bit of preparation may be worth
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