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LED or LCD Laptop Screen?

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/21/2010

If you’re buying a new laptop and wondering whether that LED screen is worth the extra money then check out this article for an LCD vs LED screen laptop comparison.

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    LCD vs LED Screen Laptop

    When you are shopping for a new laptop it can be tough to work out if the high end features are worth the extra money, especially if you don’t understand the difference. When it comes to LCD vs LED things can get a little confusing. For starters both technologies actually use LCD screens so the difference is really related to backlighting. The old LCDs use something called CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps) while the new LCDs use LED (Light Emitting Diodes). CCFL is a white light which shines across the back of the LCD and is coloured to generate the image. LED can be white lights or they can be RGB which simply means they can emit red, green and blue light.

    The LED technology is better for a number of reasons but is it worth the extra cash? Well it depends what you are going to use the laptop for. If this is a business laptop for working on documents then it may make more sense to stick with LCD. If you want to use this laptop for movies, games and other bits and pieces then the LED is a worthwhile investment.

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    Power Usage

    MacBook Pro The main advantage of LED is lower power usage and this is especially true for a laptop because battery power is always a big concern. To give an example, with the Apple MacBook Pro the LED backlit screen uses an estimated 30% less power than a conventional LCD. Over time that will translate to a saving in your electricity bills. More importantly it will allow you to work and play on your laptop for longer without having to recharge the battery.

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    Colour and Brightness

    LED technology allows for richer colour and a brighter screen. It doesn’t take time to warm up as some old LCD screens will. With LED backlighting the contrast is better and the colour is more accurate. These factors may be difficult to notice especially since many LEDs will adjust brightness depending on the ambient light level.

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    Longevity

    When it comes to longevity there is no doubt that LEDs will last longer than CCFLs. Another factor worth noting, especially if you use your laptop a lot and don’t expect to upgrade for a long time, is that CCFLs will dim over time and their output gradually diminishes. LEDs offer the exact same output as long as they are working.

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    Size and Weight

    This is another key factor that explains the push to adopt LED technology. LED backlit screens are lighter and they can be thinner as well. Both qualities are highly desirable in the laptop market.

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    Cost

    This is the consideration that makes people pause for thought. LED screens are always more expensive than LCD and the difference can be $100 or more. Currently the manufacturing process seems to be more expensive and the vast majority of laptops still use the old LCD technology. However as LED screens become more popular the cost will surely begin to fall.

    Weighing up the pros and cons of an LCD vs LED screen laptop it seems LED offers a lot of advantages, if you can afford it.



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