Laptop Displays – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 1.2

Not all laptop displays are the same. In this video, you’ll learn about the different laptop display types and some of the options available when using laptop displays.

<< Previous Video: Laptop Hardware Next: Laptop Features >>

The vast majority of today’s laptops are using LCD technology on the displays. LCD is Liquid Crystal Displays. There’s a backlight that’s on your LCD display that is shining through liquid crystals, color filters, and other components to finally show you the messages and the graphics on your screen.

The advantages of using an LCD on a laptop computer are that it is lightweight, which is especially helpful for a mobile device. It’s relatively low power, so we’re going to have as much battery available as possible, and relatively inexpensive, so it keeps down the overall cost of the laptop.

If your job requires you to match colors or have a very good color representation on the screen, you may find some challenges with LCDs. Because there is a backlight that is shining through, it becomes very difficult to get a true black on the screen. We also have to be concerned about this backlight. If we lose the backlight because of a problem with the LCD or the fluorescent lights that are used to shine through the laptop screen, then suddenly the screen will go black. And then we have to replace the entire screen or different components of the backlight just to have that laptop working again.

One way to get around some of these problems with color representation are to use a different type of laptop display called OLED. It stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. And OLED is an organic component that lights up when you provide it with an electric current.

These are usually very thin and very light screens. It doesn’t require that you have a glass to protect it on the front. And because it’s lighting itself, it doesn’t require a backlight. That means you have very good color representation, especially with true blacks. When there is simply no color, you don’t provide any electric current, and everything stays black.

Unfortunately, OLEDs are still not very popular on a laptop platform. We have organic materials that tend to degrade over time. And there are problems with decayed images still being displayed on these OLED screens. These OLED displays are also more costly. And they use more of your battery, which are not a great combination for a mobile laptop device.

A very important part of your laptop display that you don’t even see are the antennas that are inside the screen. They’re usually multiple antennas. There’s a Wi-Fi main, auxiliary connections, Bluetooth, cellular type connections. And they all wrap around the top of your laptop screen. That’s because when you open your laptop screen, that’s the highest point. So by putting them into and around that laptop screen, we’re able to get them as high in the air as possible.

On this laptop, there’s a mini PCI express interface that’s available to install an 802.11 card. You can see the wires are here. And those wires are wrapping around this lower part of the laptop. And they go up into the display itself. And they go up high into the display to be able to get the best signal possible.

We rely more and more on video communication these days. And so the webcams are being installed onto the laptops themselves. You can find the video capture or real time video transmissions are available with a camera that’s right at the top of the display. These usually have both audio and video capabilities. And you’ll need to make sure you install the correct driver for that hardware, depending on what operating system you’re using.

If you look closely, you can see the microphones that are installed at the top of this system. There’s a left and a right microphone. These are useful if you’re on a webcam and you don’t have another microphone available. They’re not high quality. You wouldn’t use this to be able to create online content. But it’s perfect for doing video conferencing.

Here’s a closer shot of this webcam with the audio microphone connections on the left and right side. It’s integrated into the screen itself and doesn’t take any additional space on your laptop.

We mentioned earlier that these LCD displays on our laptops have a backlight that is behind the screen. And there are usually two different types of backlights that you’ll find on a laptop. One of these is an LED backlight that’s on the LCD display. Sometimes we refer to these displays as LED displays. And what we’re really saying is that it’s an LCD display that is being backlit with LEDs.

They usually are LEDs that are placed around the edges of the screen. Or it’s making a matrix as you see here and providing the backlight using these LEDs. Because these LEDs are using the same DC voltage that’s available on your laptop, it doesn’t have to do any type of voltage conversion to be able to power these LED backlights.

Most of your newer laptops will be using those LED backlights. But some of your older systems may be using CCFLs. These are Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps. These use higher voltage. You need more power to be able to provide that fluorescent backlight. And they’re a little bit thicker than the LEDs.

These backlights are obviously important. We wouldn’t be able to see the screen unless we have a backlight that’s going through the LCD, and finally, we’re able to see it with our eyes. Some laptops will have inverters inside of them that will invert from DC into AC. These are primarily used for those CCFL fluorescent backlights that are in older laptops.

If your LED or CCFL backlights stop working, then the screen will look dark. But if you look very carefully, perhaps use a flashlight, you can still see that there’s information on the screen. It’s just not being lit from your backlight. This means that you’ll need to replace either the inverters on these older laptops, or you may need to replace the entire display to be able to have that backlight working again.

Some laptop displays allow you to write directly on the display, because the display itself is a digitizer. You would use a pen-like device, like this stylus, to be able to touch the screen and draw on it as if it was a piece of paper. This is becoming more common on laptops and tablet computers, or in hybrid computers like this one, that have a keyboard that looks very similar to a laptop but has a screen that’s very similar to a tablet. And then I can use this stylus to be able to draw on the screen or use my keyboard both at the same time.

If you prefer not to use a stylus, you could use a laptop screen that has direct touchpad support. So you can touch the screen and input information into that device. These are usually devices that have an option for a keyboard. Or you can use it individually as a single tablet component so that you can input in whichever way makes sense for you.