Laptop screen characteristics

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A laptop screen is actually an LCD display and the difference between laptop screens is dictated by its characteristics. An LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is a flat, thin electronic display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals don’t emit light, therefore they are illuminated by a backlight mechanism. Let’s see what these LCD characteristics (technical specifications) represent:

  • size represents the visible space on the laptop screen (viewable image size – VIS), unobstructed by the case or other design elements. Size is measured diagonally in inches or cm and is also known as the “physical image size” in order to be distinguished from the “logical image size” that refers to resolution and is expressed in pixels;
  • resolution represents the number of pixels shown on the laptop screen;
  • aspect ratio is the relation between the length and the width of the display. Most known ratios are 4:3, used less and less on today’s laptops, 16:10 and 16:9 used more and more on laptop screens;
  • luminosity is measured in square meter candela (cd/m2) and indicates how luminous the laptop screen surface is. A standard laptop screen ranges between 50-300 cd/m2;
  • refresh rate indicates how many times a second the display is lit (how many times a second the display “draws” data). Refresh rate is not the same as frame rate, because the first one involves the consecutive drawing of an identical frame on the display, while the second shows how many times a video source can send a new frame on the display. Most LCD displays need a continuous refresh rate. In general, the maximum refresh rate is limited by the response time of the laptop screen;
  • response time is measured in milliseconds and shows the time a pixel needs to go from active (black) to inactive (white), and back to active (black). A lower response time means faster transition, therefore a more accurate picture;
  • contrast is the ration between most luminous white and the most luminous black that can be displayed on the laptop screen. A higher contrast rate, makes for a better, crisper picture;
  • viewing angle is measured horizontally and vertically and states the maximum angle from which the picture shown on the display can be viewed;
  • energy consumption is measured in watts. As technology advances, a newer laptop screen will consume less energy, therefore your laptop battery will last longer. Brightness settings also affect energy consumption, a higher brightness will drain out the battery faster.We don’t like it when our laptop screen has smudges. The laptop screen is a very delicate component as too much pressure or using the wrong cleaning product can damage it. So how and with what do we clean it? Here are some tips:

What to do:

  1. Turn off your laptop. It’s safer, and when the screen is dark it is also easier to see the dirty areas.
  2. Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe the screen; a microfiber cloth is best. Wipe the cloth against the screen in a circular motion, as rapid circular motions eliminate streaks. Use only enough pressure to keep the cloth in contact with the screen. If this doesn’t completely remove the smudges, then do not apply more pressure as you can scratch the screen or burn some pixels.
  3. Given the fact that the dry cloth did not complete the job, there are many commercial cleaning products for LCD screens that you can buy in order to clean your laptop screen. If you don’t want to purchase one of these products, you can moist the cloth with a mixture between distilled water and a solution of 70 % isopropyl alcohol. Mix the distilled water and isopropyl alcohol in equal parts (50/50) inside a small atomizer bottle just like the one you use to clean your windows. A mixture of distilled water and vinegar, mixed in equal parts (50/50), will also do the job.
  4. The plastic frame that surrounds the screen can be clean with any multipurpose cleaner, but try to avoid contact with the screen itself.
  5. You can also use distilled water, hexane, petroleum benzine or commercial glass cleaners that do not contain ammonia or alcohol.

What to not do:

  1. Never spray any solution directly onto your laptop screen! The edges of the screen have electrical connections on them. Any solution that drips on the bottom of the screen can permanently damage or short out your screen. Always apply the solution to your cleaning cloth. The cloth has to be moist, so be careful not to apply too much, or it will drip.
  2. Avoid using paper napkins, tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, as they can leave paper flakes on your screen. They also contain wood fibers and can scratch your screen.
  3. Don’t use tap water as it will leave mineral spots on the screen.
  4. Avoid using products that contain acetone, ammonia, ethyl acid, ethyl alcohol, methyl chloride or methyl toluene. Commercial window cleaning products often contain alcohol, ammonia or both, that can damage your laptop screen.

Maintenance tips:

You should avoid exposing your laptop screen to high temperatures or humidity environments, or to direct sunlight. You should avoid staking objects on the notebook with the screen closed.

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