Even before its microprocessor, the first question is which laptop screen to choose. But how? On what criteria and for what use? Let’s see. This is often the first purchase criterion: which laptop screen to choose? Or, more precisely, which computer to choose according to its screen? Because, unlike a desktop computer with its famous tower, you cannot select the screen of your new laptop PC separately since it is an integral part of it.
Therefore, its screen very often guides the user a priori towards this or that model before he details the other characteristics of the laptop PC. And among the most critical points, the first is apparent, or in any case, must become so: which size to choose?
What Laptop Screen Size Should You Choose?
First, the screen size determines what you see (more or less), depending on your visual acuity. This value is expressed diagonally (from 10 to 17 inches for laptops, 1 inch = 2.54 cm). It directly determines the working and visual comfort, which depends on the time spent each day… precisely on the screen. Visual fatigue will be felt more quickly on a small screen, especially if you wear glasses; you must be aware of this when choosing your laptop.
Another important parameter, the screen’s size, directly impacts a laptop’s size and weight. Mobile or nomadic users need to take their computers everywhere with them. Therefore, those will prefer a compact portable PC equipped with a small screen (from 10 to 15 inches maximum) that is easy to transport.
Sedentary users who never or rarely move their laptop will therefore care little about its size. All the more reason not to deprive yourself and choose a large screen, from 15 to 17 inches, much more comfortable whatever the use, especially for wearers of glasses. The screen size weighs little on the price of a laptop, and you should know that.
For example, the differences in weight and size of Dell laptops depending on the size of the screen (in Height or thickness, Length and Depth or width):
- Dell XPS 13 -inch: H 13.99 mm x W 295.40 mm x D 199.40 mm, weight 1.23 kg
- Dell XPS 15 -inch: H 18.54 mm x W 344.40 mm x D 230.10 mm, weight 1.81 kg
- Dell XPS 17 -inch: H 19.54 mm x W 374.48 mm x D 248.08 mm, weight 2.17 kg
What Technology? LCD, TFT, LED, OLED, TN, IPS…
Laptop screen technology also significantly influences image quality and visual comfort. Essentially, two technologies prevail: LCD screens and LED screens. LCD screens (liquid crystals) progressed markedly at the start of the 1990s with the arrival of the TFT or “Thin-Film Transistor” (thin-film transistor), in particular in terms of colorimetry and speed. But in recent years, new TN and IPS technologies have further advanced LCD / TFT. Thereby :
- TN (“Twisted Nematic”) LCD screens offer high-speed refresh rates and response times, a responsiveness highly prized by gamers.
- IPS (In-Plane Switching) LCD screens are preferred for video, photo, and uses requiring superior image quality, particularly optimal rendering, regardless of the viewing angle (front or side ). They are slower than TN screens.
For their part, LED screens bring together almost all the qualities in terms of color display, contrast, speed, and power consumption. They are suitable for most uses. But their latest high-end evolution, the famous OLED screens, do even better everywhere, especially in color reproduction and contrast. They are perfect for video, photo processing, or graphic design.
What Resolution? What Definition?
You are up to date on the size and the panel’s technology. But to know which laptop screen to choose, you must consider the screen’s resolution or the number of pixels per inch (PPI; 1 inch = 2.54 cm). This value also significantly contributes to the image quality because the more pixels there are, the better the rendering.
The most common resolution values start at approx. 60 dpi and can go up very quickly depending on the size and Definition of the screen. For its part, the Definition of the screen is the number of pixels in width X the number of pixels in height. But contrary to the resolution, which is always expressed for 1 inch, the Definition alone only means something if it is associated with the screen size.
We, therefore, understand that a definition of 1280 x 720 pixels, for example, on a small 13-inch screen, will always be better than on a larger 17-inch screen (where the pixels will be further apart and the image less sharp). If the resolution is not specified, it is, therefore, necessary to favor the greatest possible Definition to ensure the best image quality. See here an online tool to calculate the resolution from the Definition and the size of the screen: https://www.sven.de/dpi/.
Laptop Screen Definitions (In Pixels):
- 4K: 4096×2160
- UHD (or Ultra HD): 3840 x 2160
- QHD (or Quad HD or 2K): 2560 x 1440
- FHD (or Full HD): 1920 x 1080
- HD (or High Definition): 1280 x 720
- Note that the highest definitions are generally reserved for high-end and gaming laptops. Today, FHD or Full HD is the most common on laptops.
What Is The Refresh Rate? What Response Time
We are talking about speed here. These criteria are essential if you are planning your PC for gaming (gamer) or any application that manages moving images (video editing, film). The refresh rate corresponds to the number of images a screen can display in 1 second. It is expressed in Hz (hertz). The higher this rate, the clearer and more precise the image will be in action sequences.
On a standard laptop PC, the refresh rate is generally 60 Hz, but on a top-of-the-range intended for gaming, it can go up to 144 Hz, or even 240 Hz and more!Response time is the time taken for a pixel to change color or shade. It is expressed in ms (millisecond). The lower this response time, the better the rendering of the movement. Gamers will favor a time of 1 to 3 ms, while this response time will matter less for professional office use.
Conclusion: Here Is Which Laptop Screen To Choose According To Your Use
Choosing your laptop screen must hold your full attention. And to do this, you must determine as clearly as possible the use you will have of it and what you will ask for it most often.
- For essential professional or private use, office automation, standard software, text entry, and other basic functionalities, internet browsing, messaging, etc., the choice of screen is secondary, 15 or 17 inches for computers that will remain at home… or less for mobile users.
- For family use, leisure, multimedia, gaming, and watching films or series online or on DVD, the size of the screen prevails as much as its technology. Better to turn to a 15 or 17-inch, at least a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pix.), IPS LCD, or LED.
- For professionals or individuals using complex software, 3D, photo editing, video editing, and other advanced technologies, the choice of the screen takes precedence as much as that of the other elements. Here 15 inches is the minimum, but 17 inches is the most logical. As for screen technologies, we will turn to high-end, high-resolution (at least FHD, even UHD or 4K), LCD IPS, or Oled.
- Gamers have similar needs, with an even more significant speed criterion. Large TN or Oled LCD screens can project sharp and hyper-realistic images even in the most hectic game phases… In particular, attention will have to be paid to refresh rates (at least 144 Hz) and response times (1 to 2 sec.).