DIY Laptop: How to Choose the Right LCD Panel
I want to upgrade my DIY laptop's LCD screen, because I've found a bigger keyboard (more about that one later). Plus, I want a true 24-bit colour LCD panel. The current 14" panel is 18-bit, and I can see banding where there should be smooth gradients.
In brief, here's a list of the specifications that I'm paying the most attention to:
- Size - is the LCD panel the right size for the laptop shell?
- Correct resolution, refresh rate, and interface - it needs to work with my existing LCD controller, which is for a 1920x1080 60Hz eDP (embedded DisplayPort) panel
- Low power consumption - it's for a laptop, so the lower the power consumption, the longer the battery lasts on one chargs
- High brightness - makes it easier to see what's displayed in bright environments (e.g., outside). I was looking for 300 cd/m2 or better
- High contrast ratio - higher contrast ratio means brighter whites and darker blacks. This results in a better image (I searched for 500:1 or better)
- Large viewing angle - a wide viewing angle means you don't need to sit right in front of the screen to see the image.
- True 24-bit truecolour (16.7 million colours) - panels with fewer colours will have a poorer image (e.g., my 14" panel with noticeable banding where the image should be smooth)
IMPORTANT: Avoid FRC (Frame-Rate-Control) panels. These are typically 6 bit panels that use deliberate flickering between two colours to trick your eye into thinking that it's viewing a colour in-between. Those with sharp eyes will notice
- Low response time - this is the time it takes for changing a pixel from white to black or vice-versa. It's especially important for avid gamers. Slow panels will have ghosting behind fast moving objects because it takes time for the pixels to change colour
- In production - if you are considering selling your end product, then make sure that the LCD panel is still in production. Otherwise you'll only be able to buy what's available in warehouses. If that runs out, then you'll need to choose a new panel, and adapt your design
NOTE: This is NOT an exhaustive list. There are more criteria that might matter to you. The list above is what I'm paying the most attention to.
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