How Do I Know If My Laptop is LCD or LED (Windows or Mac)?

Macbook Pro laptop screen

While some people don’t really know it, there are different types of monitors that are made for different types of laptops. In that regard, the two most common screen types are LCD and LED, which have their own unique properties. Since LCD and LED seem similar for those who don’t know the difference between them, how would you know if your laptop is LCD or LED?

In Windows laptops, it can be difficult to tell whether or not your laptop is using a traditional CCFL LCD or LED screen. You might have to look at a sticker or the specs to find out. However, most post-2011 laptops use LEDs. Meanwhile, all MacBooks use LCD displays but Retina Displays use LED backlights.

The truth is that it really is difficult to tell apart an LCD display from an LED screen if you don’t know the differences between them and if the laptops don’t really say what type of screen they are using. Luckily for you, we are here to look at the major differences between LCD and LED displays that are often used for laptops so that you can tell what your laptop screen is.

How to know if my laptop has an LCD or LED screen

Something to understand is that all laptops make use of LCD screens. That’s because LCD is the acronym that is used to describe the type of screen that your laptop uses. Meanwhile, LED is the acronym that is used to describe the type of lights that are used on your laptop’s screen.

In short, your laptop is making use of an LCD screen but the difference lies in the type of lighting it is using to bring out the colors of the LCD screen. Now, in this case, your laptop is most likely using LEDs to light up the screen because CCFLs, the older type of backlighting, are now obsolete.

So, if your laptop was manufactured after 2011, then there is a good chance that it is using LED as the backlighting for the LCD screen that the laptop is using. On the other hand, laptops on the older side such as those manufactured before 2011 or even during the middle of the 2000s make use of CCFLs.

Now, as for MacBooks, it has been known that Apple has been using the “Retina Display” name to describe the screen that it uses for its MacBooks. But what in the world is Retina Display?

Simply put, Retina Display is just a proprietary type of backlighting that Apple uses on its MacBooks. It is simply a type of LCD display that makes use of LED lights to light up the colors on the screen. 

However, because of Apple’s proprietary tech, the display looks more vibrant compared to other laptops because the pixel density on Retina Displays is higher. In short, what makes a Retina Display special is not the screen type but rather the resolution that allows it to have a higher pixel count. Of course, the LED lighting also plays a good role here as the LEDs bring out the best in the individual pixels of a MacBook’s Retina Display.

All that said, don’t get confused with how TVs and monitors are marketed as either LCD or LED because all of these are actually LCD screens. The difference lies in the type of lighting they use, and that is where LEDs come into play. Manufacturers just use LED to make TVs and monitors sound better but they still use LCD screens that are lit using LEDs.

The same goes for laptops. No matter what kind of display name the laptop comes with, it still uses an LCD screen. The difference lies in the type of lighting that is used such as CCFL and LED or even the newer OLED and QLED screens.

What are the differences between LCD and LED laptop screens?

When it comes to different displays nowadays, you might have noticed that two different acronyms are being thrown around a lot. These are LCD and LED, which are screens that are featured in plenty of different types of displays. Most of the time, these screens can be seen advertised on televisions but have also been making waves in monitors.

In that regard, even laptops are using LCD and LED screens for their displays. But what are the differences between LCD and LED laptop screens? This is something that can be difficult to tell especially if you can’t tell the difference when you are simply looking at the screens.

The biggest difference between LCD and LED screens is that LCD screens have a layer of liquid crystal that is placed between two plates. So, what happens is that the images are made as the light passes through the liquid crystal. The liquid crystal is what is responsible for blocking or enhancing an area to create the image that is displayed on your screen.

On top of that, most of the LCD screens today use LED (light-emitting diode) lights that actually bring the best out of the image. These types of LCD screens are what are widely known as LED screens. So, in short, all laptop screens use LCD screens but the difference lies in the type of light that is used to further enhance the image.

In line with that, older LCD screens used cold cathode fluorescent lamps or CCFL lamps to light the screen up. These lamps use electron discharge and fluorescent light to make the screen behind the lights brighter. In case you didn’t know, these CCFL lights are the same as the ones you see in office buildings.

Basically, what we are saying here is that all laptop screens use LCD screens. The difference lies in the type of lighting that the laptop screen use. Screens that tend to be on the older side and are usually given the name “LCD” screens are the ones that use CCFL. Meanwhile, the newer screens that are given the name “LED” are simply LCD screens that make use of LEDs to make the screens brighter.

The difference between the two, however, lies in how LED screens tend to be brighter and longer-lasting on top of how they have images that are better compared to the LCD screens that use CCFLs. On top of that LED screens are more energy-efficient and are friendlier to the environment.

This explains why LED-backlit LCD screens are beginning to take over as the best choices for laptops. Meanwhile, CCFL screens are now phasing out because of how inherently inferior they are to LED-backlit screens.

Are LED screens better than LCD screens?

At this point, you already know the answer to, which screen is the better option between LED and LCD screens. In that regard, it is obvious that the better screens are the ones that are LED-backlit as they are brighter, are better in terms of overall quality, and are more economical compared to LCD screens that still use CCFL.

Still, even if your screen is LED-lit there are times when you might not even know it because it can be difficult to compare different laptop screens.

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