When it comes to differentiating between LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and LED (Light Emitting Diodes) things can get confusing, especially since both technologies actually use LCD screens. Put simply, an LED-backlight is a replacement for the uniform CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps) backlight that gives an LCD screen its brightness. CCFL is a white light which shines across the back of the LCD and is coloured to generate the image. LED can be white lights or they can be RGB which simply means they can emit red, green and blue light.
Instead of always being on – and therefore not able to dim specific areas of the screen – LED lights are arraned either along the sides of screen (“Edge” LED) or arranged behind the entire screen (“Direct” or “Full” LED).
Either way, manufacturers are marketing the new technology simply as “LED” without pointing out that it’s simply an update to existing LCD panels. Here’s what a spokesperson at Samsung had to say;
“For Samsung it is important that LED is differentiated from LCD. Whilst the key part (the panel) is the same, the backlight is obviously entirely different and manifests a greatly superior picture when compared to CCFL-backlit LCDs. Samsung invests a vast amount of enineering and R&D into LED technology, which is why it is treated as a premium product above LCD – and why they are positioned separately.”
The main advantage of LED is lower power usage, particularly significant for a laptop because battery power is always a big concern. More importantly it will allow you to work and play on your laptop for longer without having to recharge the battery, and thus, your electricity bills will be slower. As you can see, the LED technology is better for a number of reasons but is it worth the extra cash? Mostly this depends on your laptop use. If it’s a business laptop for working on documents then it may make more sense to remain with LCD. If you want to use your laptop for things such as movies and games then the LED is definitely a worthwhile investment.