Going to your favorite department store or online store, and you’re thinking of getting a new monitor for your personal use. You skim through the specs pages, and you see things like ultra 4K LED UHD 75Hz display, or 55″ VHF,mp3 LCD. The head-scratching abbreviations make you wonder what does it all mean? Chief amongst them is what is LED? What’s an LCD, and what exactly is the difference between the two. Throughout this article, we are going to be answering all the burning questions you have always had over monitors, explaining the differences between the two most common displays, the pro and cons of each while allowing you to become better informed before making a purchase.
1. How LCDs work?
2. Types of LED Monitors
3. Types of LCD Monitors
4. Difference between LCD and LED monitor
5. LED or LCD Lifespan
6. The future: OLED and QLED
7. Pros and Cons of LCD Monitors
LCD monitors are displays that project digital images across a screen. The LCD means “liquid crystal display.” Liquid crystal is the underlying technology that powers these types of monitors. Liquid crystals are materials that exhibit inherent properties of both solids and fluids. They take the shape of their accompanying containers. In their rest state, they cannot transmit images, but when the monitor has been powered on, an electric current is passed through these liquid crystals, and they display the properties of solids. The lattice becoming more rigid and structured. The principal source of backlighting for LCD monitors is cold cathode fluorescent lighting (CCFL).
LED monitors, unlike LCD monitors, source their principal back lightning from light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs are tiny pieces of semiconductor material that emit light when an electric current is passed through them. This is the technology that is used for LED monitors.
LED monitors, you should check out
With a comparative advantage in basically all areas of comparison, LED monitors are worth a bang for your buck if you are looking to purchase a monitor now or anytime in the immediate future. Listed below are some of the best-LED monitors on the market that we encourage you to check out.
1- Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
2- Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
3- LG 24” Class 720p LED Monitor
4- HP 23” FreeSync LED Monitor
LED vs. LCD monitor for photo editing
For tasks like photo editing, the importance of a color-accurate monitor cannot be overestimated. Getting a monitor that correctly portrays the colors, tone, and ambiance of your photos goes a long way in making your photos look original, sharp, and professional. Therefore, the go-to choice for photo editors is LED monitors.
To be specific, LED monitors with full-array backlighting.
In full array backlighting, the LEDs are arranged equally across the entire monitor. It allows for uniformity in color accuracy and allowing the independent zones of LEDs to be individually dimmed. This dimming ability allows for LED monitors to have a higher contrast ratio when compared to LCD monitors. The higher contrast ratio enables LED monitors to achieve a truer representation of dark, creating sharper and crisper images.
LED vs. LCD monitor, which is better for PC gaming
For gaming, look no further than LCD monitors. This is in part due to two factors. Refresh rate and price. The panel-based technology used in LCD monitors, especially the twisted Nematic (TN) model, allows for very high refresh rates that can exceed 240Hz, which is of absolute importance to gamers. Also, the availability and lower prices of LCD monitors mean many up-and-coming gamers can easily afford them
LED vs. LCD monitor for programming
LED monitors have been proven to be the favorite choice for programmers, and it is easy to see why. Especially for front-end developers who handle a lot of /UX modules, the need for color-accurate monitors is paramount. LED monitors (the full-array backlighting variant) are the best for such tasks. The ability for each LED zone to be independently brightened or dimmed gives the programmer a truer reflection of the colors. The zones also be color adjusted to replicate the viewing experience of users on lower-end displays on either mobile or PCs during the testing stages of development.
LED vs. LCD monitor for office
For offices and businesses, a monitor is a key productivity tool that can boost the efficiency of your staff and organization. Depending on what they do in such a company, there are some basic requirements.
Price- Every organization is always looking for cost-effective work tools that would allow their staff to work easily while also not preventing the organization’s account from taking an enormous hit financially.
Brightness- A monitor that can produce high nits is essential as they enclose most office spaces, limiting access to natural lighting.
Power- offices are always looking to using low energy consumption monitors that would not cause a spike in energy use.
LEDs fulfill these conditions as not only are they cheaper than LCD, they are naturally brighter than LCD monitors, and because of the low power consumption of LEDs, they are energy/office-friendly.
LED vs. LCD monitor for gaming
With the proliferation of Esports, a good monitor can be all that stands in the way of you and winning thousands of dollars in various competitions. LCD monitors are an all-in-one solution to the needs of gamers. They come with a high refresh rate that allows your games to render from your GPU seamlessly with no lag coupled with high color accuracy for an all-time gaming experience. LCD monitors are, by a clear margin, the best monitors for gamers.
What is more harmful to the eyes LCD vs. LED monitor?
LCD monitors have been shown to cause eye fatigue and strain at a quicker rate than LED monitors. This is because of the nature of the back lightning in them. The CCFL that lights up LCD panels emits UV radiation, which over long periods can affect eyesight
For the working professionals
The technology used in the design of LED monitors makes them sleeker, lighter, and compact than their LCD counterparts. It allows for ease of movement across different locations. Irrespective of the industry you serve in, LEDs are much easier to manage and maintain. Thrown in the brightness, color accuracy, and price advantage it holds over LCD monitors, and you have a monitor that serves all classes of working professionals.
How LCDs work?
LCDs have two polarizing filters that sandwich a panel filled with liquid crystals that can be turned on or off by passing an electric current through them. When powered, the CCFL backlight passes the first filter, allowing only horizontal light waves to pass through. The liquid crystal at this point is turned off, leaving the screen dark.
As the electric current is supplied to the monitor, the liquid crystals straighten out, change their orientation, and allow the light to pass through it and the second filter before it illuminates the pixels. These pixels then reproduce the accurate color depending on the intensity of light hitting the three sub-pixels (RGB).
Types of LED Monitors
LED monitors come in different shapes and sizes. They are usually the same except in terms of their backlighting and the arrangement of the LEDs that produce the image. The LED monitors available today are:
The edge-lit monitors, as stated in the name, have LEDs that are the source of lightning placed at the edges rather than at the back. They usually come with a light guide, which is a flat plastic or glass panel that is used to ensure that the light from the LEDs is dispersed across the back panel. Edge-lit LEDs shine through design-wise as they allow for manufacturers to make very thin and sleek monitors because of the use and positioning of the LED. Given that they use fewer LEDs than traditional backlight LED monitors, they consume less power. Although, sacrificing the LEDs reduces the picture quality and color reproductions on these screens as they have a poor contrast ratio when compared to full-array LEDs.
For full-array LED monitors, here, the LED’s are arranged across the back screen in an even manner, although in this case, they are grouped into zones. These groups of LEDs can then be controlled individually from other groups, being able to be turned on or off as required. The turning on/off of individual LED zones is known as local dimming. Local dimming allows for the full-array LED monitors to achieve a more color-accurate display as it correctly reproduces images that have both dark parts and light parts. The one downside to full-array backlighting is that it is susceptible to black spots.
Traditional LED monitors implemented WLED (white light-emitting diodes) as their primary source of backlighting, and although the technology took monitor and displays through leaps and bounds of advancement, there was still some white light diffusion that never really allowed for a complete 100% color accuracy. Producing colors on traditional LCD involves powering the backlight to pass through a film of pixels, which contained within themselves, sub-pixels of the red, green, and blue variant. Between the lightning of the LEDs and the light passing through the pixels, there was always that color gamut limitation that did not allow for absolute accuracy in color and quality image reproduction.
This is where RGB monitors came in. To solve this, rather than the backlight be of the white LED variant, it was replaced with multiple LEDs of the red, blue and green variant.
Types of LCD Monitors
LCD monitors, despite everything, still have unique properties that allow them to serve functional purposes and compete, albeit from a lower standpoint against LED monitors. Fas stated earlier, LCD monitors all come with a liquid crystal panel, which, when powered, the crystals change shape. The shapes these crystals take are the factor by which LCD monitors are classified. Let us take a deep dive into the LCD monitors.
The TN here stands for Twisted Nematic. These were the first iteration of LCDs produced when the world started moving away from cathode ray tubes. They have their merits and also their downsides. The very first out of the gate is that they are the cheapest of the LCD available on the market today. The total cost of production of a TN display today stands lower than that of VA, IPS, AFFS panels, which makes them a go-to choice for many individuals. Also, TN panels, by default, can attain very high refresh rates.
TN screen can produce images at a refresh rate that can exceed 240Hz, which makes them a favorite among professional gamers as this is very important and can make or break a player. The not-so-good part of the TN panel is that they have sub-par color reproduction. They produce a less than ideal contrast ratio relative to IPs or VA panels, and the limited viewing angle of TN panels is very much pronounced in situations where you are not staring straight down into your screen.
As defined in the name, for VA panels, when voltage is passed through, the crystal align themselves vertically in the substrate. Light passes through after this change, and then images are produced on the screen. In terms of attributes, VA (vertical alignment) panels are like the middle child of the LCD monitors bunch that sits between IPS and TN displays.
VA panels have a far higher contrast ratio than TN panels. Usually between 3000:1 or 6000:1. This allows it to reproduce color accurate pictures that best TN panels and even many IPS panels. Unlike the TN panels, VA panels have lower refresh rates and are a no go for games. Latency is also an issue here, which more often than not can lead to noticeably blurred pictures.
IPS panels (in-plane switching) have their crystals lying in a plane with the substrate at rest. When voltage is passed through, they rotate, albeit horizontally, to permit light through them. With this in mind, IPS panels provide you with superior color reproduction than both VA and IPS. The color accuracy of IPS panels is their key selling point, as they can achieve true blackness. The viewing angles for IPS panels are also the best, as there is no loss of color or image quality when viewing the monitor from an unconventional angle. It still produces sharp, well-defined, color-accurate images irrespective of your viewing angle. They have lower refresh rates than TN panels, a lower contrast ratio than VA panels, and the technology used in IPS panels makes them more expensive.
The best way to describe S-IPS is IPS on steroids. Take everything great about IPS panels and improve on it. That is what it’s all, really. The S there stands for superior. S-IPS can achieve a higher contrast ratio than standard IPS because of the difference in its pixilation. S-IPS has pixels that have a slightly bent orientation, which allows for them to reproduce superior color-accurate images and provide superior viewing angles throughout.
Advanced fringe field switching panels might sound like a mouthful, but they are no slouch in the LCD market. This is a specialized type of panel used in high-grade professional and controlled environments. It offers to match and, sometimes, much better performance in terms of color accuracy and managing light leakage than S-IPS panels. Highly specialized, AFFS PANELS offer the lowest color distortion as we use them in places where accuracy is measured in the Nano ranges.
Blue phase mode
The key difference between blue phase mode and other LCD types is that it does not require crystal alignment that is an important aspect of VA, TN, and IPS panels. No liquid crystal alignment layers as the technology allow creating its alignment layers. This helps reduce the production cost, and with the removal of the additional mechanical layer, allows LCDs developed with these technologies to attain refresh rate speeds exceeding 240 Hz.
Difference between LCD and LED monitor
LED monitors are accompanied by a sleeker and thinner design than conventional LCD monitors. Especially for the edge-lit variant, placing the LEDs at the edges reduces the amount of space in the back panel, which creates room for a more flat-out display that weighs less and is less bulky. LCD use CCFL panels, which are thicker and therefore inherently make LCD monitors a tad bulkier than LED monitors.
LED monitors reign supreme in this category. By design, LEDs have a higher degree of luminosity than most other light-producing filaments, objects, or gases. The amount of brightness that can be got from an LED display is limited by the amount of voltage you can pass through the monitor. Increasing the voltage invariable increase the brightness of the LED’s which increases the brightness of the monitors.
For backlight, LED monitors to use light-emitting diodes, while LCD monitors use cold cathode fluorescent lighting. CCFL is a technology that is being gradually phased out as LED has been proven to be much better. There is greater control over the light intensity with LED, it allows for the design for thinner panels, and they have a longer shelf life than CCFL backlit monitors. LEDs, which are the source of backlight for LED monitors, generate a “purer white light” than CCFL ever can, allowing LEDs to provide a higher color gamut than LCD.
LED Light Control
There is stability in the Light control offered by LED monitors over their LCD counterparts. With the high level of sensitivity LEDs show to increase and decrease in current, they offer a greater level of control in their measured uses for screens.
Without a doubt, LED-powered monitors produce the highest picture quality around. While a very important factor in picture quality is the amount, placement, and design of the pixels) the ability of LEDs powered screen to impact the picture quality via local dimming makes this a home run. The zones in which the LEDs are arranged can be turned on or off. Allowing for truer darkness to be reached, which improves picture quality.
Contrast and color
Local dimming once again gives LED monitors the edge over LCD monitors. Allowing individual LED zones to be independently turned on or off allows for greater contrast between zones and areas of this screen. This increase in contrast ratio adds more depth to the various colors produced. Increasing the intensity of the backlight can allow you to display a wider spectrum of colors on an LED monitor than its LCD counterpart.
LCD takes this as they have much more viewing angles than LED monitors. The pixilation In LCD screens, especially in the IPS series and S-IPS series, allows for you to view your screen in unorthodox angles without sacrificing color accuracy or picture quality.
LED or LCD Lifespan
LEDs are more durable than LCDs. The plasma that is contained in the CCFL degrades over time as it continuously passes the current through it. LEDs are durable and can comfortably absorb high amounts of current over an extended period, encountering no decrease in performance
LEDs are far more energy-efficient than LCD monitors. Because the LEDs that provide backlighting are masters at efficient energy conversion (LEDs produce very minimal heat in the course of their operations as the semi-conductor that is used in their design efficiently converts the electric current passed through it into pure light energy, leaving very little energy to be dissipated as heat). This transfers over to the monitor as a whole, allowing it to work more efficiently than the conventional CCFL backlit LCD monitors
LED vs. LCD monitor power consumption
While LEDs are very efficient, they use more power. This is because LCD monitor backlights are powered by plasma, which requires a lower starting current to be activated than LEDs
LCD monitor vs. LED monitor
The difference between LCD and LED monitors would always determine which one is best for you. There are areas and situations where LCD comes first, and the same applies to LED. Your choice of monitor is dependent on your use. While LCD tends to be cheaper and gives you a better frame rate, LEDs are more color correct, energy-efficient with a sleeker design
LED-backlit LCD monitor Vs. LED
Traditional LCD monitors use Cold cathode fluorescent light (CCFL) as the source of its backlight, in LED-backlit LCD monitor as the name suggests, then the source of the backlight are LEDs. While they still operate the same way as normal LCD (they still make use of the thin film transistor. The use of LED provides it with more advantages over other LCDs. It is lighter, brighter, less energy-consuming, has a better contrast ratio. All these improvements are recorded in these displays, although they do not match that of pure LED monitors
Which is better, LED or LCD monitor
Without a doubt, LED has shown to be the more forward-thinking technology. Manufacturers are leaning towards more LED monitors as the replacement for LCD. They are just thinner, beautifully designed, brighter, more energy-efficient, and more color accurate. The only downside is the price, which is on a steady decrease as more and more advancements in technology make the manufacturing process cheaper.
The future: OLED and QLED
While LED technology is dominating the market like never, there is a new technology rising on the horizon. OLEDs and QLEDs improve on the qualities of the LED monitors by adding a few properties.
OLED means organic light-emitting diode. This technology makes use of ions (positive and negative) to power the Millions of Individual pixels. The noticeable thing about OLED is the absence of a backlight. This allows it to get an unrivaled contrast ratio, high picture quality, elimination of light bleed and provides multiple viewing angles. They have less than ideal brightness when compared to conventional LED monitors, and they can be pricey.
Here, rather than the White LED that backlights the Typical LED monitors, blue LEDs are used. A layer of quantum dots is positioned after the backlight, and this forms the RGB color spectrum that gives color to images produced. QLED monitors have accurate color reproduction; they are brighter than OLEDs and are much cheaper when compared to OLEDs. But they would still cost you more than cost more than conventional LED monitors.
The advancement in technology means in the not too distant future, LED monitors would become the standard; they are more efficient, color-accurate, brighter, and sleeker design-wise than their LCD counterparts. OLEDs and QLEDs entry into the market make them the best, but they remain out of the price range of the average consumers.
Pros and Cons of LCD Monitors
It consumes less power than LED monitors
It can produce images covering a wide range of color gamut
It is cheaper when compared to LED
It has limited viewing angles
It is slower than LEDs
They are bulkier when compared to LEDs
Pros and cons LED monitors
They are highly efficient
They produce more color-correct images than LCDs
They are more durable than LCDs
They are more expensive than LCDs
They consume more power than LCDs