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LED Vs. LCD Monitor

Are LED monitors better than their LCD predecessors? How are the two technologies different in terms of functionality and performance? All these questions will be answered by the LED vs. LCD comparison presented in here.
Omkar Phatak
The age of CRT (cathode ray tube) displays is over and LCD displays are already being replaced with LED screens. Technology is evolving at an exponential pace, pushing existing technologies into obsolescence. Just when we thought LCD screens will be the default choice for some time to come, they were supplanted by LED monitors, with their superior power efficiency and rich picture quality.

Considering that we spend a major amount of our lifetime in front of screens these days and eyes are not a replaceable commodity, a discerning consumer must opt for technology that is soft on the eyes, while providing a rich visual experience.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about differences between LED (Light Emitting Diode) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitors that needs clarification. Here's a succinct analysis of the similarities and differences between the two models.

LED Vs. LCD Monitor Comparison
Let me begin this comparison between LED and LCD monitors with an explanation of fundamental differences in their underlying design.

How Do LED monitors Differ from LCD Monitors in Technology?
LED and LCD monitors are based on the same basic technology for image display, but differ in the kind of backlighting  used. While LCD monitors use CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamps) for backlighting, the latter use light emitting diodes. This is the prime difference between the two display technologies. So LED monitors are in actuality, a type of LCD monitors or an improvement over them.

Unlike CRT monitors that generate their own light through cathode ray incidence on fluorescent materials, LCD displays have to rely on external lighting, as their display is created through manipulation of light, passing through polarized liquid crystals. The backlighting affects picture quality substantially and light shed by LEDs offers superior picture quality compared to LCDs.

This is because LEDs offer much more gradation in intensity and a larger light wavelength spectrum, providing a truer color quality. These types of monitors offer a better dynamic contrast ratio as well. So if you compare LED and LCD monitors from a gaming perspective and for use in intensive graphic applications, LED monitors are surely better choices. They provide vivid and more lifelike colors, with better gradation.

Depending on the way in which LEDs are placed in the panel, there are two types of monitors:

WLED: In this type of a monitor, the white LEDs are placed along the edge of screen, taking up less space overall, making the entire monitor slimmer, as well as cheaper. This is the most common type of LED screen available in the market.

RGB LED: These comparatively expensive variants have Red-Green-Blue LEDs placed throughout the panel, providing a richer range of colors in the process.

Colors
LED monitors cure one of the basic problems with LCD TVs, which is the inability to display true black colors. They can produce true black hues, by switching off LEDs entirely, increasing the blackness quotient of the screen, providing better contrast in the process.

Power Consumption
LED monitors are a very recently introduced technology and they are preferred over LCD monitors because of the amazingly rich picture quality and viewing comfort. One more advantage that LED monitors have over LCD ones is the power consumption factor. LED monitors require a lot less power to operate than cold cathode fluorescent lamps. This property can be attributed to the inherently low energy required by an LED to function. Their power consumption is as much as 40% lesser than conventional LCD monitors.

LED monitors are also a lot softer on the eyes than LCD monitors, making them popular choices for people who work for long hours on their desktop computers. They are also a lot more eco-friendly, because mercury is not used in their production. LEDs last longer than cold cathode fluorescent lamps, with little reduction in their power output over time, which makes these monitors long-lasting.

Cost
To conclude this LCD vs. LED monitor comparison, let us compare the price ranges. One major factor that has been holding back LED technology from reaching the masses is the high price factor. The manufacturing of these devices is a bit costlier currently, compared to LCD displays which have raised their overall price. However, the cost gap is slowly lowering with time, as the demand for superior LED back-lit displays is on the rise all over the world. Even laptop computers and now smartphones come equipped with LED displays. While some of the best LCD monitors are available for a price around $100, the best LED monitors fall in the $150 to $200+ range.

Verdict
Without doubt, LED is the better technology in terms of color richness, contrast and power consumption, which makes them worth the higher initial investment cost.

Some of the best LED monitors currently are the Dell UltraSharp U2312HM ($209.19), HP DreamColor LP2480zx ($2,719.99), HP 2310e ($499.00), the Samsung PX2370 ($311.93) or any monitor from the Samsung Syncmaster series. So if you are planning to upgrade your PC monitor or television set, LED is the way to go.