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  • Laptop display panel replacement… gamut, refresh, and getting what you ordered

    Posted on Ascaris Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Laptop display panel replacement… gamut, refresh, and getting what you ordered

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        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I noted the other day in another thread (in the Linux forum, about one of the Linux laptops that proudly displayed its 100% sRGB gamut coverage) that one thing I didn’t care for in my Dell G3 gaming laptop was that the display had a limited gamut of 70-something percent sRGB (note that there are other scales, like NTSC and Adobe). In this case, the shortcoming was in its color accuracy in red… the panel was completely unable to display anything approaching true red. Its idea of red was decidedly orange, and I came to regret buying a unit with such a limited gamut. I knew it had a small gamut when I bought it, but I didn’t think it would bother me.

        So, when I discovered the other day that my display had picked up a cat-related scratch (either when she knocked the laptop off the desk, where it fell between the desk and my desktop) or when she tries to attack moving things on the screen.  She’s barely out of kittenhood, and she will settle down, but for now, there was a fairly deep (though not very long) scratch in the screen.

        I’ve usually preferred non-glare screens, like the one in the Dell, but there is one caveat. If you get a scratch, you can’t polish it out without having a shiny area around where the scratch used to be. I had a display years ago that I converted from a non-glare to a “clearview” or glare-type after I polished out the scratch, and polishing the rest of it was to me a better solution than having it mostly nonglare but with a glare area.

        Shortly after that, the trend for “clearview” panels began, so the next laptop I bought was glare-type, as was (and is) my desktop monitor I am still using now. Now the pendulum has apparently swung back to non-glare types, and all three of my recent laptop purchases (the G3, the Swift, and the Inspiron 11) have had nonglares.

        With my G3’s scratched screen, I could have done the same (and I probably will do it just for the heck of it), but for now, I used the scratch as an excuse to improve upon the limited gamut screen.  I found a compatible model from the same manufacturer as the old one (LG) on the very informative panelook.com site, one featuring 95% sRGB coverage, and I ordered it from a seller on Amazon.

        After I ordered the unit, I discovered that there are 120hz panels from the same manufacturer with the same 95% gamut, and strangely, cost about the same from eBay and Amazon sellers. I could have committed to sending my panel back once I received it (no problem RMAing it unopened) and buying the 120 hz model, but I didn’t really think I would need that.  The GPU in my G3 is just an nVidia GTX 1050 ti, a lower end model, which probably would not be able to hold 120 hz refresh (vsync on) with decent graphical settings. I’d rather have the greater graphical settings at 60 hz than 120 hz with lower graphical settings. Still, it did bother me just a bit that I left some desirable stuff on the table for no cost savings.

        I just got the panel today. The seller had placed the “warranty void if removed” sticker right across the model number on the display, so I could not verify that it was what I had ordered.  One way to find out… I installed it, which is a pretty easy operation on the G3 (no glued bezel!).

        It was immediately obvious that this panel was different than my previous… the color saturation is greater, and as soon as I peeled off the protective film (which I leave on until the installation is complete, for obvious reasons), I saw that this was a glare-type screen, which the model I ordered was not.

        Hm.

        I had it display a field of red, and it did look much better than my old screen, but eyes can be fooled. Our eyes (well, brains, really) don’t perceive absolute colors… we perceive colors in reference to other colors, which is how those optical illusions you’ve probably seen work.  I wanted more info.

        I got out my colorimeter and loaded DisplayCal to characterize the display, and indeed, it shows 94.9% sRGB (rated 95%).  Then I had a thought… this was not the exact model I had ordered, obviously (the model I ordered would be nonglare), so what if I had actually gotten a 120hz model?

        I went to the KDE display settings, went to the refresh pulldown, and… there was the option for 120 hz. Well how do you like that!

        I selected 120 hz and it worked, and I am using that now, or at least I think I am. I’m using nVidia’s Prime Sync to eliminate tearing, and one of the effects it has had was that I can turn vsync off at the compositor and still never have any tearing… it’s handled by Prime Sync behind the scene. I don’t know how that would interact with the 120 hz option in the settings. I do know that as in Windows, the resolutions and refresh rates that are offered in the settings are those that the panel or monitor reports that it can do, and if the OS tells the GPU to go 120 hz and it still works, it should be working.

        So, I did get the greater gamut, and subjectively it looks much better all around, and it looks like it is a 120 hz model too.  The only counterpoint is that I didn’t get the non-glare display I wanted.  But then I began to think about that scratch, and how much I really don’t want another one, even if I can, in this case, polish it out without making the repaired area stick out like a sore thumb.

        I thought that I could use a screen protector of some sort. I had tried one on that screen long ago that I mentioned, the one that I ended up converting to a glare-type, and it was just awful looking. I removed it, and sure enough, I got a scratch. Of course! But that was a long time ago… maybe they’re better now, I thought.

        After I ordered the new display panel the other day, I looked at the laptop screen protectors that were (are) available, and they’ve apparently improved massively. The one I had years ago had adhesive around the edges, and the areas without adhesive looked dull and milky, while the adhesive areas looked fine.  The ones now look much better designed, with adhesive over the entire inner surface, leaving no air gaps to mess things up.

        The neat thing is that if you are going to use a screen protector, it is the finish on that screen protector that dictates the glare potential. The glare-type screen should actually be easier to get a good result with as the adhesive won’t have the same possibility of micro-bubbles in the nonglare coating or finish.

        In other words, if I want to use a screen protector, whether it is a glare type or nonglare type, it is probably better to have a glare screen to stick it to.  I’ll be continuing to look at that… there are a ton of choices, many with glowing reviews, but you know how that goes. They might not be real.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

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