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"Compatible" Laptop Screens and alternate models

All laptop screens are compatible models, even your original.

Laptop manufacturer's are actually assembling machines made from parts that are from 3rd parties. For example they will buy the processors from Intel or AMD, usually, hard disks from Seagate & Western Digital and screens from LG, Samsung, Boehydis and AUO for example.

As the laptop makers do not actually produce the screens they fit into their laptops they have no control over production or market availability. Components will change and screen models will also change over the lifetime of a laptop model's manufacture.

Here's a good example from the Lenovo website:

If we enter our machine serial number into their parts lookup system, we can see a nice list of the components they have fitted to this particular model at the time it was made.


If I press the Check button on this website I get this nice list below and i've isolated the screen information for the machine:



As you can see from the top left of the next screen we are told that this laptop is fitted with B156HTN03.6 FHD AG. I know from my experience that this is made by AU Optronics.

But what is this to the right hand side we are offered equivalent models, what's this? Basically what has happened here is that Lenovo have used screens from 3 different manufacturer's in this machine, we have the AU Optronics B156HTN03.6, we have the CHI MEI /Innolux N156HGE EAB and also a BoeHydis HB156FH1-401. 

Are these screens all the same thing and why have Lenovo used different models?

The short answer is yes, these are all as Lenovo claim, equivalent models. If you order a replacement screen from them they will send you one of those 3, or a newer model if those are not available and they have no stock of the originals. To be a compatible or equivalent screen it has to fit the laptop and work, which means the screen has to have the same technology as the old one, but why different models?

Different models have to be purchased as LCD manufacture changes frequently - and so do prices with the fluctuation in  £ and $. The global LCD market is massive and LCD models change every quarter. To keep the industry moving new models are produced almost monthly and old models are removed from circulation. It could be that during some times of the year some brands or models of screen are unavailable or become obsolete. It could be that changes in global currency like the dollar affect decisions to buy different brands of the same type of screen.

Screen suppliers work like laptop manufacturers - we buy the currently available models from Asia

We can only buy what is being produced and offered today - and specific model numbers change so if your laptop is more than a year old it is very likely the screen inside it is 2-3 years old and unlikely you will be able to find an exact replacement. No sweat - like car tyres there are a myriad of compatible options. We research these options and provide the best available product on the market today. It really isn't in our interests to try and deceive clients and the substitution of part codes is not a deception and how the LCD industry MUST operate - there is no other option.

Is the compatible screen as good as the original?

Every screen produced will differ slightly from the other, even from the same manufacturer. From different brands there can be subtle differences. The type of glass used and the electronics on the back of the screen that decode the colours can produce slightly different effects - CHI MEI for example use a "green" glass which produces nice contrast ratios and blacks. 

Because every brand of screen and every screen model can exhibit slightly different display properties and the fact that exact match parts are impossible for us to provide most of the time, an alternate or compatible screen has to have

1) A compatible connector and signalling
2) The same form factor as the old screen
3) Software loaded onto the screen must be compatible with the original screen's software.

It has to fit and work for it to be deemed an alternate panel.

What about customers that complain about colour gamut or viewing angles?

Most people have no idea how the industry works. Those people should do some research before they complain to us or leave bad feedback. Most people order a screen from us then leave a glowing review as they are so happy they have replaced their screens and often tell us the replacement is better. One in a thousand customers attacks us for sending an alternative model, the most recent gentleman I spoke to ordered a screen model from us that stopped production in 2009 - we shipped an alternate model (which is all that is available today nearly a decade later) and this chap wrote damaging things about us on review sites even after I spent time with him to explain all this above.

A very small handful of clients reject everything I say without doing any research or speaking with other suppliers like ourselves.

Why don't suppliers care about colour gamut and viewing angles?

We have 150,000 part codes and rising on our database. Most of these are not being made anymore - so we advertise a screen compatible with xyz part code and also say in our terms that if a model is not available we will send the next best thing or currently available model.

Lets look at Lenovo: They have 3 models of screen above for the laptop I did a parts search for.
Are these identical products?

1. AU Optronics B156HTN03.6
Lenovo give no version or hardware info here, as this panel model comes in different hardware and firmware versions. You could receive this exact model in a different hardware version or an alternative below

Lets do some research, if we go to Panelook.com we can see details about this panel
http://www.panelook.com/B156HTN03.6_AUO_15.6_LCM_overview_23699.html

Panelook tell us that this screen is 1920x1080 MATTE and 60hz with a 30 pin EDP connector. Thats the spec of this screen.

There is some additional information that LCD suppliers do not involve with or laptop makers and I will show you this now.

In addition to the important compatibility specs there are other features of this model that are not taken into account - like the type of glass it is made of -and-

Colour Gamut: 45%

This means this screen can output 45% of the Adobe RGB colour spectrum. Pretty low.

Contrast Ratio: 500:1, seems pretty average.

This measures the brightness of the screen.

Lets check the next model they offer as an alternative

2. BoeHydis HB156FH1-401

http://www.panelook.com/HB156FH1-401_BOE_15.6_LCM_parameter_23016.html

These obviously have the same physical form factor, same connector and same EDP 30 pin signal connector - its a compatible model that can be supplied today:

But wait, what is this?


Contrast Ratio 600:1 - this screen is 20% brighter than the above model
Colour Gamut : Unknown on this panel

Conclusion

Laptop screen manufacturers and laptop screen suppliers must work with a limited set of compatibility parameters as they are governed by the laptop panel makers and current market trends. It's not possible to match every spec from an old product to a new one.

We provide a massively cheaper alternative to going back to the manufacturer of the laptop and buying the same panel we've sourced from Asia at 300% markup.

For us to supply a compatible screen it will fit and work and should be as good or better as the original but there could be minor differences that, if you are a professional graphics person or photographer and have a specialist screen, you might want to check which model we are currently sending out. Most people will have no idea about this and will be just over the moon to repair their laptop, a very few people like to get upset if a different part is provided, some do not even want to try the part we've sent (which can often be better than the original).

2 Year guarantee and 14 day cool off period

Our terms of sale include many features to protect your purchase including a massive 2 year guarantee and 14 day cool off period in which you can send back any product to us for full refund without restocking fees. You can also use services like PayPal to add an additional level of buyer protection. We are sure if you take the time to look at our many stunning reviews you will see that our customers, on the whole, are happy customers!

Comments (3) -

  • kamran

    26/05/2016 11:40:38 |

    Can i get the screen model no. for HP-Compaq 783089-001, as I need to buy a screen from you.

  • Claude Nadon

    30/08/2016 22:14:27 |

    Nice explanation for users to understand the contingencies of parts sourcing.

  • Matt Deacalion

    04/01/2017 12:14:03 |

    An informative post, and it makes sense. I didn't think about it from a manufacturer's and supplier point of view before. Thanks!

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