Laptop Displays .........


Diamond Member
Oct 16, 1999
Can anyone point to a source that explains the levels of laptop displays, ie whats best in order??

I see TFT, XGA+, XVGA, blah, blah, blah and have no clue as to what it all means.

Can someone help a fella out??




Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2001
TFT is just a type of LCD screen type -- nearly all laptops these days use TFT screens, though some cheaper low end, or used models, may have used an inferior type called HPA (avoid at all costs).

As for screen resolution, generally the higher the resolution, the better the screen is. However, some people with bad eyesight might not enjoy a 1600x1200 pixel 15" screen as the fonts and toolbars can be too tiny (windows can adjust many properties, but still needs some work here).


Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
TFT (Thin Film Transistor) - TFT, or active-matrix, displays provide excellent contrast and scrolling speed because the screen is refreshed more frequently than in DSTN displays. The fast response time and high contrast ratio result in display quality that is superior to DSTN or HPA. TFT displays can be viewed clearly from just about any angle. Their superior display quality enhances multimedia presentations.

DSTN (Double-Layer Super Twist) - DSTN displays are much more affordable than TFT screens but produce a lower quality picture than active-matrix displays. DSTN displays have double the response time (time to form screen graphics) of TFT displays and only half the viewing angle capability. Contrast ratio (or picture sharpness) for DSTN displays is also significantly lower than for TFT. DSTN uses less power than TFT.

HPA (High-Performance Addressing) -

The newest in latop screen technology is HPA, also known as Fast DSTN, HCA (for high-contrast addressing) and Super DSTN. It is an improved version of DSTN that offers a faster response time, higher contrast ratio and wider viewing angle. This is an ideal solution for many mobile PC users and is poised to replace DSTN in mid-range and value mobile PCs. It provides better viewing than a DSTN display at a better price than TFT, but still not as good as TFT.

Common Mobile PC Resolutions: (Name Stands for Resolution and equates to pixels)
VGA Video Graphics Array 640 x 480
SVGA SuperVGA 800 x 600
XGA Extended Graphics Array 1,024 x768
SXGA SuperXGA 1,280x1,024
SXGA+ SuperXGA+ 1,400x1,050
UXGA Ultra Extended Graphics Array 1600x1200

LCD displays all have a Native Resolution . . . that is what is shown above. That is that particular display's best image . . . any deviation from that will degrade the image. What is possible depends on screen size as well as video chipset and memory.