Ask LH: Can I Replace My Laptop Screen?

Ask LH: Can I Replace My Laptop Screen?

Dear Lifehacker, My Asus U36sg is a nice, light notebook with good features, but the screen is 1366 by 768 and nothing to write home about. Assuming I could afford the $150 hardware cost, I would like to try putting something like a B133HAN03 1600 by 900 screen in its place. How far out of my depth am I? Is this a non-starter and I’m totally deluded? Thanks, Screen Queen

Laptop picture from Shutterstock

Dear SQ,

Swapping a laptop display for a compatible replacement isn’t particularly difficult — the main steps involve removing the display cable, unscrewing/removing the LCD piece and then redoing each step with your new screen (some people like to remove the entire frame from the laptop prior to replacing the screen but this isn’t essential).

Naturally, you need to ensure your model is powerful enough to take advantage of the extra resolution or it will all be for naught. In the case of the Asus U36sg you should be fine.

The next step is to choose a display that will fit properly (you need to consider screen thickness as well as its footprint size and what kind of ribbon connector it uses). If you’re unsure, contact the manufacturer and see if they can recommend any replacement screens for your specific laptop model. They might even sell compatible displays themselves.

You can read some additional tips on how to replace your laptop screen here.


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  • I’ve never swapped out a screen, but I have pulled one apart, and methinks that you’d want to have a good look into the routing of cables (ribbon, etc.) and also mounting – you’d be hard pressed to find something that matches up completely.

    That being said, if your model came out with different possible screen resolutions, then upgrading to something that was ‘meant to fit’ then you might have some luck.

  • I replace laptop screens quite frequently, and when I get a new model that I’m not sure of the correct way to dissasemble it, I usually got to – those guys have quite the database of electronic teardowns, step by step with helpful hints. I can replace a screen in about half hour now, but allow a couple of hours to do it as you don’t want to rush it and break the plastic clips that so many laptops now use to hold together.
    Get a guitar pick – cheapest way to seperate the case.
    If possible, as you remove screws, put them on a piece of paper in the area where they came from (pretend the paper is the laptop) that way you will know at what stage to put in what screw.

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