There's nothing more frustrating than trying to surf the web or watch a movie on a notebook with a lousy display. Washed-out colors and poor viewing angles can make it worse than those little TVs in the back of airplane seats.
Open up the notebook's Web browser and start playing a Hulu or YouTube video. If there's no Internet connection, simply go to the Videos folder, where there's usually a sample clip from Microsoft. As the video is playing, tilt the screen forward and back, and move to either side. Do the colors hold up? Are the viewing angles wide enough? Compare the system in front of you with others before you buy.