1. erik45289's Avatar

    Short version:
    Are you having or have had issues with severe eye strain and/or migraines related to displays, and if so are you having any issues with the Pixel?

    I get severe eye strain and migraines from some screens, and through research and tests I have come to the conclusion that it's caused by three main factors. Brightness, resolution and flickering. LCDs are really good now on phones with high pixel density and with analog dimming the backlight flicker is completely negated.

    The problem is that these darn OLED screens are getting increasingly popular, and since they don't have any backlight the pixels have to have individual brightness control, which is done with PWM. The highest PWM frequency found in a phone with an OLED display is 257.7 Hz in the note 8, with the Pixel XL clocking in at 238.1 Hz.

    My Nexus 5X needs to be replaced at some point within the next year, and the Pixel is the only available upgrade if you want to stay with a phone updated directly by Google. I know for a fact that I won't have any issues with the iPhone screen, Apple is really good with their displays (except the iPhone X which has OLED, I'm looking forward to see numbers on the PWM frequency of that I one to see if Apple has improved here), but I'm an Android guy.

    Any input from those who have had or currently have issues with eye strain and/or migraines related to displays on how the Pixel is working with this is greatly appreciated!
    09-23-2017 12:21 PM
  2. maxburn's Avatar
    Brightness, now with theming via Oreo substratum/Andromeda on stock phones you can load dark or black themes. Helps a lot IMO. Tie that with apps that have dark modes and you are set.

    Resolution, it's up there but there are text size adjustments that help in settings. Personally I moved from the normal Pixel which fits the hand and pocket so well to the XL because my eyes aren't that great anymore.

    Flickering. You are telling me that with a driver at over 200hz you can see that? I'm also thinking that with the driver that high the lit elements never get a chance to shut off, sort of like how a dimmer works on incandescent lighting. I can hear the dimmer high pitch scream but the lighting is steady glow. Where as car LED brake lights at night you can shift your eyes around quickly and see dots, because LEDs can shut off that quick. 30/60hz does bother me on old CRTs / florescent lighting but modern LED doesn't, much higher frequency and can only hear the absolutely cheapest LED lighting.
    09-23-2017 12:34 PM
  3. DMP89145's Avatar
    Ummm.. no.
    maxburn likes this.
    09-23-2017 01:07 PM
  4. erik45289's Avatar
    The thing is that as you turn the brightness down on an OLED display, the flicker gets worse. LEDs react super quickly and will depending on the PWM frequency go almost completely dark. Displaying dark pixels also makes the issue worse since the duty cycle will have to be lower for dark pixels to be dark.

    And now, I can't see flicker at over 200 Hz, but the human brain can still detect it, which is why it's an issue. The brain is amazing at filtering out unwanted things from what the eyes detect, but in this case it causes strain which can lead to migraines and eye strain. The pupils may also do tiny adjustments synced with the invisible frequency which causes eye strain. It's a complex issue and the sensitivity is very individual. I can get symptoms at 250 Hz with AMOLED, that I have personal experience from. I know of people who have complained about LCD displays with backlight PWM rates of 1500 Hz. Others are completely insensitive to frequency and super sensitive to brightness, whereas others only have issues with low pixel density. And some lucky people have no issues at all.

    Car LED tail lights and brake lights are a whole other issue. Has made night driving a huge pain for me.

    As for LED light sources in a home environment, testing reveals that in order to have the same flicker characteristics as an incandescent bulb, the LED has to have about half the flicker percentage due to the quick reaction of LEDs. Incandescent bulbs have quite a bit of thermal inertia dampening the flicker.

    I'm just looking for some real world experiences with the Pixel phones from those who are sensitive to see if it's even worth trying one. I'm not going to use a phone that jeopardizes my health. I'd even rather use an iPhone than have another migraine seizure, as I would think is an accurate description for what I've had.
    09-23-2017 05:54 PM

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