10% of the population has been said to be sensitive to PWM, and we’re here to help.
Welcome to the beautiful world of PWM, also known as “pulse-width-modulation.”
PWM is a form of brightness control that involves flickering your screen at a very fast rate to “simulate” a less bright display.
Picture this: you’re scrolling through your super sleek smartphone, thinking you’re the tech-savvy superhero of the century. But wait, what’s that? Eyestrain and a headache start creeping in, and suddenly you’re questioning if you accidentally stumbled into a villain’s lair. Well, folks, you might be victim to “PWM flicker,” the not-so-glam side of cutting-edge displays.
Turns out, not everyone’s eyes are party animals that can keep up with this rapid flickering. Some unlucky souls experience discomfort and even migraines from this light show. The flicker messes up the eye-brain tango, leaving you feeling like you danced the night away at a rave you didn’t sign up for.
But fear not! Tech gurus are on the case. They’re crafting flicker-free displays and snazzy adaptive brightness tricks to save us from the flicker frenzy. And you, dear user, can play hero too: tweak those display settings, let a little ambient light in, and for the love of pixels, take breaks.
So there you have it, the sassy scoop on how PWM isn’t just a flashy party trick – it’s also got a dark side that can make you feel like you’ve been hit by a digital tornado. Stay sassy and screen smart, my friends!
The above example of PWM is provided by “DXOMARK” which is one of the first review sites to bring light to this issue. As you may see, the phone on the far left has much darker and thicker bars which generally result in “more flicker” that can cause headaches and eye strain. Some people are more sensitive than others.
PWM is used by the majority of smartphone manufacturers as it is an implementation of screen dimming that helps keep displays color accurate & vibrant.
How is PWM Measured?
The Frequency – Measured in Hertz
I hertz, you hertz, OUR BRAINS HERTZ?! PWM is measured in “hertz” and “percent modulation”. For example phone A may have 240hz PWM with 97% modulation. The “hertz” or “hz” just means how many times per second the light on the phone screen will flicker. 240hz would mean that the light is flickering 240 times per second.
The Modulation – Measured in percentage
The percent modulation refers to the difference between the lightest and the darkest areas between flickering. A 97% modulation would mean that while the screen is flickering, it is going from its brightest point to nearly a full black flicker. A 10% modulation would mean that the screen is just getting slightly dimmer while it flickers. Generally lower modulations are safer for eye strain and headaches for most people. Higher frequency PWM is also generally held to be better for eye strain and headaches.