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Original topic:

Has PWM been addressed on the S21 series?

(Topic created on: 16-01-2021 01:28 PM)
JRUK
Apprentice
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Galaxy S21 Series

I cannot use any OLED iphone since the launch of the X and Samsung supply the displays. Looking at an OLED phone with PWM and I can feel the muscles in my eyes start to ache which results in a migraine. The new iphone 12 models all make my eyes water and give me a multiple day headache. I've been unable to upgrade to any flagship phone for over 4yrs as I am clearly PWM sensitive.

 

I've read on notebookcheck that the S20 FE 5G stops flickering above 30% brightness and maintains 120hz which is still not a high rate but a sign Samsung are aware of the issue.

 

Question is = have they fixed/addressed this on the new S21 range?

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12 REPLIES 12
Anonymous User
Not applicable
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Galaxy S21 Series

there is little info around about that, i would say none, you may want to see it for yourself with a test device in a shop or look on some specialised screen test site which does those kind of test (PWM not nly colour space ect...) however i know none that tests that myself

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Davidd444
Apprentice
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Galaxy S21 Series

I'd keep an eye for the S21 review on www.notebookcheck.net

They will post the PWM rate for the device. I feel your pain literally, I can't use any flagship that has a refresh rate lower than 250, my main driver is the Pixel 5 that has refresh rate of 350 which is no problem.  My other device is an iphone 11 pro that has refresh rate of 290. Did you try out the 12pro? That has a good refresh rate at 275hz, I used it w no issues but I wanted a good Android phone so I passed it to my wife.  

 

The S20 Fe is horrible in regard to the PWM, it is at 220hz.  I tried all those apps that help but my eyes can catch the flicker. 

The last samsung  device I could stand using was the Note 10 plus that scored 250hz and returned the S20 cause it hurt my eyes at 242hz, loved the phone but no use torturing myself with it.

JRUK
Apprentice
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Galaxy S21 Series

As an iPhone user I've tried all the OLED versions since the X and cannot use any of them. The 12 Pro Max didn't give me instant issues like previous iPhones but over several hours I still ended up with eye strain which resulted in a migraine. 

 

I referenced the S20 FE "5G" specifically as this is the first model that appears to have a change to the display to be able to hold a steady rate of 120hz rather than dancing between values, but I have not tried one myself.

 

As I've hit the end of the road with Apple I am considering the switch to Samsung. Whatever the PWM rates Samsung have used this year will signal what Apple with have on their phones either way.

I'm considering Samsung as they are cutting edge and have the eco system = phone + watch + earbuds.

 

 

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Davidd444
Apprentice
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Galaxy S21 Series

Below I provided the pwm rate for all the recent samsung devices, based on what you said about the iphone 12 pro max it seems that anything under 250hz will give you a headache. The 12 pro max is rated at 238 and the regular X is at 240hz. Hope the chart below helps, let's hope the S21 series increases the hz to avoid the flicker we seem to see.

 

S20 242hz

S20+ 214hz

S20 ultra 240hz

Note 20 250hz

Note 20 ultra 245hz

S20FE 227hz

 

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) .

 

This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.

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JRUK
Apprentice
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Galaxy S21 Series

Well to answer my own question - it's a hard no.

Waiting for the next one....again. Very disappointing Samsung. This PWM is far too low.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Samsu...proved-in-many-ways-but-not-all.517524.0.html

Another less positive aspect of organic displays is the so-called OLED flicker, which the S21 Ultra is not devoid of either. Samsung decided to forego a DC dimming mode. In minimum brightness the display dropped to just 120 Hz, which is very low but at least constant. With increased brightness the PWM frequency varied between 227 and 250 Hz with a constant 240 Hz at maximum brightness.

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Davidd444
Apprentice
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Galaxy S21 Series

Hi JRUK,

let’s wait and see what the PWM is on the regular S21 or S21+, in the past i noticed it’s always lower on the top premium device, since the Ultra is 250 it may be higher for the other devices..I hope. 

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Markdotpeters5
First Poster
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Galaxy S21 Series

Hi Davidd444,

Firstly thanks for the gret contributions you've made to this thread, how do you find the pwm rate for  those devices?  I have a long list of phones I just can't use unfortunately, which is becoming a real pain.

 

thanks

M

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JamesAutoDude
First Poster
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Galaxy S21 Series

I've noticed this with the S20+ as well. Unfortunately after the return window but due to using it wayyy more often from the lockdowns, I developed crazy stuff even the insides of my eyes twitching... Freaking weird. Where do you find this info? I was curious if the Note 9 or Note 10 would be any better since they're cheap... Now I gotta hope someone will buy this off me for over $500 😭

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Davidd444
Apprentice
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Galaxy S21 Series

Go to notebookcheck for pwm ratings https://www.notebookcheck.net/PWM-Ranking-Notebooks-Smartphones-and-Tablets-with-PWM.163979.0.html

Based on the hz rate I'd buy the note 10 at 236hz, no wonder your eyes hurt w the S20+ since the hz rate is 214!!

Anything over 240 is ok for me but need to take breaks. The s21 ultra is at 250hz, maybe it can your next device.

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