iPhone 11 iPhone 11 impressions from someone who suffers from PWM

tonybarnaby

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I used Android phones with oled for years. I never had any desire for an iPhone, because Android phones were bigger and offered way more in my opinion. I bought my wife an X a few days after launch just out of the blue. She dropped her galaxy s8 and cracked the screen, so I figured I would surprise her with an X and an Apple Watch. I was perfectly content with my galaxy s8+ at the time. Seeing how much she loved her X made me go out a month later and get an 8+ and an Apple Watch for myself. The X was too small for me, and I was waiting for the following year to grab the Xs max. The xs max came out and I immediately developed pwm headaches for the first time ever. I was forced to go back to my 8+.

I upgraded my wife to the 11 pro this year. I spent an hour with her setting it up, and I didn’t have any pain. I was hopeful that maybe it was a one time issue with the max. I took her phone to work yesterday and developed a splitting headache. With the rumor that this is the last year Apple will make an lcd iPhone, I ordered one online and it will arrive in a week. I got impatient, so I went to the store today and bought another 11. I’ll give the one that’s on it’s way to my daughter.

I have it all set up and have been using it with my second SIM card. So far I really like it, but it’s not better then the 8+ in every single way. The camera is the most notable upgrade. The notch doesn’t bother me, and I’m not too bothered by the lack of 1080p or the bezels. I never minded the 8+, and that’s an antiquated design. I don’t notice a drastic speed difference, and the battery life is something that will take a while to assess.

The 8+ looks more “premium” (I hate that word). Someone on here commented the 11 looks like a toy, and in a way I agree. It’s not ugly, but it definitely feels and looks lower end than the 11 pro. My wife said she was happy she wasn’t susceptible to pwm, because she isn’t feeling the 11.

At the end of the day, I got $300 trade in for my 64gb 8+, so it cost me about $500 for a 128gb 11. This will buy me 2-3 years, and hopefully by then Apple will have implemented DC Dimming or something else for people like us who get headaches from their oled. If it’s a feature next year, I will buy the 6.7” iPhone on day 1.

I know a few other people are in the same boat as I am, so feel free to reply to this running thread. I wish I had the 11 pro max, but it just doesn’t work for me.
 

thadoggfather

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Oct 1, 2007
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If PWM affects you, there is no question the XR/11 is the superior choice.

Comfort > latest and greatest ... saving a little coin and having a 128gb option aint bad either (and lower repair costs)

I miss my X, but there was no looking back once my eyes were soothed by XR. traded it in the following week

Now that theres no 3D Touch on any models moving forward, and they're factoring that in with software as the alternative, it feels like the gap is even narrower imo between the 6.1 and its 5.8/6.5 alternatives.
 

WalterSobchak

macrumors member
Aug 17, 2012
30
18
i am going to return my 11 pro, I am not pleased about it since its perfect for me in every way... except the first day i used it, i developed a pretty bad headache, and some nausea. I tried to just get over it, and tried all the "fixes" ... but nah.

Picking up my XR and its no issue using it all day, i was a skeptic about the whole PWM sensitivity, but its no joke.

I am actually considering a new 8 plus as i think its a better design than the XR/11 - for me - and i intend to keep this phone for some years, so i know i need an LCD. But no doubt pick up an 11 and see how you like it, my XR is super fast and has great battery, plus i like the hue of the screen compared to the OLED actually.
 
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ARizz44

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OP I know you've seen my thoughts in various threads about this very issue. I hate this situation and would not wish it on any tech enthusiast. Obviously we recognize this is a first-world problem to the highest degree, but since we are all discussing tech as enthusiasts it warrants discussion. I returned my Pro Max Friday and while I am not having any symptoms back on my 8 Plus, I miss the Pro Max a ton. That was my ideal phone. To the point where given my symptoms seemed quite minimal compared to others, I have contemplated trying it 'again'. I am fighting that urge.

I am grabbing the 11 on Wednesday but already have reservations about it. Mainly, the narrow aspect ratio. I am used to the wide Plus models. That is the reason I never went for the original X. The XS Max negated that for me but PWM was there. This year, same thing with the Pro Max. So that leaves my 8 Plus and the 11.

I do have an urge for the much better camera, better speakers, better internals, swiping gestures, Face ID, and fresh look. I don't desire to use the same designed phone for the 6th straight year. As much as I have loved my 8 Plus, boredom has truly set in and I feel behind the times despite the phone being more than capable as a daily driver. I don't worry that others will have a better phone than me. I cannot help what my eyes bring on.

I guess this next week or so will tell. I am hoping I can grow to like the 11. If not, it is 8 Plus for another year and while that is fine, it is not something that will give me that satisfied, peaceful content feeling. PWM sucks.
 

now i see it

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Jan 2, 2002
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What I don't like about the small LCD screens (6, 6S, 7, 8, XR, and 11) is the 326ppi (or whatever it is) screen resolution. People in droves keep on yammering that you can't tell the difference in sharpness between this and the Plus LCD screens ... but man it's super obvious when using screen zooming. Not pinch zooming in Safari or pictures or PDFs, but accessibility zooming to make things bigger on the screen every once in a while. Also home screen icon zooming.

Try it some time (screen magnification) it's a blurry mess on all the smaller iPhones, but on all the Plus LCD screens it looks great. Also when the home screen is switched to zoomed view, the font outlines aren't sharp & the icons are all jammed together with truncated names. Looks really bad.
 
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tonybarnaby

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I’m thankful that Apple didn’t gimp the 11 in terms of specs. I could have totally seen the pros get 5gb of ram and only 4 on the 11. For those of us waiting on dc dimming or some other pwm solution, the 11 will easily last 3-4 years. I do feel like they could have made the bezels smaller and the look a bit closer to the pro, but the 3 series bmw looks way different than the M and that’s just part of the total package. If the 11 was 1080p and looked identical to the pros (minus oled), I think it would cut into their sales even more than it already does. Someone on the street may not notice the difference, but anyone who is on a forum dedicated to phones could see it immediately. All in all, I’m pleased that the phone does what it is supposed to do and will do so until a fix is more viable. I feel like it’s easier for me because I also enjoy android phones, so my iPhone isn’t a be-all phone like some people who only have 1 phone and don’t like android.
 

ARizz44

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What I don't like about the small LCD screens (6, 6S, 7, 8, XR, and 11) is the 326ppi (or whatever it is) screen resolution. People in droves keep on yammering that you can't tell the difference in sharpness between this and the Plus LCD screens ... but man it's super obvious when using screen zooming. Not pinch zooming in Safari or pictures or PDFs, but accessibility zooming to make things bigger on the screen every once in a while. Also home screen icon zooming.

Try it some time (screen magnification) it's a blurry mess on all the smaller iPhones, but on all the Plus LCD screens it looks great. Also when the home screen is switched to zoomed view, the font outlines aren't sharp & the icons are all jammed together with truncated names. Looks really bad.
I don't notice the resolution as much and likely because my eyes are ****, but I do indeed notice how zoom mode jams the icons together. It's that narrow aspect ratio that I loathe. 6.1" yet it feels so much smaller than a 5.5" screen that is 16:9. If Apple would have kept the screen 16:9 and just reduced the height instead of width I could much more easily accept the lower ppi, all things considered. At the end of the day, if I cannot have my ideal phone, I have to figure out which tradeoffs trump the others. But I agree with you that zoom on the 11 is awful whereas on the Plus models and Max models it is awesome.
 
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tonybarnaby

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i am going to return my 11 pro, I am not pleased about it since its perfect for me in every way... except the first day i used it, i developed a pretty bad headache, and some nausea. I tried to just get over it, and tried all the "fixes" ... but nah.

Picking up my XR and its no issue using it all day, i was a skeptic about the whole PWM sensitivity, but its no joke.

I am actually considering a new 8 plus as i think its a better design than the XR/11 - for me - and i intend to keep this phone for some years, so i know i need an LCD. But no doubt pick up an 11 and see how you like it, my XR is super fast and has great battery, plus i like the hue of the screen compared to the OLED actually.
The 11 is the most “future proof” a 4gb lcd iPhone can be. The rumor is that this is the last lcd iPhone, so I decided to give it a chance.
 

bobsamm

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Oct 6, 2019
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I am glad i don't suffer from PMW, pro max/8 plus/Xr/11 all too big, 8 too small. 11 pro only choice for me.
 
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ARizz44

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Some have wayyy more flicker than others though
That is likely due to the PWM Hz rate. The XS series was measured at 240.4 Hz which is at the very low end of the spectrum. The lower, the more potential PWM negative effects. Some have said the Pro series Hz increased to 290 Hz. There are conflicting reports on this, but there is no denying that more than a few who couldn’t use the X, or Xs series can now tolerate the Pro series. So if they continue to increase the PWM Hz, aside from PC Dimming, it may lead to more users being tolerant of the displays.
 
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Shirasaki

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May 16, 2015
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I have both iPhone XS Max and iPad Pro 2018, and I can feel I love using iPad Pro more even on the bed than iPhone. I don't consider myself susceptible to PWM headache here, but at the end of the day, I certainly hate looking at iPhone XS Max screen a bit more, mainly because of its high brightness and vivid colour. iPad on the other hand, feels a bit more comforting to my eyes, and I reach eye fatigue a bit later as well.

As for PWM flickering, I saw such flickering on LED lights, and can sometimes see the flickering when brightness is going down on iPhone XS Max. So it is real. I hope Apple at some point can develop Something similar to DC dimming in future iPhone and iPad but I don’t want to hold my breath.
 
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tonybarnaby

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I feel bad for all the countless people out there who own an oled iPhone and have no idea where their headaches are coming from. Imagine how many expensive doctors visits you could potentially go to if you tell your doctor you have unexplained headaches. A lot of people who don’t know anything about their phone besides who makes it would never put 2 and 2 together. My Wife of 15 years gave me a lot of crap when I told her I was returning my Max due to pwm. She assumed it was all in my head, because most people would never even think about pwm or what it can do. I showed her a slow motion video of her X and she was really surprised. She suffers from headaches since she was a teenager. I have had maybe a dozen headaches in the last 10 years. Somehow the oled iPhone works for her, but not for me. It’s a damn shame, because the rumored 6.7” iPhone next year sounds like it’s going to be on another level.
- - Post merged: - -

That is likely due to the PWM Hz rate. The XS series was measured at 240.4 Hz which is at the very low end of the spectrum. The lower, the more potential PWM negative effects. Some have said the Pro series Hz increased to 290 Hz. There are conflicting reports on this, but there is no denying that more than a few who couldn’t use the X, or Xs series can now tolerate the Pro series. So if they continue to increase the PWM Hz, aside from PC Dimming, it may lead to more users being tolerant of the displays.
Regardless of if a higher frequency wouldn’t bother us as much, I don’t like what it’s doing even if we can’t see it. Watching it on slow motion video is pretty messed up. That can not be good for us, even with no pain.
 

ARizz44

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Regardless of if a higher frequency wouldn’t bother us as much, I don’t like what it’s doing even if we can’t see it. Watching it on slow motion video is pretty messed up. That can not be good for us, even with no pain.
Yeah I can see that. I shamefully admit I don’t worry so much about actual affects on the eyes. I kind of dismiss that stuff even if it warrants some concern. I think my sole focus has been being able to, or not able to, use the phone I want. Heck, I’m slightly toying with trying to use the Pro Max in a slightly limited manner just so I can have it 🤦🏻‍♂️
 
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tonybarnaby

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Yeah I can see that. I shamefully admit I don’t worry so much about actual affects on the eyes. I kind of dismiss that stuff even if it warrants some concern. I think my sole focus has been being able to, or not able to, use the phone I want. Heck, I’m slightly toying with trying to use the Pro Max in a slightly limited manner just so I can have it 🤦🏻‍♂️
I thought about that too, but it’s just not worth it to me. Even if I was given one for free, I am someone who doesn’t get headaches and the pain isn’t worth having a nicer phone than I have now.
 

pt3000

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Sep 24, 2018
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Just curious, but why does everyone compare the iPhone 11 to a toy? Is it because of the different color choices and $699 price tag? Are the other non-stainless steel iPhones considered toys too? No difference to me since I keep every phone in a silicone case
 

Ungibbed

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Just curious, but why does everyone compare the iPhone 11 to a toy? Is it because of the different color choices and $699 price tag? Are the other non-stainless steel iPhones considered toys too? No difference to me since I keep every phone in a silicone case
That is really strange, after all, it does come in boring old black if the colors on the 11 are too much. I dig my red 11 and matching Otterbox Lumen 👍🏼
 

ARizz44

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Just curious, but why does everyone compare the iPhone 11 to a toy? Is it because of the different color choices and $699 price tag? Are the other non-stainless steel iPhones considered toys too? No difference to me since I keep every phone in a silicone case
When the 4.7” 6 was released, the 5 instantly became a ‘toy’. Then the plus models made the 4,7” models ‘toys’. You can almost bet that if someone claims a phone other than what they are using feels like a ‘toy’, they are struggling for affirmation of their purchases. That hyperbole type of statement calling a phone a toy is all the proof needed of self justification.
 

tonybarnaby

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I've had some solid time with my iPhone 11, and I can give a bit more detailed review of it. It's a very solid phone. I don't feel like I'm missing out on any speed compared to the pro. The LCD screen isn't an issue to me. I wanted the 11 pro max purely for the form factor and the biggest available battery. The battery on the 11 is definitely solid, but it's not close to what the 11 pro max is capable of. It's a phone I can see being reliable and enjoyable to use for 3-4 years. The 5th year is a crap shoot, but I am not in the position where I am forced to keep a phone that long. My hope is that by 2022 Apple will have DC dimming or some other way to negate the PWM issues we currently have. 5g will be more mature by then, and the alleged 6.7" iPhone sounds outstanding.

Things I don't like: I feel like Apple purposely gimped this phone in a few ways. They made the bezels more pronounced because they didn't want it to look as nice as the pro models. It isn't an issue with LCD technology, it's the fact they want people in public to immediately be able to recognize the difference between the 11 and the pros. I've read people on here saying if you don't have the 3 cameras on the back then you can't show off in public lol. The hype is real to some folks.

There are some NICE looking Android phones with LCD screens, like the Zenfone 6 I posted below. That looks way more "premium" than the 11, no question about it.

At the end of the day, Apple OLED doesn't work with my eyes, and I'm not trying to go back to Android again. I would give the iPhone 11 a solid 8/10, but the pro models are both 10/10, and it sucks to realise the only reason I can't own one is because of my eyes. I can not recommend the 11 to anyone except for 2 situations: You can't justify the price of the pro, or you suffer from PWM headaches. The pro phones are better in every single way than the 11, but the 11 has a lot of the things the pros have. I personally wish the 11 was the same form factor as the pro max. That's my biggest issue is how it feels smaller in my hand than my 8+ I'm coming from.
Screenshot_20191030-165146.png
 

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Pixillated

macrumors newbie
Sep 20, 2019
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I loved a lot of things about the iPhone 11. A lot!!!
But, something about the 11 bothered my eyes.
Maybe this ...
A screenshot taken on the 11 on my iPhone 8 +
I picked this screenshot because it clearly shows the size difference.

the dark borders are the size difference on the 8 +. The 11 was narrow for me.
 

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ARizz44

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At the end of the day, Apple OLED doesn't work with my eyes, and I'm not trying to go back to Android again. I would give the iPhone 11 a solid 8/10, but the pro models are both 10/10, and it sucks to realise the only reason I can't own one is because of my eyes. I can not recommend the 11 to anyone except for 2 situations: You can't justify the price of the pro, or you suffer from PWM headaches. The pro phones are better in every single way than the 11, but the 11 has a lot of the things the pros have. I personally wish the 11 was the same form factor as the pro max. That's my biggest issue is how it feels smaller in my hand than my 8+ I'm coming from.
I could not have typed this any better. Not one thing I would change. I sit here knowing I was supposed to go get the 11 today (and the new AirPod Pros) and couldn't get myself to make the hour and a half trek. I may tomorrow, but I am not excited like I should be. I have a strange feeling that if I get the 11, I will feel immediate remorse. The narrow screen bugs the heck out of me and the lack of a telephoto lens stinks. I toss around the idea of trying the Pro Max, again, but I know that outcome too. I just don't want to use my 8 Plus a 3rd straight year regardless of the nice, wide aspect ratio. I want the new cameras, the swipe gestures, the better speakers, the newer style, Face ID, better internals, etc. I just hate that I have to compromise and leave the best phone I have every used, the Pro Max, behind when I leave. Will you be keeping the 11? Or will you be returning to your 8 Plus? I cannot use two phones. I must make a decision.
 
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tonybarnaby

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I could not have typed this any better. Not one thing I would change. I sit here knowing I was supposed to go get the 11 today (and the new AirPod Pros) and couldn't get myself to make the hour and a half trek. I may tomorrow, but I am not excited like I should be. I have a strange feeling that if I get the 11, I will feel immediate remorse. The narrow screen bugs the heck out of me and the lack of a telephoto lens stinks. I toss around the idea of trying the Pro Max, again, but I know that outcome too. I just don't want to use my 8 Plus a 3rd straight year regardless of the nice, wide aspect ratio. I want the new cameras, the swipe gestures, the better speakers, the newer style, Face ID, better internals, etc. I just hate that I have to compromise and leave the best phone I have every used, the Pro Max, behind when I leave. Will you be keeping the 11? Or will you be returning to your 8 Plus? I cannot use two phones. I must make a decision.
I'm keeping the 11 for sure. It's a much better phone than the 8+ in a lot of ways. The only downsides for me are the size in hand (not screen) and the text isn't quite as crisp or large. When you're immersed in the phone, you don't really notice the bezels like you do looking at it on the table. I say pick it up on Apple website, assuming they offer 14 days to return it like the stores do. I also got $300 for my 8+, so all in I paid $502 and doubled my storage from 64 to 128. I will be used to it in no time, but it's not better than the 8+ in every single way like the 11 pro max is