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MICHAELSD

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
5,430
3,437
NJ
I have a bit of a lingering problem: I still get tension headaches from the PWM on iPhone 13 Mini.

It’s what’s caused me to return iPhone X in favor of iPhone 8 Plus, which was admittedly my least favorite iPhone having owned every generation, and out of necessity avoid iPhone XS, iPhone 11, and iPhone 12. I did try iPhone 12 Pro Max, although headaches were about as problematic as iPhone X.

Long story short Apple did improve the brightness controller on the iPhone 13 series, and my headaches with iPhone 13 Mini in particular have been significantly reduced. My main issue is that I still get persistent tension headaches after use, which include throbbing behind the eye although it’s noticeably and relatively significantly subdued compared to iPhone X to the point where I’m almost able to keep it.

What I’m finding is that I love this little iPhone so much, it’s my favorite of the current generation, that I don’t want to return it. My previous second-generation iPhone SE feels antiquated in comparison. I’m surprised how much larger the display on iPhone 13 Mini feels, while the phone itself is smaller. It’s a major improvement, and the OLED display ironically makes it that much more of a joy to use.

For the average consumer a ~ $250 price difference between iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone SE should be easily justifiable. Yet, the new iPhone SE will likely overtake sales of iPhone 13 Mini which is a shame since I believe this is the ideal size for an iPhone. It’s zero-compromise compared to a standard iPhone 13. In fact, the higher pixel density on the display is noticeable and makes it even better.

That’s beside the point since it may be most beneficial for me to return iPhone 13 Mini and switch to a third-generation iPhone SE. I’m worried I’ll regret my decision, although I don’t have much of a choice: it’s either deal with the reduced headaches of iPhone 13 Mini or switch to iPhone SE, which is better than expected in practical use, and possibly feel disappointed for the next few years.

iPhone SE does seem like it will be a powerhouse and the new glass will serve to refresh a dated design. It was great to have TouchID while wearing a mask. Even the display has a color calibration that matches iPhone 13, and should serve to hopefully be further improved on the new generation.

I was able to keep my second-generation iPhone SE for ~ 8 months before switching to iPhone 13 Mini. I’d likely be looking ahead to iPhone 14 hoping that Apple continues improving the PWM rate. Regardless, I will definitely switch to the latest iPhone SE if I return my iPhone 13 Mini—which is a decision I’ll have to make by Friday.

While being sensitive to the PWM on OLED iPhone’s is unfortunate, Apple has fortunately been great to deal with regarding it.
 

ctjack

macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2020
1,401
1,434
new iPhone SE will likely overtake sales of iPhone 13 Mini which is a shame
It will. Not because people are greed for $250, but because it will be given away at $250, $200 and in the end offered for free with so many cellular companies. At the same time you rarely see a discount for the mini model and none for regular 12/13.
 
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lkalliance

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2015
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I'm sorry to hear about the struggles you've had on the OLED screens. But I agree that the presence of the SE 2022 makes things much better: you can still have an extremely capable iPhone, which when you get down to it doesn't have that many things you have to give up to feel physically better. :)
 

rr23

macrumors member
Oct 24, 2021
83
251
I had the same problem with insane eye strain and headaches.

I went from SE2 to 12 Mini to 13 Mini to 13 Pro. Now I’m ditching the Pro for the SE3.

I never experienced migraines and eye strain with LCD screens.
 

sorgo †

Cancelled
Feb 16, 2016
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Although I love the design and display quality (beside the max brightness) of my iPhone 12, I’m tempted to ditch it for the new SE. Deep, true OLED blacks, vibrant colors, and good viewing angles are nice obviously but unless I’m shelling out for ProMotion (not gonna happen anytime soon) the smoother appearance of onscreen motion on a 60hz LCD display vs its OLED equivalent makes the trade-off kinda worth it to me. Although I no longer get headaches from Apple’s OLED screens, the eye strain is definitely there when scrolling content, which to be quite honest is what I am doing a lot of the time.

I have also been without insurance on my 12 and I’m afraid of the financial repercussions should anything happen to it. Even if it would very much be a “side-grade,” trading in my 256 GB 12 for the SE would take the price for 256 GB plus two years of AppleCare+ with theft and loss down to $308 which feels reasonable for a fast, internally future-resistant phone with good insurance coverage. I’m sorry for the off-topic question but if anyone has any advice or could offer input on what to do I’d appreciate it.
 

JM

macrumors 601
Nov 23, 2014
4,082
6,373
WHAT???? Not more of you loony PWM people again! 🤪

What’s up, MichaelSD? Haha

I was thinking about the switch to SE22 as well, but since I had eye pain issues with the 11, is probably have them with SE as well.

Also, I’ve used the Ultra wide lens a surprisingly high number of times since November. The OLED darks aren’t that important: the LED screens are still really good.

Battery life is something I’d be sad to lose going from mini to SE, though according to Apple the battery stats are the same as the 12mini.

Though I would very much like to go back to the little bit wider keyboard of the SE… less typing mistakes.

Good luck deciding! If you never had eye issues with the SE2, then SE3 sounds like a good decision 👍
 

MICHAELSD

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
5,430
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NJ
WHAT???? Not more of you loony PWM people again! 🤪

What’s up, MichaelSD? Haha

I was thinking about the switch to SE22 as well, but since I had eye pain issues with the 11, is probably have them with SE as well.

Also, I’ve used the Ultra wide lens a surprisingly high number of times since November. The OLED darks aren’t that important: the LED screens are still really good.

Battery life is something I’d be sad to lose going from mini to SE, though according to Apple the battery stats are the same as the 12mini.

Though I would very much like to go back to the little bit wider keyboard of the SE… less typing mistakes.

Good luck deciding! If you never had eye issues with the SE2, then SE3 sounds like a good decision 👍
My problem is that I still love the OLED display despite the headaches, so much so that I’m unable to make up my mind. With previous OLED iPhones I had no choice but to get rid of them, whereas with iPhone 13 Mini I love the form factor and get significantly reduced headaches.

It’s of course a problem that I get headaches at all, including persistent headaches. I swear I’d probably end up upgrading annually again if Apple released an Accessibility option—these latest iPhones are by far the best Apple has ever produced, and a major reason is the gorgeous OLED display that makes content pop and look incredibly natural. Holding onto my iPhone 8+ for three years was downright painful, and even the second-generation iPhone SE lost its appeal in less than a year.

It will be a sad day if I return this phone, even if that’s the direction I’m likely heading. I’m slightly concerned that the third-generation iPhone SE will feel too antiquated to take its place. While the internals are impressive and make it capable, it’s still an older design with a 720p LCD display.

It feels like there’s this amazing product that you appreciate and enjoy as much if not much more than the average person, yet you’re the only one not able to use it. That’s not an accurate statement of course since quite a few seem to be bothered by PWM, but it seems that way when out in the world surrounded by new iPhones.
 
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faraine

macrumors newbie
Nov 13, 2018
27
27
This is what I would do:
1 - Return de 13 Mini while you can and buy the SE 2022.
2 - Use the SE 2022 for a while and evaluate the display, battery life, etc
3 - Compare pros and cons between SE 2022 and 13 Mini
4 - Keep the SE 2022 or return it and buy the 13 Mini
 

Andeddu

macrumors 68000
Dec 21, 2016
1,690
2,082
You can’t use these OLED displays if you’re one of those rare people who suffer from the PWM. I say you should switch to the SE3 and keep it and stick with LCD displays until different OLED tech comes out which doesn’t give you headaches.
 

JM

macrumors 601
Nov 23, 2014
4,082
6,373
This is what I would do:
1 - Return de 13 Mini while you can and buy the SE 2022.
2 - Use the SE 2022 for a while and evaluate the display, battery life, etc
3 - Compare pros and cons between SE 2022 and 13 Mini
4 - Keep the SE 2022 or return it and buy the 13 Mini
Good idea. Slight edit.

Keep Mini.
Buy SE3.
Try for two weeks return window. To decide.
 

Saturn007

macrumors 68000
Jul 18, 2010
1,529
1,416
Do the screen OLED problems happen after even short use, say 15 minutes to 1/2 hour, or only after long use and many hours?

Does Dark Mode help?

I can readily see my being one of those who suffer, but then I rarely use my iPhone for more than 10-15 minutes at a time.

More often on my Mac, iPad, or IPT.
 

Reggaenald

Suspended
Sep 26, 2021
864
798
Whatever your decision is/was in the end, please consider making your case to Apple. Look for the senior of the coresponding department and write them a letter stating your experience, so they know they have to continue working on this, fast.
 
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MICHAELSD

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
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NJ
Good idea. Slight edit.

Keep Mini.
Buy SE3.
Try for two weeks return window. To decide.
This was the solution we settled on.

Apple initiated a return for iPhone 13 Mini which gives me a couple more weeks. In the meantime I’ll likely purchase a new iPhone SE and figure out if it’s suitable. It’s a tough spot to be in since I would have kept iPhone 13 Mini if the PWM wasn’t an issue anymore instead of going through needless returns.
 

MICHAELSD

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
5,430
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First impressions:

The design feels fresh and new thanks to improved glass and aluminum finishes. Midnight reminds me of the Jet Black color on iPhone 7, which was among my favorite iPhone designs.

Unboxing and powering on the new iPhone SE yields a surprisingly strong first impression. The design is admittedly stunning. Kudos to Apple for offering such high-quality finishes that could easily be on a flagship iPhone.

I’m currently in the process of restoring the new iPhone SE with a backup from my iPhone 13 Mini, and that’s where disappointment begins to settle in. The display quality is night-and-day. While the LCD is solid for what it is, it has the same apparent lack of sharpness I noticed after becoming accustomed to iPhone 13 Mini and viewing a friend’s iPhone 11.

Colors on the display are fine, although not eye-popping or trying to emulate the iPhone 13 line as well as expected. This display is making the phone feel like a toy, mainly due to the pixel density. The camera was also disappointing on the first trial run, although it’s important to keep in mind that the sensor is four generations behind and new silicon can only do so much for computational processing.

While I think I could grow more accustomed to iPhone SE over time, this is getting downright painful at this point. iPhone 13 Mini offers a drastic improvement at a relatively sound price point. On the plus side of course there are no headaches with iPhone SE, but it’s surprising there’s still no Accessibility option on OLED iPhones.

I’ll give iPhone SE more of a chance and I think if I were to set iPhone 13 Mini aside for a while I could grow to like it more. There is a certain charm to the old iPhone design, and in a vacuum the display isn’t bad. My main issue is that a 326ppi resolution looks oddly pixelated coming from a newer iPhone, and Apple could have incorporated a newer camera sensor with Night Mode. There are a surprising amount of pros and cons, although the only benefit over iPhone 13 Mini is the slightly lower price as I opted for 128GB and the lack of PWM.
 

MICHAELSD

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
5,430
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NJ
I can’t do it. iPhone SE is giving me anxiety five minutes in and making me feel terrible in the process. iPhone 13 Mini is a dramatic improvement, and $479 for a phone I don’t enjoy just because I’m sensitive to PWM is still a hefty price to pay. It was difficult enough purchasing iPhone 8 Plus over iPhone X and paying almost the same amount for a phone I enjoyed half as much, and I’m not sure I can do it again. iPhone SE third-generation is shaping up to be perhaps my least favorite iPhone ever as iPhone 8 Plus was, and I’d likely be stuck with it for 2-3 years.

After an extended life experiment of minimizing phone usage as much as possible iPhone SE is not working for me. iPhone 13 Mini feels rewarding and is a joy to use, and is theoretically the perfect next step as someone who’s still trying to reduce phone usage but wants the best experience possible when I am on it. The OLED display, size, and even the blue aesthetic are so immensely enjoyable. iPhone SE reminds me of an iPhone 6s, which I used for two weeks then moved back to an 8+. I don’t think the jump was an issue of size, but rather features. iPhone 13 Mini has zero compromises compared to iPhone 13.

I’m essentially trading anxiety for headaches, and both options are frankly slightly disheartening to me. It’s been five generations of PWM, we need a real solution. I’m sad to say iPhone SE is an alternative, but may not be an answer for those that have already become accustomed to a newer OLED iPhone.
 
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rr23

macrumors member
Oct 24, 2021
83
251
It all varies drastically from person to person.

I went from 13 Pro to the SE3. Did I notice a drastic difference between the screens? - Of course I have. It was instantly apparent that the SE3 screen is inferior.

But guess what… about three days in my eyes adjusted. And now I think it’s perfect. Videos and photos are still very clear. Plus, my headaches and eye soreness are gone.

We raved about how amazing LCD’s were for a decade when we left the iPhone 4 and 5 era. Did our eyes suddenly evolve? lol

Today everyone is raving about OLED. In 5 or 10 years, everyone will be saying how bad the OLED was. Rinse and repeat.

The SE3 LCD is still more than adequate for everyday use this day in age. The way our eyes adjust to a new screen is the same way people adjust from big phones to small phones.

I used to think that I can’t go from a 13 Pro screen size to something much smaller. But I adjusted instantly. To my surprise, I find the SE3 screen size is more complacent. It’s easier to reach all corners of the screen with one hand and viewing content is actually better because the aspect ratio is more website friendly. I also didn’t realize how annoying the top of the screen was on the 13 Pro with that notch until I went back to a screen without it.

And lastly, Touch ID is simply phenomenal. It feels like an actual enhancement and a big leap forward in usage over Face ID. It’s much faster and more convenient.
 
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sorgo †

Cancelled
Feb 16, 2016
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Mostly in the same boat here @MICHAELSD. Looking to switch from my 12, I cancelled my order for a Midnight SE and put one in for a green 13 mini and so far I’m really loving it. Feels much less platter-like than the 12, a brilliantly pocketable and performative little device. And the green is simply stunning. It’s rare I choose anything other than black when it comes to tech, and so far I’m very enthused. The color matches the philosophical impression of the diminutive device: unobtrusive yet engagingly beautiful when really looked at. Natural.

So far I’m not totally enthused with battery life (allegedly better than SE, however, so I’m glad I didn’t go that route) or with RAM management—I’m noticing page reloads where there simply weren’t any on the 12. Must be the more demanding silicon or something; whatever, I’ll give it some time. Overall I’m quite satisfied and happy to have AppleCare again.

P.S. I too “settled” for the 8 Plus over the X back in the day. Wish I’d just shelled out for the more desirable of the two but it was probably meant to be: Apple’s earlier PWM implementation, when I tried out a XS the following year, gave me severe headaches, eye strain, even nausea. The 12 and (so far) the 13 mini have been totally fine, however. As an added bonus onscreen motion appears less jarring and stuttery than on the 12, which I’m assuming is due to the density of the display.
 

jntdroid

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2011
949
1,307
Edit: All of the following is said with the assumption you still want to try to make it work with the SE 2022... ;)

Your eyes will adjust to the color / resolution differences - assuming you leave your 13 Mini alone for awhile (that will be key). Eventually you'll get to a point where you'll pick up the 13 Mini and think it looks too warm, and the text will feel too small/squeezed. It will always look sharper, though. That's another point - the default text size on the SE is bigger than the 13 Mini, so even though it's not as sharp, it should actually be a little easier to read. I've switched phones a ton over the years, going back and forth between high res / OLED panels, LCD panels, lower res, etc etc. Any time you shift panels and resolution, you have to give it time for your eyes/brain to get used to it, as the first impression will always feel off.

Edit 2: I also had a 13 Mini and love(d) it. The main difference between your situation and my situation is I don't have major PWM issues. I still prefer the general look of LCD, it just feels easier on my eyes. But I don't get headaches, and do enjoy the "pop" of the quality OLED panels. The 13 Mini feels a little too squeezed to me at times (the aspect ratio), but my goal is NOT to use my phone as often, so I'm fine with that. It's a phenomenal little device. But I'm also obsessive about finding value, and I think the SE 2022 is an incredible value that's packs a solid punch at its price range.
 
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MICHAELSD

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Jul 13, 2008
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All fair points. There’s certainly going to be an adjustment period, but I’m not sure that I’ll look fondly at iPhone SE more often than momentarily and probably not for more than a few months. The second-generation iPhone SE surprised me coming from iPhone 8 Plus, and I was expecting the same to happen with this generation even coming from a flagship iPhone.

What’s odd is that iOS in particular looks noticeably inferior: the interface doesn’t look great on this display. That may be mainly due to the low resolution, as text is comparatively fuzzy. However, videos and images look fantastic as they did on the second-generation iPhone SE. The color calibration is still top-tier, and colors do appear deep and vibrant. Contrast is also impressive, as the black level is low for a LCD and possibly the best Apple’s shipped on a LCD iPhone.

I would say the keyboard and all of the visible UI elements look dated. Yet emoji look detailed and fairly sharp. Videos and pictures are like a whole other world for this display, as they typically don’t showcase the shortcoming in resolution and can give the illusion of 4K in YouTube or look adequately color-accurate. Yet, I can already tell the camera is noticeably inferior.

I do need to give iPhone SE more of a chance, although I do think there was more Apple could have done and it may not necessarily be worthwhile for those upgrading from a second-generation iPhone SE. I’m glad they are continuing to upgrade it and it’s great for those coming from older iPhones, it’s just not ideal.

Edit: using iPhone 13 Mini after iPhone SE back-to-back is still a considerable difference. The UI looks incredible. Videos become cinematic. The size and feel are second-to-none. This would be the perfect iPhone without PWM.
 
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HalfFullmoon

macrumors 6502
Dec 29, 2021
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All fair points. There’s certainly going to be an adjustment period, but I’m not sure that I’ll look fondly at iPhone SE more often than momentarily and probably not for more than a few months. The second-generation iPhone SE surprised me coming from iPhone 8 Plus, and I was expecting the same to happen with this generation even coming from a flagship iPhone.

What’s odd is that iOS in particular looks noticeably inferior: the interface doesn’t look great on this display. That may be mainly due to the low resolution, as text is comparatively fuzzy. However, videos and images look fantastic as they did on the second-generation iPhone SE. The color calibration is still top-tier, and colors do appear deep and vibrant. Contrast is also impressive, as the black level is low for a LCD and possibly the best Apple’s shipped on a LCD iPhone.

I would say the keyboard and all of the visible UI elements look dated. Yet emoji look detailed and fairly sharp. Videos and pictures are like a whole other world for this display, as they typically don’t showcase the shortcoming in resolution and can give the illusion of 4K in YouTube or look adequately color-accurate. Yet, I can already tell the camera is noticeably inferior.

I do need to give iPhone SE more of a chance, although I do think there was more Apple could have done and it may not necessarily be worthwhile for those upgrading from a second-generation iPhone SE. I’m glad they are continuing to upgrade it and it’s great for those coming from older iPhones, it’s just not ideal.

Edit: using iPhone 13 Mini after iPhone SE back-to-back is still a considerable difference. The UI looks incredible. Videos become cinematic. The size and feel are second-to-none. This would be the perfect iPhone without PWM.
I can’t tell the difference in displays. I used a 12PM and SE 2022 back to back.
 

rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,787
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I do need to give iPhone SE more of a chance, although I do think there was more Apple could have done and it may not necessarily be worthwhile for those upgrading from a second-generation iPhone SE. I’m glad they are continuing to upgrade it and it’s great for those coming from older iPhones, it’s just not ideal.

The SE 2022 really wasn't targeted to SE 2020 users. The performance comparison on the keynote showed only iPhone 6/6s? to 8 for a reason.

Kinda wish Apple hadn't moved to OLED right away with the 12 series. A 12 mini with PWM-free LCD would've been nice. Granted, only thing I really want is Night Mode. I'm used to the iPad's 264 ppi so I don't mind the SE's 326 ppi at all.

Besides, I only look at my phone's display for maybe 2 hours a week at most. I could tolerate the 12 mini for short bursts but occasional usage over 10 minutes is problematic. The SE's LCD is just easier for me.
 

CheesyTators

macrumors member
Aug 26, 2010
80
0
SE Michigan
I had a 2020 SE and I really liked it. Just recently bought the 13 mini and absolutely love it. I wish I had gotten it sooner. I don't have PWM issues so it's a no brainer for me to keep it and pass on the 2022 SE. If I were in your shoes I would go with what is better for your health. Just not worth the risk for a few extra amenities the 13 mini has. I was worried about battery life as a moderate user but this mini goes all day for me no issues and has some battery life to spare.

Good luck to ya on whatever you decide.
 

NeonIbis

macrumors regular
Sep 8, 2020
124
90
The SE 2022 really wasn't targeted to SE 2020 users. The performance comparison on the keynote showed only iPhone 6/6s? to 8 for a reason.

I've gone from the 2020 SE to the new model, admittedly mainly because I wanted more storage. With everything cloned across it's seamless (sometimes I pick up the old phone by mistake) but the improvement is noticeable. Most obvious is the improved battery life – the new SE battery is *much* better than my 2020 SE, which was down to 85% battery health. I've been getting two days out of a charge rather than one. The camera processing also seems to do a better job of things like ripples on a river at sunset or silhouettes. And I still love touchID/home button/swipe up to control centre! Since trying a mini in the store I've been really conscious of just how much I use that functionality.
 
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