iPhone 3G eye strain on units with lower screen color temp (yellower)?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by HugeAppleFan, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. HugeAppleFan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #1
    Greetings,

    I am a big Apple fan and have both iPhone models (2G & 3G). When I switched to the new 3G I had to return several phones until I found one that I could read longer without experiencing eye-strain.

    The issue I have is with the lower Kelvin temperature screens (that appear to be yellower) which I have to dim to less than 30% not to feel eye discomfort, but at that point the readable data is too dim (I run the 2G at 100% brightness with no problems).

    I think that the lower temperature screens background/ backlight overwhelms the letters/ fonts because the human eyes are more sensitive to lower color temperatures (towards the yellow spectrum).

    I also have a MacBook Air which I run at 100% (what a gorgeous screen) without any problem. I don't wear any contacts or glasses, can read very far and near as well as shoot quick moving objects at long and short ranges.

    Is anyone else also experiencing eye strain with the new 3G units?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #2
    I wouldn't go so far as to say that my eyes are strained, but I definitely notice that the screen becomes very yellow at a low brightness setting. My solution is just to run it at around 75% brightness or more. It makes the viewing experience much better especially because it is such a small screen. (compared to a computer)
     
  3. HugeAppleFan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #3
    I am experiencing the eye discomfort starting at brightness settings above 30%-40%, but the lower setting is not usable because the readable data (text or numbers in most cases) is too dark.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that the backlight vs. data ratio is unbalanced and in order to brighten the data (the letters or numbers) the background lighting becomes too strong, yet when I lower the brightness to a level that feels comfortable, the readable data is too dark. A comfortable and usable balance cannot be accomplished unless I use the bluer (higher Kelvin color temperature) display.

    The problem is that at the Apple store they are not going to open several phones until I find one that I like.

    Here are some actual screen temperature measurements:

    http://www.wirelessinfo.com/content/iPhone-3G-Screens-Are-Brighter-And-More-Yellow.htm

    Just curious if anyone else is having this issue.
     
  4. danielforman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    #4
    I got a replacement iPhone 3G the other day after a few replacements for various issues and I noticed on this one that the white point on the left is different to the right point on the right. The right has a kind of blue tint to it and is not as sharp as the left side and it not as good as previous units I have had to look at.

    I have contacted AppleCare and one of the customer service reps is going to contact the engineers to see what they say about this issue. I have asked if there is a way for them to recalibrate the screen or something as apart from this the phone is a lot better build quality than previous units I have had. However the CS Rep asked if I could photograph the screen to show the issue and the different white points are not visible on the photos I have taken but sent them to him anyway and he was like I can't see it so I think they are just going to say it's not an issue but it depends what the engineers say.

    I have restored the phone a couple of times but that has not made any difference so am going to wait for the reply from Apple to see where I go from here.
     
  5. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #5
    In humans a higher (cooler) color temperature in lower light levels (not out side in the sun) causes much more eye fatigue and strain since your rods (because your pupils are more dilated) are more sensitive to blue and are stimulated too much. The 3G is not by any measure warm (it would have to be below about 5000º Kelvin to qualify as warm) but actually a little cool (6500º Kelvin considered neutral).
     
  6. samab macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    #6
    The whole world basically is standardized on 6500K --- from NTSC tv signals to hi-def tv signals, to your digital camera, to your computer monitor. People buy special calibration equipment to calibrate their monitors and tv's to 6500K.

    http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/07/iphone-3g-featu.html

    It's a good thing to bring the iphone screen down to temperatures that are closer to the standard.
     
  7. samab macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    #7
    The whole world basically is standardized on 6500K --- from NTSC tv signals to hi-def tv signals, to your digital camera, to your computer monitor. People buy special calibration equipment to calibrate their monitors and tv's to 6500K.

    The only reason why the old CRT computer monitors come with 2 temperature settings (7800K and 6500K) is that 7800K is more compatible to the office tower's fluorescent lighting.

    http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/07/iphone-3g-featu.html

    It's a good thing to bring the iphone screen down to temperatures that are closer to the standard.
     
  8. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #8
    While you are correct in theory you are not in practice. Almost all TVs are calibrated to a much cooler (8000º Kelvin or higher) temperate to compete with florescent lights and other TV's on the showroom floor (you must change the default color setting). The cool blue look catches the eye and at first you think it looks better. A good analogue would be buying a recliner. When you set in two at the showroom and one is soft (cool) and the other is firm (warm) you pick the soft one because you think it feels the best. However after sitting in it for an hour your back becomes strained and you wish you had the firm (warm) one.


    EDIT: Here is a good article about color temperture and here's one about eye sensitivity.
     
  9. HugeAppleFan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #9
    Thank you for the links, very informative reading.

    Actually the yellower/ warmer screen does appear to look better at the first glance, but after about 1-2 minutes I can feel a slight pain/ discomfort in the eyes, but with the older model I can look at it for hours (it is also true with the last 3G that I had it replaced because of a cracked case, which I am now considering getting back and live with the cracked plastic rather than an uncomfortable display).

    Perhaps the warmer vs. cooler appearance is just a side effect and not the real issue and I mentioned it because is the only apparent difference.

    Is not easy to articulate this, but it looks like the black is not that deep and the letters are slightly blurry at the edges, or that the glass adds some type of depth effect when viewed straight (perpendicular).
    The screen looks great at about 30 degrees as the black looks darker.

    This happens with the smaller font sizes (i.e. when reading Yahoo News in portrait mode as in the attached screen capture), but these were/ are the same settings on the older iPhones.

    The good news is that it does not seem to be widely spread issue.

    Thanks much for the replies!
     

    Attached Files:

  10. samab macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    #10
    If it is just words --- then it's more likely that there is a problem with the "subpixel rendering" (i.e. in the windows world, it's called cleartype).

    Problem #1:

    Apple doesn't have the best technology in subpixel rendering. Remember all those lawsuits last year about Apple selling laptops with defective LCD display (because they are 6 bits with dithering) -- the same Apple laptop would look much better running with Microsoft Windows.

    http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2007/05/apple_lcd_lawsu.html

    Problem #2:

    Microsoft (who is ahead of Apple in this technology) acknowledges that each person's brain works differently. Microsoft created a cleartype tuner so that each person can tune the cleartype setting in order to match their brain.

    http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/tuner/Step1.aspx

    I don't think that Apple has such tuner in the mac world.
     
  11. HugeAppleFan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #11

    I think you nailed the issue 100% and yes is only text that I have a problem with.
    I ran the ClearType tuner on the MacBook Air (under BootCamp partition) and I can experience the same symptoms as on the last iPhone 3G: while the fonts look very readable in all instances, some settings make me dizzy while others are completely comfortable with the identical text sample.

    Perhaps there is some subtle variation in the iPhone LCD panels from unit to unit and how it matches with the screen driver that creates this problem.

    Maybe most users just zoom in when the font is so small and do not experience this issue.

    Thanks!
     

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