iPhone 5 + Polarized Sunglasses not a good mix

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by HXGuy, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. HXGuy macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Surprised today when I put on my polarized sunglasses, the iPhone 5 does not look very good at all.

    Now I know all LCD screens are usually affected by polarized sunglasses but as you can see, the iPhone 4S looked fine (unless you tilted it in landscape mode).

    The iPhone 5 actually has the same effect it seems, it looks normal but only in landscape mode.

  2. greytmom macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2010
    Polarized View Gate...

    Nah, I don't think it will become a meme.
  3. PhoenixMac macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2010
    You know they got rid of a layer on the glass and built the touch into the screen to make it more responsive.
  4. Kadman macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2007
    I actually had issues with polarized sunglasses and my 4S. I noticed this while getting ready for a bike ride. I already had my sunglasses on and went to start MapMyRide and I had to take the glasses off to really see it well.
  5. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Yea it looks like it may depends on the sunglasses themselves. I have a friend who tried it out and said his iPhone 5 looks normal with his polarized sunglasses.

    Great, now I need a new iPhone compatible pair of sunglasses. :cool:
  6. Kadman macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2007
    The quality of the polarization may be key here. When I ride I spare no expense and get the best sunglasses that $12 can buy. ;)
  7. PNutts macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    That's the way polarization works. One way good and one way bad. It sounds like the polarization is in a different orientation on an iPhone 5.
  8. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    These are $150 Ray Ban sunglasses. :(
  9. Matt.Simmons macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2011
    My polarized sunglasses did this to my 4S, I got around this by taking off my sunglasses.
  10. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    My experience:

    iPad 2 - Looks fine with polarized oakleys
    iPhone 4S - Distorted as usual for LCDs
    iPhone 5 - Distorted as usual for LCDs
  11. newtothegame macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    Same problem here

    I had the 4 and no problems with my polarized glasses. Disappointed to see this distortion in the 5. :mad:
  12. 808Hawaii, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012

    808Hawaii macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2012
    Polarized glasses problem

    Newbie here with the same problem. I think when I type...so please excuse the length of post.

    My wife just got the 5 today at Verizon (launch day). She upgraded from the 4, noticed the strange glare. She accepted the problem, because she was already used to seeing strange artifacts/glares show up on some surfaces when using her polarized glasses. I don't find about this until later.

    Fast forward 10 hours, I bump into my friend at the Apple store returning his 5. He mentions the problem, says he had the issue with his polarized glasses and his 4, and Apple swapped it out with one that didn't have the glare.

    30 minutes later, my wife arrives at the mall to meet me. I mention my friend's problem, she said that she noticed that, then decides to swap her phone too. When we get to the Apple store, the manager listens to us, but is reluctant to let us return the phone, saying that it's not a manufacturing defect, and that it's not Apple's fault that she uses polarized glasses. He was actually very nice about it, and I could see where he was coming from. I'm not really good at accepting "no", so our polite debate continued for a few minutes. He eventually agreed to swap out the phone, but pointed out that if we did, VZ probably wouldn't accept any returns on a swapped phone, and we may have the same problem with the new one.

    I decided to do some of my own research online, but didn't find a likeable answer or solution...so I went back into the store.

    I counted all the new phones on display, then put my wife's glasses on and peered over each customer's shoulder to see what the ratio of good to bad glass was. Turns out that about 50% of them had the glare, and the rest were fine. It didn't matter if it was white or black. (I must have creeped some people out wearing women's sunglasses at night, in the Apple store)

    Now I know that VZ would probably replace my wife's phone if we took it back, so the chances of me getting a good screen were pretty good. If I got a bad phone again, I could probably now go back to the Apple store and swap it out. With a 50/50 chance, statistically I'll find one good screen out of the three phones.

    I left Apple without swapping the phone. I'll go to VZ tomorrow. I just hope they have some available!

    On the way out of the mall, I see another friend that just bought some Oakley polarized sunglasses. I asked if I could try looking at my wife's phone, and noticed that I saw the same glare through his glasses. My conclusion was that it wasn't the polarized glass, it probably is the phone screen.

    My last finding was that if you rotated the bad screen by 45 degrees to the left or right, it would look fine through the polarized glasses. If you rotated the good screen by 45 degrees to the left or right, you'd see the glare. Basically, I believe that somewhere in the manufacturing process, some of the glass gets installed one way or the other. I suppose that figuring out every possible thing that could go wrong is unreasonable.

    I really like Apple, and this isn't going to stop me from buying their products...for now, I just have to figure out how to get a phone that works with my wife's glasses from right now until the iphone 6 comes out...or tell my wife to tilt her head by 45 degrees when she wants to check her phone while wearing her glasses.

    These are my personal thoughts based on my amateur research. I'm not pointing any blame, just sharing with the hopes of it helping.

    Oh yeah. I tried calling my buddy DN to see if he got his phone replaced, but he hasn't called back...so I don't know. This was fresh in my mind so I thought it would be better to write it down today...Now, off to my bottle of bourbon.
  13. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Hmm that's interesting. I haven't had a chance to test my wife's iPhone 5 to see how her's looks.

    If it does depend from phone to phone, I will also try to get it swapped. It's really annoying as being here in AZ, it's bright and sunny practically all the time so I have my sunglasses on anytime I'm outside and it makes the phone pretty hard to use, like it's hard for my eyes to even focus on the screen.
  14. Mliii macrumors 65816


    Jan 28, 2006
    Southern California
    More than you ever wanted to know about Polarization, but...
    Polarized glasses use a film created from rolls of polyvinyl acetate which has the consistency and thickness of plastic wrap. The plastic is heated and stretched which lengthens the plastic's long chain molecules, causing them to align. It's then dipped in iodine solution which is absorbed into the molecular chains forming long grids of parallel, darkened lines that are not visible to the human eye. The film is then dyed to the color of the desired finished.
    For the polarized film to be most effective in sunglasses, it's oriented to reduce the horizontal component of reflected light off a surface. Manufacturers have proprietary formulas for calculating the proper angle.

    The iPhone screen is also Polarized- it's supposed to be done to a 45 degree angle allowing the most effective use in both portrait and landscape mode.
    But if the angle is off and/or the angle the sunglass manufacturer uses to place their polarization film is set in a certain way, you essentially have two sets of 'invisible' grids that cut out the ambient light and can cause a screen to either darken or undergo a color shift. (take off the glasses and rotate them while looking at the iPhone screen through the lenses and you'll see the color shift and or darkening change).
    That's what you are seeing.
    And it isn't limited to the iPhone- all products with polarization do it to a certain extent.
  15. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    So then it's safe to assume that different sunglasses will look different means it's probably useless to change out the phone because I won't have the same sunglasses forever so who knows how the next ones will be.

    Hmm, I was wanting some new ones anyway, guess I'll get some non polarized ones.
  16. Mliii macrumors 65816


    Jan 28, 2006
    Southern California
    It's even worse than that! You can own two pairs of the exact same model sunglasses made by the same manufacturer and the polarization can be different on each pair. That's where manufacturing QC and design variances come into play.
    I don't blame you for trying to find an iPhone that gives you less 'distortion'. It's just hard to do as a practical matter. I mean, if you go into the Apple Store and look at the phones/iPads on display with your glasses on (a modified version of what you already did), you'll find all kinds of variance. SO unless you get a very patient Apple Store employee who is willing to let you open up the boxes and look at a variety of the screens, it's going to be hit or miss...
    As for non-polarized glasses, well, they have their own problems- mainly related to visual acuity and health. But that's a different website forum!
    Good luck!
  17. HXGuy thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    Tested my wife's iPhone 5 and hers looks fine, no weird effect with the same polarized sunglasses. I'm going to try and get an exchange tomorrow morning. At worst, it'll look the same as it does now and at best it'll be fixed.
  18. thasan macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    That's kind of expected, isn't it? I dont see the point here...Most displays use polarized light too... Try watching tv with a circular polarizer for example....:)
  19. mavis macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Tokyo, Japan
    Yup. Works fine in portrait orientation through both of my Oakleys (fire iridium polarized and black iridium polarized) as well as my RayBans (brown polycarbonate, polarized) but I get the rainbow effect in landscape. Actually you should consider yourself lucky - on my iPad 3, the screen is literally black - pitch black - in landscape orientation with my sunnies on :(
  20. mpapaj macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2009
    I noticed this too with my Maui Jim's today. 4 looks accurate, 5 is all greenish washed out.
  21. T-Will macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2008
    I noticed the same problem using my Bolle sunglasses. My iPhone 4 looks fine while the 5 does not.
  22. dazex macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2010
    I noticed this issue the first outing with the new phone. I knew about the polarization angle. I was surprised they changed it for the iPhone 5, as the iPhone 4 I had before was fine in portrait mode. I thought it was an engineering decision.

    But now this thread tells us it varies from phone to phone. Sounds like I'll have to do a warranty replacement then.
  23. Max Archer macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2009
    My 5 and my 4 are basically exactly the same. My iPad2 is totally invisible in portrait and crystal clear in landscape. I think it's just something you have to deal with if you wear polarized sunglasses a lot. The places where it really annoys me are on my cameras (recent pro Nikons) where it blacks out in vertical, and my car ('12 Mazda2), where the radio display is really hard to see unless I tilt my head.
  24. -Leigh- macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2010
    Adelaide, Australia
    A warranty replacement? There is nothing wrong with your phone!!

    All of my iPhones (3G, 3GS, 4S & 5) have had this issue in portrait mode, and only seemed fine at a 45 degree angle.

    I suck it up and deal with it. It makes no difference to the usability of the phone for the few hours I may have sunnies on.
  25. Beezzy macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2011
    Its because the Polarized lens is ment for the UVs from the Sun. Who cares if the phone looks a little different. Ive been using Polarized sunglasses for years, LCDs on phones are ment for regular eyes, not with sunglasses.

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