Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

PSA: Are you sensitive to PWM flicker?You will want to keep the switch OLED screen nice and bright

Image: Nintendo Life

The latest version of Nintendo’s Switch was released on October 8th, far from the long-rumored “Switch Pro,” but the new screen on the Switch OLED model is beautiful, and the new Switch SKU is generally well received. I’m exploring. Great games like Metroid Dread and Tetris Effect: Connected come out with the console, and it doesn’t hurt to actually show off the contrast and rich colors of its nice new OLED screen.

However, there is one relatively unreported issue that seems to be causing the issue for a small number of players. It’s a PWM flicker. This has to do with how the new screen handles brightness via pulse width modulation, and lowering the brightness setting creates a flicker effect that can make a small number of players sensitive. There is a possibility.

Before investigating this issue, the fact that it is not a widespread or alarming issue and does not affect the majority of players using Switch OLED should be placed before this article. Many Nintendo Life staff are testing the screen and you can see the PWM effect by shooting a video at 120/240 FPS on your smartphone, but you can’t feel the flicker with the naked eye.

However, that is Sensitive to PWM flicker (more on this soon), using low brightness settings with Switch OLEDs can cause problems and lead to eye strain over time.

So what exactly is “PWM” and how is it used on the Switch OLED screen?

Pulse width modulation is a method of simulating changes in brightness without changing the voltage supplied to the screen.

Basically, when the user lowers the brightness setting, the screen using PWM will switch on and off rapidly, perhaps at a speed that exceeds human vision. The viewer perceives an overall decrease in light output over time (including periods when the pixels on the screen are very short). No As lower brightness (illuminated).

This problem occurs in people who are sensitive to this sudden screen change and can perceive “flicker”.

The video below shows what happens when you shoot a Switch OLED screen with a camera that shoots at both 120 frames per second and 240 frames per second. This is now possible on many phones, and we have done similar tests ourselves. You can see the effect by displaying the Switch OLED screen (or other PWM screen) from the phone in the same way.

Again, I emphasize that the vast majority of users can only identify this flicker when viewed through another device that is capturing the screen at a high frame rate. However, for a few people who are sensitive to this, they can get a vague idea of ​​how distracting and burdensome a PWM screen can be.

By the way, this lighter can’t see the flicker on the Switch OLED screen at any brightness setting, but I think it’s susceptible to the flicker of other types of lamps, especially certain types of light bulbs.It doesn’t happen very often, but it puts me in a particular room — often with strip lighting — and I immediately scrutinize other residents and wonder how they can withstand spending. anytime Under such immeasurable conditions. It’s not what I spent a lot of time researching. I just go out of the office, the elevator, or anywhere as fast as possible.

What if I see PWM flicker on the switch OLED at low brightness levels?

Is there a solution for PWM sensitive people when using Switch OLED or other screens that use pulse width modulation? Hmm, a little bit.. In fact, this is an easy way. Keep the brightness setting properly high.

PWM flicker is easy to recognize at low brightness settings (when the screen turns off at longer intervals to achieve the desired low light effect), so keeping the screen at 50% or higher will minimize its effect. It can be suppressed.

A fully bright screen naturally increases the chances of “burn-in”. This is a topic we’ve explored earlier, but in reality, modern OLED panels significantly reduce the risk of image persistence over the last few years. Burn-in is a risk, but don’t worry unless you play the same game in full brightness for days and dock the console.

Unfortunately, keeping the screen close to maximum brightness will inevitably drain the system battery faster. This affects portable players affected by this phenomenon.

So where does it leave us? It’s absolutely important to note that this doesn’t affect the majority of Switch OLED users, but it’s also important to be aware of potential player issues that you may encounter. Ultimately, if you’ve had problems with PWM screens or similar light flicker in the past, it’s highly recommended to test your Switch OLED unit in action before you buy. This is to make 100% confirmation that it is a switch.

Did you have a PWM issue with your Switch OLED? Please let us know by voting below.