Surface Pro 3 Eye Strain, and how I got rid of it. BUYERS BEWARE!!

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by besthsq, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. besthsq

    besthsq New Member

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    I got my SP3 on launch day and so far I've been pleased with every aspect of it expect that the screen gives me an unbearable eye strain after only 15 minutes of use.
    I began to feel the eye strain right after taking it out of the box and starting to use it.
    I did some research and arrived at this awesome post:
    http://www.surfaceforums.net/forum/microsoft-surface-pro-2/8731-surface-pro-pro-2-eye-strain.html
    Basically it says that the cause of eye strain is a cheap technology used to dim the screen. Check the original post for more details.
    So the fix is simple, push brightness all the way up to max.

    And it worked like a charm.

    I get no eye strain whatsoever from then on. I've had no problem with my desktop monitor or my first gen iPad.
    It really pisses me off that M$ continues to use this cheap PWM technology for such a high-end device. And this is partly because this issue was not taken seriously enough.
    This can really cause some health issues if you're not careful. And at the very least, it can make you very uncomfortable.

    We need to spread the word so future buyers can be informed that if they are going to use their SP3, they'd have to use it with max brightness, or they may very likely get eye strain.
    From now on my battery life is going to suffer, and it must be a pain in the ass to have something so bright to use in a dark room. But health is first. I can't risk getting my eyes damaged by a cheap ass screen.
     
    GoodBytes likes this.
  2. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep. As an engineer, I know the difference between varying a frequency, and varying the amplitude. Varying the frequency can even cause seizures or headaches in some people, since the human brain takes a response time to process flashes.

    Keep the frequency as high as possible, by turning the brightness up.
     
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  3. Bandito

    Bandito Active Member

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    You might want to play around with the display's refresh rate settings. I noticed that it defaults to an odd speed of 59 Hz. It does have an option for 60 Hz and, if I recall correctly, 48 Hz. It's hard to say, but a different setting might help you out.

    By the way, while eyestrain can be quite irritating, it doesn't cause any permanent damage.
     
  4. wynand32

    wynand32 Active Member

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    I'm usually very sensitive to such things, but (knock on wood) I haven't experienced this yet with my SP3.
     
  5. the_new_normal

    the_new_normal Member

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    Thankyou Dr Bandito haha
     
  6. besthsq

    besthsq New Member

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    Thanks guys for the feedback. I think I need to go to the store and try out the models on display and see if it's a problem with my particular device.

    UPDATE: Setting the refresh rate to 60Hz did not help with the situation.

    UPDATE2: Went to the store and did some comparison, this seems to be common among the devices.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  7. the_new_normal

    the_new_normal Member

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    If it's anything like the SP2, anywhere at or above 40% brightness reduces eyestrain a lot.

    I'm sure the SP3 is different, but I'd be surprised if 100% was the only sensitive eye friendly setting.
     
  8. TunaSurface

    TunaSurface Active Member

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    I've had a headache for 3 days now, placebo or not I think this helped.
    I like my screen to be dimmer usually.
     
  9. RottenMutt

    RottenMutt Member

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    i disagree with poster that eye strain is directly caused by pwm. A brighter screen makes you pupil contract which makes ot much easeir for your eye to focus... get glasses, don't blame the device. my eyephone is much worse, lol.
    It helps to use zoom in your applications like chome browser.
     
  10. wynand32

    wynand32 Active Member

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    As a follow up to my earlier post, I've now been using my SP3 for over a week and I've not yet experienced any eye strain. And again, I'm very sensitive to such things--I was one of the folks who couldn't use their iPads because of iOS 7's parallax effect (not that I use my iPad all that often), and I can't play first person shooters any longer because I get terribly nauseated when I do. My eyes have gotten much worse with age, and if the SP3 had an inherent problem that causes eye strain, I'd expect to suffer from it.
     
  11. besthsq

    besthsq New Member

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    Thank you wynand32 for providing the important information. However, I found turning the brightness up to be the only solution to the problem.
    I've tried using it without my glasses on, and it made no difference. As with brightness, I've using an ASUS VG236 for years (and at least 5 hours a day) with a dimmer brightness than SP3 max brightness and I've had no trouble whatsoever with it.
    I own a 1st gen iPad and a 2011 macbook pro too, they never caused anything like this.

    So you are suggesting either:
    1. My Surface Pro 3 is defective.
    2. Something else with eyes is causing this.

    I'm glad most people didn't suffer from this. Like stated in the linked post, many people shouldn't be able to feel the PWM flickering.
    It's unfortunate that I'm just sensitive to it and have to suffer from it.
    It's pretty hard to test this out too since I'd have to stare at the screen for a good 15 minutes to feel it.
    I went to the store and tried it on a different device and couldn't get a good result.

    I don't know if you have the same issue with me but the pain was so bad that when I turned up the brightness, it went away in a matter of seconds. It is that effective.
    That's why I'm posting this.
     
  12. maxx7

    maxx7 New Member

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    Thanks Besthsq for posting this. Now I do not have to consider buying an SP3 anymore, since it clearly has the same PWM issue as SP2. Though setting the backlight at 100 is a solution, it still strains the battery and reduces the contrast of the display. With SP2 movies look quite bad when backlight is 100, so for such an expensive device, it is not a solution.

    Great to see that more people are acknowledging the problem and spreading the word. Maybe, just maybe SP4 would then not have the same issue anymore.

    For the people who do not understand this issue, it's a bit like celiac disease. Two people eat a slice of bread, the other gets a horrible stomach ache, the other has not problems. Then the one who does not have any prolems, starts to suggest "oh, it's because you didn't drink enough water with the bread" or " you should always toast your bread to avoid problems" or maybe you just think you have a stomach ache"

    Celiac is a rare but widely and scientifically recognized problem. The PWM flicker issue is similar, but not yet scientifically understood, what is the exact mechanism why the eyes get irritated.

    And while some think it does not cause permanent eye damage, the problem is still so bad, that if your eyes get bloodshot so that people start asking whether you have been crying or have a hangover, it is a problem at work. Then of course the constant irritation and soreness of the eyes.

    So please do not comment if you do not understand.
     

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