Notebookcheck

PWM Ranking - The Best Displays for the Eyes

Typical PWM graph of the luminance, in this case from the HP EliteBook 840 G3 at 200 Hz
Typical PWM graph of the luminance, in this case from the HP EliteBook 840 G3 at 200 Hz

PWM is short for pulse-width modulation and describes a flickering of the background illumination to reduce the luminance. Sensitive users may see this flickering below a certain frequency and get tired eyes or headaches. These problems might not even be obvious. More than 500 Hz are generally not an issue, but there seem to be many users with problems below 250 Hz. Beware, there are even reports from readers that suffer from frequencies above 10k Hz. These users should look at the individual reviews and look out for completly flat lines in our measurements as small brightness changes may lead to sore eyes, headache ... for them.

We use the following table to show the measured frequency of the flickering. Some devices do not use PWM at all, but still showed a measurable brightness flickering during our review (e. g. poor shielding of the power adapter). Those devices are listed here as well. Devices listed with a "0" did not show big brightness fluctuations in our measurements. A detailed analysis and a screenshot of the measurement is available in the linked review.

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Show Restrictions
Pos      ModelScreen ResolutionScreen TypeResponse Times PWM Frequency
 Asus ZenPad 3S 10 Z500KL2048x1536IPS
142900
 Acer Aspire 7 A717-71G-72VY1920x1080IPS
125000
 Asus GL702ZC-GC104T1920x1080IPS
122000
 Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)2880x1800IPS
119000
 Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017 Touchbar i52560x1600IPS
119000
 Lenovo V320-17IKB 81AH0002GE1920x1080IPS
119000
 Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)2880x1800IPS
119000
 Acer Predator Helios 3001920x1080AH-IPS, WLED
119000
 Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)2880x1800IPS
117000
 Apple MacBook 12 20172304x1440LED IPS
116000
 Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)1440x900TN LED
58000
 Lenovo ThinkPad 13-20J2S00G001920x1080IPS, LED
30860
 Acer Aspire E15 E5-553G-109A1920x1080TN LED
28740
 Lenovo ThinkPad X270-20HMS00T001920x1080IPS LED
26040
 Lenovo ThinkPad T570-20H90002GE1920x1080IPS
26040
 Gigabyte Aero 151920x1080IPS
26000
 Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD1920x1080IPS
25910
 Lenovo Yoga 720-15IKB-80X71920x1080IPS
25510
 Sony Xperia L11280x720IPS
25510
Pos      ModelScreen ResolutionScreen TypeResponse Times PWM Frequency
 Acer TravelMate P449-G2-M-56CD1920x1080IPS
25000
 MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro1920x1080TN LED
250002
 HP Pavilion x360 14-ba011ng1920x1080IPS
25000
 Acer TravelMate X349-G21920x1080IPS
25000
 Asus VivoBook E200HA-FD0041TS1366x768TN LED
24750
 Lenovo IdeaPad 520s-14IKB 80X200C1GE1920x1080IPS LED
24510
 Asus Transformer Pad TF103C-1B072A1280x800IPS
23360
 Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i72736x1824IPS
22130
 Lenovo ThinkCentre M910z-10NR000KUS1920x1080IPS
217402
 MSI WS63 7RF-290US1920x1080IPS
21740
 Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS1920x1080IPS
21550
 Razer Blade (2017)1920x1080IPS
21370
 MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US1920x1080IPS
21190
 Asus AsusPro P4540UQ-FY0056R1920x1080IPS
21000
 Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE1920x1080IPS
21000
 Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i52736x1824IPS
21000
 Schenker XMG A5171920x1080IPS
21000
 Acer TravelMate P658-G2-MG-73271920x1080IPS
21000
 Acer TravelMate P658 G2-MG-73271920x1080
21000
 HP ZBook 15u G41920x1080IPS LED
20830
Pos      ModelScreen ResolutionScreen TypeResponse Times PWM Frequency
 HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV1920x1080
20830
 Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook1366x768IPS