Question New monitor / display causing eye strain

Jul 6, 2020
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Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice on a new monitor: a Samsung S27H850Q. It works and looks great... and causes terrible eye strain. It's generally okay(-ish) but the moment I am reading or typing a lot, it becomes uncomfortable and difficult to focus on - even for short periods of time.

I have the option to replace it, but I do not know what is likely to be making it so uncomfortable (or, therefore, what to avoid in picking another one). These are my best guesses:
  • Too big: My desk setup means I can not easily sit more than 80 cm from the (27 inch) screen. That's perfectly fine according to the manual, but could be a bit close, according to some sites. I am used to using either a laptop screen (13 inches) or a 24-inch display.
  • Too bright: I have turned the brightness settings to minimum (allegedly 280cd/m2). I have also adjusted the colour balance to reduce the blue light level. Samsung have said it's possible that a fault is causing the display to emit too much light, but I'm not sure how likely that is.
  • Too good a resolution: I don't think this makes sense, but it's a suggesting I have had from another retailer. The resolution is QHD, whereas the 24-inch display I used before was only FHD.
I could really use some advice on what is likely to be causing the problem so that I can make a better choice next time.

Thanks in advance!
 

FoxVoxDK

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Jul 5, 2014
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Could we have the name of the old panel you used? My suspicion is that your eyestrain may come from imperceptible screen flicker. Some panels are worse than others and usually it is (somewhat, but not always) visible when you film the panel with some cameras.

Just to be sure; in Display Settings -> Advanced Display Settings -> Display Adapter Properties -> Monitor: your refresh rate is set to 60Hz?

If your old panel had a higher refresh rate, those tend to be easier on the eyes.
Higher resolution means smaller text and you will tend to strain your eyes more, you could try scaling up text as a test.
You could try installing f.lux, this usually helps me somewhat, but it's not everyone's cuppa, and does not help in all cases.
 
Reactions: Dean0919
Jul 6, 2020
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Hi FoxVoxDK,

Thank you so much for your help and for replying so quickly!

So:
  • The laptop screen (which I used almost exclusively over the last 3 years) belongs to a HP Spectre x360 - 13-ac001na (see: https://support.hp.com/gb-en/document/c05387325). No problems with that, even though it's small, gloss surface, and reasonably bright.
  • The display, which I had connected to the said laptop at the office for about 3 months before the UK lockdown, is a Samsung 24" Business Monitor S24D330H. Absolutely no problems with that: immediately felt comfortable to use.
In either case, and with my new (at home) monitor, I am using the laptop's graphics card (integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620). The refresh rate is definitely 60Hz, and I think it must have been the same before.

The text was automatically scaled to 200% (from 150%) when I changed the resolution setting from the FHD (which the laptop screen has) to QHD. The only other option is to change it to 225%, but I'm not sure how much additional difference that will make.

Please let me know your thoughts. Samsung have suggested a like-for-like replacement, but that obviously runs the risk of having the same problem. There is a 24" version of this monitor, which would be the same size as the one I am used to and which apparently has slightly lower brightness. Or, if I know what the problem is, I can pick another type of monitor altogether.

Thanks again for all your help!


Could we have the name of the old panel you used? My suspicion is that your eyestrain may come from imperceptible screen flicker. Some panels are worse than others and usually it is (somewhat, but not always) visible when you film the panel with some cameras.

Just to be sure; in Display Settings -> Advanced Display Settings -> Display Adapter Properties -> Monitor: your refresh rate is set to 60Hz?

If your old panel had a higher refresh rate, those tend to be easier on the eyes.
Higher resolution means smaller text and you will tend to strain your eyes more, you could try scaling up text as a test.
You could try installing f.lux, this usually helps me somewhat, but it's not everyone's cuppa, and does not help in all cases.
 

FoxVoxDK

Honorable
Jul 5, 2014
686
80
11,240
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Right, so, your old laptop panel was a smooth IPS(albeit somewhat slow) panel, not the best at contrast, nor really bright, but overall very common.
The S24D330H is also a common panel, but it's a TN panel instead, they tend to have subdued colors, but very fast and depending on the backlight, usually great performers.(Few years ago were preferred by competitive gamers for that reason)

Your new panel is the Samsung S27H850Q and it is a PLS(in the same IPS family, but slightly different picture progression, pixel switching) panel, and to be very honest, I think that is the pea under your maddress here.

They tend to market those panels as very bright, and that may also be a factor as with the switching tech used.
In any case, it's the only thing that kinda sticks out to me.

My advice is to go to any physical shop and perhaps trying out other screens altogether.
Ask or look for IPS, (AH)VA, TN variants see if any of them appear calmer to your eyes.

I will unfortunately be heading to bed now, I will follow up tomorrow. o/
 
Reactions: Dean0919

Dean0919

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Oct 25, 2017
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I don't think it's resolution. Maybe it's panel as FoxVoxDK said which is new for you and maybe your eyes don't feel comfortable with that panel. I had both TN and IPS panel monitors, but never had any experience with PLS, so I can't say for sure if it's panel issue and again as FoxVoxDK said, I think it will be better if you go to that shop again, notify them about this problem and then test other monitors and see which one feels best for your eyes.
 
Jul 6, 2020
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Hi all,

Thank you for your replies.

FoxVoxDK and Dean 0919: I think I will have to find the chance to go into a real shop and look at the panels. That sounds obvious but, for a number of reasons (COVID-19, limited range of smaller USB-C monitors, difficulty in replicating real experience/conditions of working from home), I was avoiding it

Geofelt: You're quite right. Unfortunately, whilst making the image a little easier on the eye, the eye-saver mode still does not resolve the problem. I have also achieved a similar effect - without tea-staining the picture quite so much - by reducing the colour tone to 'warm' (basically halving the blue colour output).

Clearly, the problem may not be any one thing. However, the combination of your comments does make me wonder if the leading issue is the size. I have previously used panel types IPS and TN (thank you, FoxVoxDK). I have used a proper display. The new display, above all, is bigger and brighter. It means: (i) it may stand a bit higher (the top now just at eye-level); (ii) presumably, a greater amount of light emission; and (iii) filling a larger area of my field of view (since I cannot sit much further back than I did from my 24-inch display at work).
 

Dean0919

Reputable
Oct 25, 2017
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Hi all,

Thank you for your replies.

FoxVoxDK and Dean 0919: I think I will have to find the chance to go into a real shop and look at the panels. That sounds obvious but, for a number of reasons (COVID-19, limited range of smaller USB-C monitors, difficulty in replicating real experience/conditions of working from home), I was avoiding it

Geofelt: You're quite right. Unfortunately, whilst making the image a little easier on the eye, the eye-saver mode still does not resolve the problem. I have also achieved a similar effect - without tea-staining the picture quite so much - by reducing the colour tone to 'warm' (basically halving the blue colour output).

Clearly, the problem may not be any one thing. However, the combination of your comments does make me wonder if the leading issue is the size. I have previously used panel types IPS and TN (thank you, FoxVoxDK). I have used a proper display. The new display, above all, is bigger and brighter. It means: (i) it may stand a bit higher (the top now just at eye-level); (ii) presumably, a greater amount of light emission; and (iii) filling a larger area of my field of view (since I cannot sit much further back than I did from my 24-inch display at work).
No problem.

I doubt it's size. I also immigrated from 24 inch to 29 ultrawide inch (a bit smaller than 27 in height), but didn't have this problem. Of course, everyone is different and I might be wrong, but I think it must be something else than monitor size.
 
Jul 6, 2020
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What do you think of Samsung's explanation (i.e. that this particular one has a fault and I should ask for a like-for-like replacement)?

As it happens, there was one other (far less irritating) issue. Very occasionally, when pressing the power button, the standby light goes out as normal but the screen will not come on. Instead, the monitor emits a high pitched (though quiet) continuous noise. When this happens, pressing the power button will not cause the standby light or the screen to come on (although it does cause the pitch of the noise to change for the time that the button is pressed). The only way to resolve this is to unplug the monitor and plug it back in again.


No problem.

I doubt it's size. I also immigrated from 24 inch to 29 ultrawide inch (a bit smaller than 27 in height), but didn't have this problem. Of course, everyone is different and I might be wrong, but I think it must be something else than monitor size.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Have you considered the fact it's your eyes at the distance you are looking at? Visit an eye doctor and see what they say. You may be trying to blame the monitor for something that needs to be fixed outside of it.

You can also control the room light, try a different color temperature light in the room (the K rating on lamps). I worked at a hospital in radiology rooms where display and atmosphere for the doctors to find things on the screen is very important, and there are a lot of factors to look into not just the screen itself. When calibrating displays the room light is important, and we used monitors that cost upwards of $10,000 each with very tight calibration and display standards.
 

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