PWM dimming is screen technology that’s being introduced to more and more smartphones, but what is it and is it worth splashing out on a smartphone that has it? 

While the idea of a smartphone screen that helps reduce eye fatigue and irritation may sound a little nebulous, PWM dimming tech aims to do exactly that. 

Here’s everything you need to know about PWM dimming, from an explanation of the tech to why it’s important on smartphones and which phones currently feature the fastest PWM dimming rates on the market. 

What is PWM Dimming?

PWM Dimming is short for Pulse Wave Modulation Dimming, and it’s essentially a display technology that allows a display to turn on and off at a very high frequency to simulate brightness, with the gap between the on states dictating how bright or dim the screen is. 

This flickering is meant to be imperceptible to the naked eye, and while that is indeed the case for high PWM dimming screens, flickering can be an issue at lower brightnesses if it’s not quite fast enough. In fact, some users report developing eye strain or even headaches when using smartphone screens at a lower brightness with a low PWM dimming rate. 

Therefore, PWM Dimming is a display tech that’s framed as being much healthier for the user’s eyes, especially as screen brightness levels drop with use in darker environments. As such, companies like OnePlus, Honor and Xiaomi are all implementing impressively high PWM dimming rate tech into their latest smartphones.  

Why is PWM Dimming important on a smartphone?

PWM dimming is particularly important on a smartphone because it’s the device that most of us tend to use most of the time, particularly when it comes to late evenings when winding down for bed when screen displays are of particularly low brightness. How many of us are guilty of a last-minute TikTok scroll or Instagram binge before getting some shut-eye? Exactly. 

PWM Dimming essentially allows for an eye strain-free scrolling experience in those dimly lit ocndiitons, with brands like Honor going a step further by claiming that the tech can also improve the quality of your sleep. 

Away from the anti-flicker focus of the tech, PWM Dimming also allows the screen to preserve the colours and efficiency of the display without changing the voltage or current, delivering better power consumption of the display. 

Combined, it essentially means you’re getting a flicker-free display that’s both vibrant and battery-efficient. 

Which smartphones offer high PWM Dimming technology?

While not all PWM-dimming-equipped smartphones are equal – the PWM Dimming refresh rate varies among both manufacturers and specific models of smartphone – the high refresh rate available on PWM Dimming screens should all make some difference. 

That said, here’s a list of some of the most popular smartphones with PWM Dimming and, where possible, the associated refresh rate:

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