Adaptive Brightness is very faulty

The adaptive brightness is super faulty. Screen always gets darkened even in a brightly lit room. Phone expects the light to reflect on it all the time to stay in optimum brightness, otherwise it gets dark pretty quick. I'm not using any screen protector either. This is actually very annoying and a major blocker when watching any video content or even any simple task on the phone. Please fix it pretty quick. This is a very basic thing. Thanks!

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  • Odd. Works great for me.

  • GFXGFX Level 1

    I actually had the same issue from the first day of use.

    I've done some digging and it seems that the problem is either in the kernel or the sensor. When I check the sensor readings in CPU-Z I see that the ambient light sensor resolution is too low in dim lighting, the interpreted value jumps from 0 to 7 and then to 14, whereas in my old OnePlus 3 the readings smoothly transition from 0,1,2,3 and so on, and I observed it by monitoring the sensor values in both phones face up on my desk right next to each other and in the same lighting conditions. Therefore the issue is not related to Android or to the Adaptive Brightness feature but in the kernel or the sensor.

    I tried looking at the kernel source code to see if it's possible to increase the sensor resolution to make smoother but I have zero experience with kernel development and couldn't really find where to start or what exactly to look for, but maybe someone else here with more experience can take a look at it.

    There is a chance that it's a software issue and then it can be solved by Asus, but I'm worried that it could be how the HW sensor itself is implemented in which case there would be no way to fix it without replacing the whole device.

    But I agree it's a super annoying issue especially for apartments or houses with low lighting because the screen brightness keeps shifting between "blindingly bright" and "unreadable darkness" and nowhere in between, at least not when the sensor is active (i.e. adaptive brightness is on).

  • _jis__jis_ Level 5

    The ZF6 is my first phone where adaptive brightness works smoothly under any lighting conditions (inside at home/work, outside in shadow/sunlight) and I never need to manually adjust brightness. I have to say that on Android 10, my satisfaction with adaptive brightness has even increased compared to the A9 even though I was already satisfied with it on A9 compared to my previous phones. So I conclude that you two probably must have some hardware problem. Did you search the forum here to see if any other has already complained about adaptive brightness? I do not remember anyone having a similar problem.

  • GFXGFX Level 1

    It could very well be a hardware problem on our end. I have no complaints about adaptive brightness in good lighting conditions, it adjusts well and reacts quickly. My only issue is in the special case when ambient brightness is reported somewhere between 0 and 7 lux (or whatever unit of measurement is used), in my apartment that is the usual case after sunset and therefore this becomes a daily issue for me.

    @_jis_ could you please help us by checking the sensor readings in AIDA64 or CPU-Z? Could you verify if the sensor transitions smoothly between 0 and 7 or not? This helps us narrow down the problem to our devices or to the software itself.

  • The fact that it jumps 6-7 lux per step is not the problem. Those are still very small steps. I experience these light adjustments myself but I'm not so annoyed by them because i most often know why they happen. The light sensor is located towards the top right corner and sometimes I might be viewing a youtube video with my thumb hovering over the sensor. Now, there is not going to be an immediate change in brightness once I do this as there is a deliberate delay. So if the lux value has been lover for a certain time, only then will it lower and you might not know why it happened. Even if you do move your finger there can be a delay before the brightness goes up unless the new lux value is a lot higher. Most people including myself don't have time to wait and we change the brightness bar ourselves.

    Now you will probably say that we should remove this delay or make it shorter but then you will notice that brightness goes up and down much more frequently in other scenarios. It's very hard to find that perfect mix.

    The reason why some of you have issues and some do not is likely due to that you have different lighting conditions and that you hold/use your phone differently.

    I actually wouldn't be surprised if we use the code we got from google as it is so hard to find that perfect setting that fits all scenarios.

  • _jis__jis_ Level 5

    @GFX

    Don't be mistaken that if your other phone indicates a change in brightness by one lux, its adaptive brightness will work better. The sensitivity of the compared sensor that indicates each change of brightness by one lux, or our in ZF6, which indicates a change of four to five lux, is not related to the quality of adaptive brightness function.

    How can I say that? From my own experience.

    Here are the values measured on my previous phone Mi A1 and ZF6 between 0 to 34 lux:

    Mi A1:

    0 1 4 6 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

    ZF6:

    0 4 8 13 17 21 26 30 34

    From these two measured sequences one would easily deduce that Xiaomi had to have a much finer and better adaptive brightness, but it was absolutely not true. I had to have this feature turned off as unusable. On Asus, it is the opposite experience. I have it permanently on and I don't know about it. It doesn't bother me in any way, because it works as it should.

  • _jis__jis_ Level 5

    An interesting reading:

    Luxmeter App versus measuring device:

    Are smartphones suitable for measuring illuminance?

    https://www.dial.de/en/blog/article/luxmeter-app-versus-measuring-deviceare-smartphones-suitable-for-measuring-illuminance/

  • GFXGFX Level 1

    Thanks for the information @Anders_ASUS

    I usually experience this issue when reading articles so I'm holding my phone in portrait mode with my hand on the bottom side so my fingers are nowhere near the light sensor. It's no the delay that is problem, it's the fact that -in my apartment- the sensor cannot detect my lighting condition so it has to approximate it to either 0 or 7. 0 is too dark so it doesn't blind me in bed, and 7 is too bright. Most of the time when I'm reading at home with the lights on the sensor reading is 0 most of the time. The reason I compared it to the OP3 is that the reported light value is between 3-4 when the ZF6 is measuring 0.

    @_jis_ I'm not interested in an accurate measurement of light intensity, that's not what I use my phone for. My argument is that "adaptive brightness" is dependent on the sensor resolution, so having that extra resolution between 0 and 7 would greatly help adaptive brightness set the proper backlight value.

    I will try to take a video when I get home to demonstrate what I mean.

    According to your post the sensor actually steps to 4 rather than jumping directly to 7 so that's one difference between our ZF6 devices.

  • _jis__jis_ Level 5

    I'm not interested in an accurate measurement of light intensity, that's not what I use my phone for.

    I know that and I didn't contradict it.

    My argument is that "adaptive brightness" is dependent on the sensor resolution, so having that extra resolution between 0 and 7 would greatly help adaptive brightness set the proper backlight value.

    Here I opposed you, because of my example of two devices where one had a much finer lux scale and yet there adaptive brightness worked very very problematic while on ZF6 I have absolutely no problem with it.

    According to your post the sensor actually steps to 4 rather than jumping directly to 7 so that's one difference between our ZF6 devices.

    Actually ZF6 indicates a change of 4 to 5 lux.

    Try to measure the values close to zero again, maybe you couldn't achieve so low light to initiate lux values lower than 8 or 7.

    BTW I measured my values by tilting the phone so that the sensor was more or less illuminated by the lamp, with the same low brightness of the illumination, while approaching or moving away from the light source to get as many values between 0 and 34 as possible.

  • ghiani.riccardoghiani.riccardo Level 1
    edited February 14

    Hi, I'm having this type of problem from day one, I think the phone is designed as is. You can find online many threads highlighting this problem. I remember even someone in youtube's reviews saying this behavior. The level of light change with too big steps, it's not a fuid change.

    For me AIDA64 give only 0 7 15 23 31 47 55 63 71 79 87 inside a room with artificial light. During one second the value can change from 0 to 7 or 15 or every combination of those 3 numbers like 20 times. The odd thing is that the 0 value appears also when in the room there is the light on, only by pointing in a direction different from the position of the light.

    In this forum, from the answers we get, seems like moderators are the few people with zenfone working in the correct ways, or the problems people have are not important or the problem is not a problem, because for the moderator itself the phone is ok with that problem and they are happy with it.

    I know you guys are doing your jobs but don't treat us like stupid people.

  • GFXGFX Level 1

    Actually ZF6 indicates a change of 4 to 5 lux.

    @_jis_ thanks for the input! This tells me that the problem is specific to my device where the value changes directly from 0 to 7. I'm not sure how to fix it, one thing I can do is to hard reset my phone because I've never had to do that before (something I like about this device).

    It could be useful to get a confirmation from another person before I try a hard reset. Or to know if different models of the ZF6 use different sensor suppliers.

    For me AIDA64 give only 0 7 15 23 31 47 55 63 71 79 87 inside a room with artificial light. During one second the value can change from 0 to 7 or 15 or every combination of those 3 numbers like 20 times. The odd thing is that the 0 value appears also when in the room there is the light on, only by pointing in a direction different from the position of the light.

    @ghiani.riccardo what you described is exactly the same on my side! Let's try to maintain a productive conversation though, I'm sure the mods are doing their best to help us. I'm trying to focus on finding the root cause because this issue could have a very simple fix, but let's try to find the underlying issue first.

  • GFXGFX Level 1

    Ok so I tried to capture the difference in light measurements between my old OnePlus 3 and the ZenFone6 in the same conditions (same room and lighting).

    Here's the OP3:

    And here's the ZF6 (note the direct jump from 0 to 7 and 14):

    Hope these videos can help explain the issue that I have with my device.

  • _jis__jis_ Level 5
    edited February 14

    And here's the ZF6 (note the direct jump from 0 to 7 and 14)

    The behavior of your sensor is clearly different from the behavior of my sensor. The question is why. Perhaps is used a different component?

  • GFXGFX Level 1

    @Anders_ASUS any idea if this is something that can be fixed by a hard-reset or is it something that the dev team can look at? Does the ZF6 use different brightness sensors in different markets/regions?

  • I'm currently trying to get more information internally about the light sensor in general. A hard-reset will probably not do anything but I have to check.

    Why jis sensor increases between 4-5 lux instead of 5-6 or 6-7 lux, I do not know but it doesn't really matter. The difference between 4 lux and 7 lux isn't that big. You probably would want to have the lowest screen brightness in both cases anyway. Even when it registers 0 lux.

    Now the main problem of all light sensors regardless of brand, is that they are very sensitive to where the light comes from. You can basically have a spotlight aimed at your phone with a very low angle without the sensor registering it even though it's very bright to your eyes. Change that angle by a little bit and the registered lux can go from 1 to 1000 even though the lighting conditions in the room hasn't changed at all. Because of how the sensor is designed, I feel pretty confident when I say that this is an issue that all smartphones are sharing. The answer to why some of you are happy and some are not, could be as simple as that you have different layout in your homes relative to where the light sources are located and what they look like. This and how much you've taught the adaptive brightness bar by constantly adjusting it whenever you're not satisfied.

  • _jis__jis_ Level 5

    This and how much you've taught the adaptive brightness bar by constantly adjusting it whenever you're not satisfied.

    Exactly, that reminded me of one very important thing that I forgot to mention.

    I said this:

    The ZF6 is my first phone where adaptive brightness works smoothly under any lighting conditions (inside at home/work, outside in shadow/sunlight) and I never need to manually adjust brightness.

    I have to add one word at the end of that sentence: now.

    I have been using the ZF6 for 8 months, and of course at the beginning when it was new, I had to manually adjust the adaptive brightness here and there in certain specific conditions where its response was not optimal.

    The frequency of this adjustment was decreasing, and after a few weeks there was no need to touch the brightness at all. I'm sorry I didn't mention this, but it's been over six months and the previous post of @Anders_ASUS reminded me.

  • _jis__jis_ Level 5

    Also, I should add that, except for the first day of use, I never did a factory reset, so everything I set up on the phone or the phone learned my phone remembers, and if someone does a factory reset often, of course, they always have to start over from scratch.

  • GFXGFX Level 1
    edited February 18

    The difference between 4 lux and 7 lux isn't that big. You probably would want to have the lowest screen brightness in both cases anyway. Even when it registers 0 lux.

    Theoretically it isn't a big difference but if these are all the values that I get inside my apartment then that's the range I have to work with. In my case, it measures 0 both in a lit or unlit room, and if the device is held in a specific way it might measure 7 or 14 in rare cases. That essentially means that adaptive brightness can only switch between two values (no matter how much you teach it).

    The difference with other sensors that scale smoothly between 0-7-14 is that adaptive brightness has more room to work with (more input values) and therefore will result in smoother brightness changes (more output values) rather than just switching between only two values.

    I realize that this is a very specific issue and probably affects a very small portion of the user base but I thought perhaps it could be a simple fix (probably in the kernel) to either increase the resolution from the sensor or maybe offset the readout values a little bit.

    I just wanted to share my thoughts and my experience in case that helps, but thank you for the assistance in any case ?

  • Well this is true assuming that the phone will let you have different settings for 0, 7 and 14 lux. I tried teaching my phone to have different brightness levels for these values but it refused even though I changed the brightness three times for each value. Could be that it takes more time to make the values stick. I don't know how Googles adaptive brightness algorithm works but I hope to get some valuable insight from my colleagues at the R&D department.

  • This issue is the same with so many others. Adaptive Brightness is a nightmare if you are in a room. It constantly gets adjusted to the lowest brightness if the light isn't reflecting on to the sensor directly. Is this a hardware issue?

    Few other issues

    - If the adaptive brightness is on and if I manually adjust the brightness, the screen just stays with the manually adjusted brightness level. Doesn't matter if I enter a dark room or if I step outside where there is direct sunlight. The adpative brightness doesn't adapt to the lighting conditions.

    - many times even in a dark room the adaptive brightness never goes to 0%. It stays at 15%. This hurts my eyes so badly.

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