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Old 12-23-2011, 02:30 PM   #1
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ScreenDim 1.01 for reading in darker surroundings

A lot of Android devices have screens that are too bright for nighttime reading even on the lowest official brightness setting. For many rooted devices, this can be fixed with my free RootDim (formerly known as SuperDim).

Last week I figured out how to do this without root, and yesterday I released ScreenDim, a paid app ($0.99) that allows dimming the screen below the lowest official brightness setting on many devices. Root is not needed. ScreenDim also lets you adjust the contrast for even dimmer viewing, and (this is experimental) and turn off button lights. You can also set five presets, and create launcher shortcuts to them.

It is now in the Market (with a free trial available). For devices that don't have the Market, it is awaiting approval in Amazon's app store--in the meanwhile, non-Market users can download a 10-day trial here. Hopefully by the time that expires, it'll be in the app store.

You may wonder how this differs from the very clever free ScreenFilter app (which in fact inspired ScreenDim, though I think it works a bit differently). There seem to be two main differences. First of all, on LCD devices, as far as I can tell, ScreenFilter does not dim the backlight below what the OS allows. It simply decreases the contrast, I think by drawing a dark overlay. The visual effect is the same as the contrast slider in ScreenDim. But this method keeps the backlight glowing through the blacks, and in the dark that makes the blacks grayer. The better way is to use the brightness slider in ScreenDim and keep the contrast at 100%. (On OLED devices, this may not make any difference since there is no backlight.) Secondly, I spent a good deal of time benchmarking on my Archos 43 with AnTuTu, and ScreenFilter seems to slow down the 2D graphics speed by about 30%, while ScreenDim does not produce a noticeable slowdown, whether you use the brightness or the contrast slider (I think there may be a very small slowdown if you put the contrast slider below 100%).
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:00 PM   #2
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Looks nice, but the top slider doesn't seem to do anything... The button backlight doesn't do anything either.

I'm running Gingebread 2.3.4, and I am rooted.


Edit:
decided to try that other one, that required root. That one does work, kind of... But below 20 of the 255, my screen simply turns off. So, looks like the Flyer just doesn't allow display brightness below a certain level...

Last edited by Sweetpea; 12-23-2011 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:43 PM   #3
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Looks nice, but the top slider doesn't seem to do anything... The button backlight doesn't do anything either.
1. Does the bottom slider do anything? If so, you can use that. (But for that functionality you can also use the free ScreenFilter, if you don't mind the 30% 2D rendering slowdown--which I think doesn't make a big difference on most things.)

2. Do you have "Active" checked?

Quote:
decided to try that other one, that required root. That one does work, kind of... But below 20 of the 255, my screen simply turns off. So, looks like the Flyer just doesn't allow display brightness below a certain level...
Yeah, it looks like they just set it to not allow low brightnesses. There are some devices like that, which is why my advertising has to use weasel words like "most devices". Those devices, your only hope would be a new kernel, I think.

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Old 12-24-2011, 04:09 AM   #4
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1. Does the bottom slider do anything? If so, you can use that. (But for that functionality you can also use the free ScreenFilter, if you don't mind the 30% 2D rendering slowdown--which I think doesn't make a big difference on most things.)

2. Do you have "Active" checked?



Yeah, it looks like they just set it to not allow low brightnesses. There are some devices like that, which is why my advertising has to use weasel words like "most devices". Those devices, your only hope would be a new kernel, I think.

Alex
I don't mind any slowdown as I only use Screen Filter for reading

Well, it was worth the try!
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Old 12-25-2011, 01:12 AM   #5
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Will this also dim the navigation icons on the bottom of the screen?
I have tried Screen Filter on my Lenovo K1 and it works well but does not dim the navigation icons.
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Old 12-25-2011, 11:55 PM   #6
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Will this also dim the navigation icons on the bottom of the screen?
The brightness dim should do that, yes.
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Old 12-26-2011, 02:11 AM   #7
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Looks nice, but the top slider doesn't seem to do anything... The button backlight doesn't do anything either.

I'm running Gingebread 2.3.4, and I am rooted.
By any chance, does your device do automatic brightness? I am having some trouble with such devices. I just uploaded the 1.02 trial version which should improve support for those devices.
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Old 12-26-2011, 05:34 AM   #8
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By any chance, does your device do automatic brightness? I am having some trouble with such devices. I just uploaded the 1.02 trial version which should improve support for those devices.
I hate auto brightness... It's always the first thing I turn off
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:23 PM   #9
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I hate auto brightness... It's always the first thing I turn off
Yeah, but due to a typo ScreenDim turned on auto brightness, and then was incompatible with it. So now it might work.
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:06 AM   #10
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Still can't get it below 7%. It'll simply turn off when I go from 7.8% to 7.5%.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:47 AM   #11
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Still can't get it below 7%. It'll simply turn off when I go from 7.8% to 7.5%.
One of those devices. :-(

I console myself thinking that this may technically count as a bug in your device. There are no warnings in the Android docs that setting too low a brightness for a window may turn off the device. The API docs for LayoutParams.screenBrightness say: "This can be used to override the user's preferred brightness of the screen. A value of less than 0, the default, means to use the preferred screen brightness. 0 to 1 adjusts the brightness from dark to full bright." There is no warning here that using a value of 0.075 or lower will turn off the screen entirely.

I suppose if someone with a device like that wanted to use ScreenDim, they'd (a) use the "minimum brightness" option in ScreenDim's menu to set the minimum brightness at 7.8%, and (b) use the contrast slider for effective adjustments below 7.8%. But using ScreenFilter is cheaper. :-)
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:53 PM   #12
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pruss, I tried SuperDim last night on the pocketeDGe and the Thrive (both are rooted) but couldn't get it to work w/CoolReader, the Kindle App or Aldiko. Figured I'd just stick w/Haxor ScreenFilter which I've been using for years.

But this afternoon I decided to give your ScreenDim a try (so far only on the eDGe) but it's working great on all the reader programs I tried it on. Will take a bit more experimentation (haven't explored the Contrast slider yet), but I already consider ScreenDim Haxor's replacement. I really like the "saved" settings feature. Is there a way to tell at a glance which custom setting you are on? I can't remember the percentages for all five settings (yet).

I'm sold!
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:41 PM   #13
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pruss, I tried SuperDim last night on the pocketeDGe and the Thrive (both are rooted) but couldn't get it to work w/CoolReader, the Kindle App or Aldiko. Figured I'd just stick w/Haxor ScreenFilter which I've been using for years.
Have you tried Lock? That might help make it stick in apps that try to override brightness.

Quote:
But this afternoon I decided to give your ScreenDim a try (so far only on the eDGe) but it's working great on all the reader programs I tried it on. Will take a bit more experimentation (haven't explored the Contrast slider yet), but I already consider ScreenDim Haxor's replacement. I really like the "saved" settings feature. Is there a way to tell at a glance which custom setting you are on? I can't remember the percentages for all five settings (yet).
That's an idea. My other idea is that when you long-tap on the button, you get to assign a name to the preset. I need to figure out how to make that work well with launcher shortcuts.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:46 AM   #14
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Now it's up in the Amazon Kindle appstore, too. Just search for "ScreenDim". Whew. I was afraid that they wouldn't allow it because they might worry that it changes their user experience too much (but it's for the better!). Reviews of the full and trial versions would be welcome, of course. :-)
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Old 01-07-2012, 03:40 PM   #15
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ScreenDim is working well on my unrooted Acer Iconia A100 running Android 3.2.1. Thanks, pruss, for a very useful program. I gave it five stars on the Market.

I did have one problem, though. The default ''Min.'' value of 0.4% turned my screen completely dark, even in a dark room at night. Luckily I sort of remembered where the slider was, and got it back to 25% without having to reboot. Perhaps the default minimum should be higher, say, 1.2%?
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