The study investigated the optimal display color for comfortable use of smartphones at night under low illuminance, while not distorting the perceived quality of displays. Two phases of psychophysical experiments were conducted to judge perceptibility and acceptability of the displays in various shades of white. The experimental results showed that the scores in acceptability were always higher than those in perceptibility all across the hues, and yellow received the highest scores in acceptability among the six hue categories. This can be interpreted that the observers have the intention of using a display in a yellow shade of white even though it is not perceived as pure white. Through the analysis, a white in yellow shade with the RGB values of 255, 255, and 230 was determined as the optimal display color for nighttime smartphone users regardless of display luminance or contents. The proposed display color supports physiological comfort by reducing the blue light, which involves an adverse effect on the biological system, and provides psychological satisfaction by allowing users to decide the color within the range of the user's acceptable threshold. (C) 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Published Online 22 February 2016 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com).