High-end smartphones increasingly boast blazing-fast 90Hz and even had the 120Hz refresh rate display screens. This sounds great on the paper. It’s yet another way that smartphones attempt to differentiate themselves from one and another. But should you buy a phone because of this latest display techy trend? It honestly to it depends.

The benefits of high refresh rate phones and even they how working is rarely well understood. While games and content can look a lot smoother forever, whether it’s worth of its extra battery consumption depends on a lot of the user and the handset. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the screen refresh rates.

Should you get a high refresh rate phone?

90Hz and 120Hz displays are increasingly popular in modern smartphones now in the smartphone market, particularly in the premium market. The feature is also increasingly available in affordable of the mid-tier handsets as well.

That said, refresh rate is a small part of a feature in the smartphone’s display specifications. It’s certainly not a major enough feature to the base your entire purchase on. Ultimately, aspects like color gamut, contrast, white temperature, and resolution have an equally large impact on the quality of your phone’s screen.

If you really have your heart to set on a higher refresh rate, here are just a few of the best phones rocking with the refresh rate of 90Hz and 120Hz displays:

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 5G – 120Hz display
  • OnePlus 7T – 90Hz display
  • Realme X50 Pro 5G – 90Hz display
  • Asus ROG Phone 2 – 120Hz display
  • Google Pixel 4 XL – 90Hz display
  • Poco X2 – 120Hz display

What is refresh rate?

Displays aren’t static. Content and motions are appears smooth on your phone’s screen because every pixel updates to the display and the latest content from your handset’s current processor. But this doesn’t happen randomly,but the panels update their content at regular intervals, known as the actual screen refresh rateof the smartphone.

The refresh rate measures how quickly the phone’s display updates one by one. In other words, how often and quickly the content on the screen refreshes. And it was Measured in Hertz (Hz), the refresh rate counts the number of times the display refreshes every second it is on. A 60Hz display refreshes 60 times per second,similarly 90Hz is 90 times per second, and 120Hz is 120 times per second. So a 120Hz display refreshes twice as fast as the 60Hz panel, and 4x faster than an old 30Hz TV or mobiles.

The Faster update times is also mean lower latency, because the pixels are being refreshed more often. For example, if it takes 16.6 milliseconds (ms) to fully refresh to a 60Hz display, 11.1 milliseconds (ms for 90Hz, and just 8.3ms for a 120Hz rate. Refresh rate isn’t the only factor in round-trip display latency, but it’s the largest contributor.

Your smartphone’s screen doesn’t refresh all at once each cycle though. Instead, each horizontal row of pixels refreshes in turn until the whole screen  updates at the required pixel rate. You can see this in action if you film a display in slow motion and it’s the reason why displays flicker if you view them through your smartphone camera’s viewfinder on it. In other words, your display is constantly updating and refreshing, but it does takes the cycle time to complete one the full refresh.

A quick note on touch sample rate, a related but different metric. Also measured in Hz, the sample rate tells you how many times per second the touchscreen looks for input from the user’s finger. A higher touch sample rate means less lag between input (touch or swipe) and action, which is especially important for fast-paced games.

What 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz means for my phone :

Higher refresh rate displays make moving content look and feel smoother and snappier and then feels better. Although most content, such as swiping through your emails and interacting with Facebook’s UI don’t really benefit from anything above of standard 60Hz frame rate. Remember, lots of video content plays back at the industry standard 24 frames per second, or 24Hz. Yet apps and content with lots of graphical motion appear smoother with a higher refresh rate displays.

Faster displays make the most noticeable difference when it comes to gaming. Higher frame rates and faster display response times can have a noticeable impact because visual latency is lower and gameplay appears smoother. PC gamers regularly swear by 120Hz and even 144Hz displays. Now mobile gamers can benefit too, albeit on a much smaller screen. However, high frame rate gaming requires a beefy, energy-hungry processor too. This ensures that the graphics frame rate keeps up with the high display refresh rate.

Unfortunately, the tradeoff with 90Hz and above displays is substantially reduced battery life as much. During our test on the OnePlus 7 Pro and poco fx2, we noted 200 fewer minutes of browsing time when using the 90Hz mode versus the standard 60Hz. In some cases, that battery tradeoff is simply not worth it for instance, with the new Google Pixel 4 is already suffering from questionable battery life, so we recommend disabling the 90Hz mode to ensure a good day’s worth of the daily use.

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