The majority of smartphones had 60Hz refresh rates when they were initially released, and enhancements were primarily done to satisfy the needs of mobile gaming.
However, smartphones with 90Hz, 120Hz, or even 144Hz refresh rates, which were previously only available on high-end handsets, are becoming more frequent across all tiers of mobile devices.
Many of this progress is attributed to technological advancements, and some attribute it to a better understanding of user demands. Because users spend more time on their phones reading up on news, surfing through social media, and streaming their favorite shows, the demand for higher refresh rates has now become obvious.
What is a refresh rate?
The displays of smartphones are constantly turning on and off, despite the fact that they may not appear so. It continually flashes an image and then goes off in milliseconds.
That process is hidden from the sight of the human eye, because of the phenomenon called “retinal persistence.” That’s right, the one that made filming possible in the late 1800s, that was nothing but a continuous sequence of photos, simply known as Moving Pictures.
The number of times a picture turns on and off every second is defined as the screen’s Hertz. For example, a 60Hz display would refresh the image 60 times, a 90Hz display would refresh the image 90 times, a 120Hz display would refresh the image 120 times, and so on. That means a 120Hz display would refresh the image 2x faster than 60Hz and 4x faster than 30Hz.
This is made possible through constant communication with the GPU, the processor in charge of controlling the screen what to show. Everything happens in a fraction of a second.
For example, a 60Hz display refreshes in 16.6 milliseconds, a 90Hz display in 11.1 milliseconds, and a 120Hz display in just 8.3 milliseconds. The refresh rate isn’t the only component that contributes to round-trip display latency, but it is the most important.
However, the screen does not refresh all at once throughout each cycle. Rather, until the entire display updates at the desired pace, each horizontal row of pixels is refreshed in turn.
You can see this in action if you record a display in slow motion, and it’s also why screens flicker when seen through the viewfinder of your smartphone camera. To put it another way, your display is continually updating and refreshing, yet one full refresh takes the cycle time.
Below are the videos that can make you understand the process in action, or you can head here to check this online demo of the refresh rates.
A brief remark on touch sample rate, which is related but not the same metric. The touch sample rate, which is also measured in Hz, indicates how many times per second the touchscreen checks for input from the user’s touch.
In fast-paced games, a higher-touch sample rate means less latency between input (touch or swipe) and action.
What are the advantages of a faster refresh rate and What 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz mean for the smartphone?
Smoother animations and harmonic scrolling are possible with faster refresh rates, without losing clarity. When it comes to gaming, the advantage is even sharper, no detail of what is happening on the screen should be lost, which is a critical element for games that need rapid responses.
The higher the Hz, the better the screen experience which finally results in a better user experience.
Nevertheless, numerous video footage is played back at the industry standard of 24fps (frames per second), or 24Hz. As a result, display processing must either adjust the frame rate to match the content or upscale the content to match the frame rate.
120Hz displays are advantageous since they can show content at 60, 30, and 24 frames per second(60Hz, 30Hz, and 24Hz) with even frame divisions.
When scaling 24Hz video, other refresh rates necessitate processing. Video judder can be caused by low-quality processing, which is clearly undesirable.
When it comes to gaming, faster screens also make a major impact. Because visual latency is reduced and gaming seems smoother, higher frame rates and faster display response times can have a substantial influence.
120Hz and even 144Hz screens are popular among PC gamers. Mobile gamers can now make use of the same benefits, although on a much smaller screen.
High-frame-rate gaming, on the other hand, needs a powerful, energy-hungry processor. This assures that the graphics frame rate matches the high refresh rate of the display.
However, High refresh rates come at the cost of shorter battery life. Using the 90Hz option on the OnePlus 7 Pro compared to the more common 60Hz mode resulted in 200 minutes less browsing time.
Latest mobile devices with more energy-efficient screens have longer battery life, due to adaptive refresh rates of 90Hz and 120Hz. However, as compared to previous 60Hz panels, there is still a noticeable reduction in screen time.
Because of that, most smartphones have the option to return to 60Hz in order to sustain the life of the battery.
Simultaneously, display manufacturing innovations such as LTPO panels are helping to improve high-refresh-rate power usage while also providing customizable display rates. For example, Dynamic refresh rates of 120Hz to 10Hz are supported by the Oppo Find X3 Pro.
What features or apps on the smartphone are affected by the refresh rate?
A decent refresh rate may be noticed in most of our daily activities, like scrolling for a contact, checking your emails, reading the news, hopping from one app to another, and surfing social media, in addition to gaming.
It’s evident that having a decent refresh rate on our smartphones can enhance our daily experiences of using smartphones.
Do I get a phone with a high refresh rate?
Not only the premium flagships, but the modern smartphones also commonly include 90Hz and 120Hz screens. The feature is becoming more widely available in more inexpensive mid-tier smartphones.
However, the refresh rate of a smartphone’s display is only a minor component of its overall specifications. After all, you shouldn’t get a fast display if the colors are bad.
Eventually, color gamut, contrast, white point, color temperature, and resolution all have a significant influence on the screen quality of your phone.
However, high refresh rates will be here to stay and are becoming an increasingly significant aspect of contemporary smartphone screens.
List of smartphones with higher refresh rates.