High Refresh Rate in Phones – Worth the Hype?

When Razer announced the world's first "gaming phone", they put a 120hz LCD display in their phones. First, of its kind, that display was praised by many although the phone was not good as such. Razer phone did not make its mark in the industry but left geeks wishing for high refresh rate displays in all phones.

OnePlus answered the geeks and introduced a 90hz AMOLED display in its new OnePlus 7 Pro. Having personally used it, I can say that this is something that needs to be on all flagship phones. Let's talk more about these new displays!

What is Refresh Rate?

Technically, the refresh rate is the number of times a display's image is repainted or refreshed per second. So, if a display has a 90hz refresh rate, it means the display refreshes 90 times per second. This means that everything is displayed on your screen will refresh 90 times per second. Higher the refresh rate, smoother the actions on display.
A typical phone screen, like the one in iPhone X or Galaxy S10, has a 60hz refresh rate. While they are really smooth, they look outdated in front of any high refresh rate display.
Use of a Higher Refresh Rate Phone in Real Life

Now that we understand what is refresh rate, let us understand its real-life applications.

System UI

You spend a lot of time on your phone using system UI. Although your interaction with it may comprise of only a few seconds at a time, it is essential to have a smooth UI. System UI interactions mean scrolling through apps, opening apps, turning on switches and much more. A higher refresh rate means all these actions will be smooth. OnePlus 7 Pro, Razer Phone and ASUS ROG Phone exhibit this perfectly.


This is the primary reason why these displays were introduced on phones. While gaming, a lot of movement happens on display. For example in PUBG, your character is constantly on the move. You switch guns, scope in and out, jump and run. Wherever movement is there, a higher refresh rate can smooth it up.

The issue is, no popular game actually supports a high refresh rate right now. Neither PUBG nor Fortnite can take advantage of your OnePlus 7 Pro display. Rest assured, if this display trend continues, sooner or later we will have games support.

Everyday Apps - Social Media and More

Do you love to scroll endlessly on Instagram or browse pages on Facebook? With these new displays, your experience will improve a lot. I have tried using Instagram on a OnePlus 7 Pro. Changing between Instagram stories never felt smoother.

The issues with High Refresh Rate

Everything is not so good about these new displays. One issue is that they can only work properly with powerful hardware.

Razer Phone, OnePlus 7 Pro and all other 90/120hz phones come with Snapdragon's latest hardware. This means we would not see this display's on mid-range or budget phones. Most of these phones also have 1440p resolution, which means even more power is needed to drive the display.

Battery life suffers from a high refresh rate and resolution. Already, most flagship smartphones struggle to give a full day's battery life. With these displays, even less battery performance is expected, especially in the long run.

One last funny issue is that, once you use a 90/120hz display for a while, your eyes start to expect the same smoothness every time. But because not all display's around you are the same, any old 60hz display, like your laptop or old phone, will feel strange.
So, would you buy a phone with a high refresh rate display? It is definitely worth giving it a go in my opinion :)

Author Bio:
Kirat is a tech-enthusiast who runs a YouTube channel and a Tech Blog. You can read his articles on www.kirat.in and watch his videos on YouTube. He likes to write about tech companies, new gadgets, and innovative products. Kirat is always up-to-date about the tech world! Follow him on Instagram (@KiratAlreja).

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