Thanks to OnePlus, 90Hz display are once again the talk of the tech town and are expected to go mainstream very soon. High refresh rate monitors have been around for ages, but it’s only for the last year that the tech has successfully transitioned to phones.
While most of us talk about the screen’s resolution, colors, PPI, and other stuff but we never consider display refresh rate of the phone. Well, this could change soon thanks to the awareness OnePlus 7 Pro’s hyperactive marketing campaign has managed to create around higher refresh rate of displays.
Before we list phones with 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rate displays, let’s talk about what’s refresh rate and how much of a practical impact it makes at user end.
What is Refresh Rate (Hz)? Is it the same as Fps?
The term refresh rate, in layman terms, is the count of how many times the screen refreshes ( its image in one second. It is basically measured in Hz. At present most smartphone displays have 60Hz refresh rate, or in other words, even if you are viewing a static image, your display is redrawing the same picture or is pushing the same frame 60 times every second.
At times people tend to get confused between higher refresh rates and higher frame rates (Hz vs FPS). FPS is the count of how many frames are being pushed to the display every second. FPS is related to the content you run on the screen, which might be a video or a game.
So, ideally, if your video has been shot and packaged at 90 frames per second and your display has 90Hz refresh rate, your phone will be able to push all frames. Similarly, you can play games or videos with 90fps on 90Hz refresh rate panel but you can’t play games at 90fps on a display with a lower, say, 60Hz refresh rate.
If you feed 60fps content to a 90Hz screen, the display will either switch to 60Hz or duplicate some frames.
What does a higher refresh rate screen feel like in person? The impact is subtle yet noticeable with motion. If you are scrolling in App drawer, in your browser or your social media feed, your content will seem to flow up and down with less friction. Kind of like the difference you’d feel between pushing an ice slab and a wooden slab on a marble floor. Similarly, animations are smoother too.
Higher Refresh Rate Advantages and Disadvantages
- Noticeably smoother scrolling and animations
- Less eye fatigue
- Consumes more battery
Not much content is available to take advantage of 90Hz, so most videos and games push only 60 frames per second. Which is also why the OnePlus 7 Pro screen has been programmed to dial down to 60Hz refresh rate when you are watching videos.
Difference Between Touch Refresh Rate and Display Refresh Rate
Touch Refresh Rate means the speed at which screen can register your touch and respond by starting to render the next frame in an animation.
If the touch refresh rate and the display refresh rate are both clocked at 60Hz, it means the tracking and refreshing coincide, and the animations are rendered one interval later.
However, if the touch refresh rate runs at 120Hz and is complemented by a 60Hz display refresh rate, animations will still be snappier and smoother, and it would appear to be more responsive, but won’t match the fluidity of having a 120Hz refresh rate.
The iPhone Xs and Xs Max, for instance, have 120Hz touch refresh rate, and the new iPad Pro 2018 has 120Hz display refresh rate.
Best Phones with higher refresh rates – 90Hz or 120Hz
1. OnePlus 7 Pro
The OnePlus 7 Pro (review) has made the display refresh rate mainstream. By offering a 90Hz display on the OnePlus 7 Pro the company has leaped ahead of giants like Samsung, Huawei, LG and Google who are yet to offer an AMOLED screen with similar capabilities.
The OnePlus 7 Pro 90Hz display means fluid animations and transition throughout the phone. Having said that, despite having a 90Hz screen and capable hardware, OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t render games or videos at 90fps.
ALSO READ: OnePlus 7 Pro VS Oppo Reno: Specs Comparison
2. Asus ROG Phone
Asus’s first ever Republic of Gamers (ROG) branded phone was also the first phone with a 90Hz display in India. In fact, it won the Smartprix gaming phone of the year 2018 award last year.
The phone came with a 6-inch AMOLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate and full HD+ resolution. Apart from featuring a great display, the other highlight of the Asus ROG phone includes an over-clocked version of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, dual type C ports, ROG Aerodynamic System and excellent audio capabilities.
3. Razer Phone 2
Following the footsteps of original Razer Phone, its successor Razer Phone 2 also comes with a 5.7-Inch 2K LCD screen with 16:9 aspect ratio and 120Hz refresh rate.
What it means is that, theoretically, it is more fluid and smoother than the OnePlus 7 Pro. Another good thing about the Razer phone is that you can actually experience games with up to 120fps. Apart from this, it packs the same hardware as any other Android flagship in 2019.
4. Nubia Red Magic 3
ZTE backed smartphone manufacturer Nubia recently launched its gaming phone Red Magic 3 which also bolsters a 90Hz AMOLED screen.
This aggressively specced phone comes with a copper cooling tube to keep the temperature under check even after prolong intense gaming sessions. Nubia has powered its gaming phone with Snapdragon 855 chipset, coupled with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 2.1 storage. It is aided by a 5000mAh battery with 27W fast charging.
5. Sharp Aquos 3
The Japanese based brand unveiled its second dual notch phone that also sports a smooth 120Hz display that stretches to 6.2-inch Pro IGZO panel with 3120 x 1440-pixel resolution. This display is also HDR10 compatible. The notch at the top houses a 16.3MP selfie camera, while the bottom one has the home button-cum-fingerprint scanner.
It is powered by Snapdragon 855 chip that is backed by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The battery is of a small 3,200 mAh size with 11W Qi wireless charging support.
Sharp Aquos Crystal
Never heard of this phone? Well, I don’t blame you. It was launched in 2014 and it was the first bezel-less phone with then unusual 120-refresh rate display phone.
iPad Pro 2018
The iPad Pro 2018 also 120Hz refresh rate system-wide. Of course, it’s not a phone.
Best higher refresh rates display phones
At present, there are only a handful of phones are equipped with a display that is capable of handling more than 60Hz of refresh rate. In the days to come, we expect it to become a common phenomenon at least in flagship phones.
Here’s the list of all 90Hz display or 120Hz display phones in 2019
|OnePlus 7 Pro||Rs. 48,999|
|Asus ROG Phone||Rs. 69,999|
|Razer Phone 2||Rs. 55,990*|
|Nubia Red Magic 3||Rs. 29,999*|
|Sharp Aquos R3||T.B.A|
* Expected Prices