Supports Ubuntu 120 Hz displays

120Hz, 90Hz or 60Hz - that's how it plays better

Birgit Götz, Lewis Painter

Once you switch to a high refresh rate you'll never want to go back - we explain why.

EnlargeCall of Duty Mobile: Live longer with high refresh rates

Most of the smartphones available in 2020 will have a standard 60Hz display. However, there is a rising trend for manufacturers to use high refresh rate displays in their flagship smartphones to improve the overall experience. The new Samsung Galaxy S20 has a refresh rate of 120 Hz - but only with Full HD + and not with the maximum resolution of WQHD +. What does that mean in practice?

We explain the differences between 60 Hz, 90 Hz and 120 Hz and why you never want to use a 60 Hz display on your smartphone again afterwards.

What is a display refresh rate?

The refresh rate refers to the number of times your display is updated per second. 60 Hz is the standard on PC monitors and smartphone displays these days, but higher options are also available.

If you choose a high refresh rate like 90 or 120 Hz, the screen updates the content more dynamically, resulting in better, smoother picture quality with little motion blur. Interacting with the device feels more responsive at a higher frame rate and makes all the difference not only when gaming but also when using the device in general.

The technology has been available to gamers on desktop PCs for years, with some monitors reaching up to 144 Hz and even 240 Hz if you really want to let off steam. Smartphones are not quite at this level yet, as the smartphone should be able to output content at 144 or 240 frames per second, but 90 and 120 frames per second are a little more manageable.

High refresh rates are a truly transformative experience. You may be used to the standard 60Hz display, but once you've made the jump to 90 or 120Hz you'll find it hard to go back. With smartphones in particular, the animations are faster and more responsive, and scrolling through social networking applications is completely jitter-free.

While the latter is due in part to the high-end mobile processors that sit alongside the high-end displays, they both work together to provide a great mobile experience.

Of course, it should go without saying that games that use the better frame rate caps feel more dynamic and responsive. When it comes to online multiplayer games like Call of Duty Mobile and Fortnite, that helps to give you a head start. While it won't make you better in the games, it does give you a split second chance of reacting to an opposing player, especially if your opponent is capped at 60Hz.

A 2019 study by Nvidia found that a higher refresh rate could improve a gamer's kill-to-death ratio by up to 90 percent.

If you're using an app on a 60 Hz screen next to a 90 or 120 Hz screen, you'll notice how sluggish and slow a standard 60 Hz screen really is. Our colleague Alex Walker-Todd posted a video on Twitter to show the differences using a Razer Phone as an example.

It's up to the app developers to really take advantage of the high refresh rate of the flagship smartphones in 2020 - especially when it comes to smartphone games that display up to 90 frames per second on a 90 Hz display and on a 120 Hz display can achieve up to 120 frames per second. It's the same for the content; 60Hz content looks great on a 120Hz display, but 120fps video - although rare right now - would look even better.

Will we see a swivel in the direction of 90 frames per second and 120 frames per second for video recordings in smartphones when manufacturers move to higher update rates? If 90 Hz becomes the new standard for smartphones, it will certainly be possible.

This post was first published by our English colleagues on