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What is the refresh rate on cell phones and why you should care

Cell phone manufacturers will distinguish their high-end terminals by highlighting the refresh rate of their screens. In fact, they are already starting to do it. The most recent example is OnePlus: the company stated at the beginning of 2020 that it had completed the development of its next-generation AMOLED display, which has as its main feature a refresh rate of 120 Hz.

It has also transpired that the Galaxy S20 (previously named as Galaxy S11) will have a display with this same number, so that users experience much smoother animations and movements, according to SamMobile, half recognized for its reports on the following cell phones of the South Korean firm.

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But then what is the refresh rate on smart phones? Is this feature a decisive factor in choosing a smartphone?

In simple terms, the refresh rate is the number of times a screen updates its image in a second, capacity that is measured in hertz or hertz (Hz). This was already an important specification on monitors and now a place has been made in the mobile world.

Thus, in 2019, the protagonists were high-end cell phones that boast 60 or 90 Hz, that is, they visually cooled 60 or 90 times in a second, such as the Galaxy S10 Plus, Pixel 4 XL and OnePlus 7 Pro.

Everything seems to indicate that 2020 will be the year of the phones with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, which will have the purpose of offering a better experience when playing action clips and video games, as well as navigating between the different options and applications cell phone

The big problem that arises, as it happened with HDR10, is the availability of content ready for a screen with a high refresh rate. OnePlus indicated that several of the most important applications after numerous system optimizations could take advantage of this specification.

With respect to the videos, the story is different: Most of the content is still produced at 24 or 30 frames per second (fps), while there is a small portion at 60 frames per second, the brand said.

To give an answer to this problem, OnePlus is including in its new generation screen the MEMC technology seen in high-end televisions and that uses real-time algorithmic adjustments to introduce additional frames to a video file, which could allow a material at 24 or 30 fps, reproduce at 60 or even 120 fps.

What is clear is that the content generating industry and related to the mobile world, will have to work at forced gears so that the 120 Hz refresh rate does not remain as a mere novelty or on a simple image scaling issue.

For now, the big brands are already fighting to be the first to have a commercial cell phone with a screen with an image update level never seen before. At the moment OnePlus and Samsung are leading the competition.

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