Screens with high refresh rate are a delight for every gamer, and also the reason why gaming monitors with high refresh rate are so common. In simple, a higher refresh rate means smoother graphics and animation on a display. The refresh rate is the number of times a display refreshes its image per second. It is measured in Hz and smartphones usually come with a 60Hz refresh rate.
Before OnePlus 7 Pro came with a 90Hz display, high refresh rate screens were only limited to smartphones aimed at gaming. OnePlus made the higher refresh rate mainstream and now almost every smartphone manufacturer is making high-end phones with a 90Hz screen, whereas the gaming smartphones are going as high as 144Hz.
A phone with high refresh rate has an overall smoother experience whether its animations, scrolling on the app drawer or social media feed, and of course gaming. The impact of a high refresh rate screen is subtle and not outright noticeable. However, if you use a high refresh rate screen for some time and then go back to the usual 60Hz display, you will feel as if the latter screen is sluggish. We are listing down the smartphones with higher refresh rate screens, including the devices that are yet to launch.
Phones with 90Hz refresh rate
Asus ROG Phone: Aimed at gamers, the original ROG gaming phone from Asus came with a 90Hz refresh rate back in 2018. It drew power from an overclocked Snapdragon 845 processor coupled with gaming features like a vapour-chamber cooling system and the complimentary RGB lighting with Aura Sync support. In our review of the device, we found the phone to be a solid performer but a bit costlier at Rs 69,999.
The OnePlus 7-brigade: OnePlus started packing 90Hz display starting with its premium device OnePlus 7 Pro– the flagship on steroids. It was probably the first instance of a higher refresh rate screen in a phone which was not primarily aimed at gaming. OnePlus also announced that it’s all future phones will be coming with a minimum of 90Hz display. When the next batch of phones from OnePlus — OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7T Pro — came with 90Hz screens, other manufacturers had also set their eyes on the smoother screen experience.
Realme X2 Pro: When OnePlus was sharing teasers for its OnePlus 7T smartphone boasting a 90Hz screen in a comparatively lower price, Realme joined in with the claim of launching the cheapest flagship device powered by Snapdragon 855+ processor and a Super AMOLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate. The Realme X2 Pro offered a smoother experience loaded with other premium features at a starting price of Rs 29,999.
Google Pixel 4, Pixel 4XL: The Pixel 4-series did not receive the welcome Google would have hoped. Pixel fans in India were also left disappointed when it decided not to bring the device in India. Google did not reveal the exact reason why it did not launch the phone here. And while experts believe the tiny Soli radar chip and its complications with local laws was the reason, we believe Google never wanted to launch the Pixel 4 in India. However, the Pixel 4 did come with a 90Hz display along with other interesting features including a dual rear camera setup accompanied by astrophotography.
Nubia Red Magic 3/3s: Nubia’s gaming smartphones of 2019 — Nubia Red Magic 3 and Nubia Red Magic 3s — came with a 90Hz display along with gaming-oriented features like shoulder triggers and a physical fan inside the phone. The only difference between the two phones was limited to the processor and was also the reason why Nubia unveiled a second phone in the first place. The Red Magic 3 came with Snapdragon 855 whereas the Red Magic 3S packed a Snapdragon 855+ processor to attract gamers who would have otherwise wandered off to devices with the new slightly improved processor from Qualcomm.
Oppo Reno3 Pro: Oppo ended the year 2019 with the launch of Oppo Reno3 series in China with 5G support. The company packed a 90Hz AMOLED screen in the Oppo Reno3 Pro smartphone that also featured a Snapdragon 765G chip, Adreno 620 GPU, 48MP quad-rear camera setup, 4025mAh battery with 30W fast charging.
Phones with 120Hz refresh rate
Razer Phone, Razer Phone 2: Razer was the first company to unveil a smartphone with 120Hz refresh rate screen way back in 2017. Razer followed its original phone with the Razer Phone 2 in October 2018, which also came with a 120Hz display. The company continued to enjoy the status of being the only manufacturer which made not one but two 120Hz phones until 2019. However, the manufacturer did not come up with a successor in 2019 and there are no concrete reports that suggest the arrival of Razer Phone 3 anytime soon.
Asus ROG Phone 2: With the ROG Phone II, Asus changed the narrative around gaming smartphones. We found the device is not only a great gaming device but also a superb Android phone. The ROG Phone II sports a 120Hz screen, cooling system, Ultrasonic AirTriggers II, and more to make it a full-fledged gaming phone but also has an option to switch to a cleaner interface to be used as a normal Android phone. The ROG Phone II is the first-ever smartphone that came with 120Hz display other than Razer and also the first device to come with the Snapdragon 855+ processor.
Xiaomi Redmi K30 5G: Xiaomi’s Redmi K30 5G was launched at the end of 2019 in China and the phone came with a 120Hz display. The Redmi K30 succeeds the Redmi K20 device and has yet to launch in India. The smartphone comes with Snapdragon 730G processor and a 64MP quad-rear camera setup.
OnePlus 8 Pro (upcoming): OnePlus has announced to launch a phone this year that will come with 120Hz display. The brand has not revealed the name of the device but there have been reports of the device being called as the OnePlus 8 Pro.
Apple iPhone 2020 (upcoming): Even before the launch of the Apple iPhone 11-series in 2019, leaks and rumours had started to pour in for the 2020 iPhone lineup. There are reports that suggest the next-gen iPhones will come with an OLED panel supporting 120Hz refresh rate. Apple’s iPad Pro already supports 120Hz refresh rate so the possibility for 2020 iPhones to have such a high refresh rate bears some weight, even though the iPad uses ProMotion LCD panel instead of an OLED one.
Samsung Galaxy S20 (upcoming): Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S20-series was reported to come with 120Hz refresh rate display but there are also reports suggesting the higher refresh rate will not be available on the next S-series lineup. We will have to wait until the launch to know for sure. The South-Korean giant is all set to launch the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra at its Unpacked event on February 11, 2020. Live images of the Galaxy S20+ 5G have been leaked already along with its renders and key specifications.
Phones with 144Hz display
Redmi K30 Pro 5G (upcoming): The Redmi K30 Pro has been scheduled to launch next month in China and succeeds the company’s first flagship device Redmi K20 Pro. The device sports a punch-hole screen which could actually be capable of 144Hz refresh rate as showcased by Redmi executive Lu Weibing. However, it is difficult to guess whether Xiaomi actually unlocks the 144Hz refresh rate on the Redmi K30 Pro or limits it to only 120Hz, considering how the Redmi K20 Pro could actually support 75Hz refresh rate but the company limited it to only 60Hz.
Nubia gaming phone (upcoming): Nubia’s co-founder and senior vice president Ni Fei has confirmed that Nubia’s upcoming gaming phone will come with a 144Hz screen. He shared a screenshot on Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo which shows four options for screen refresh rate among 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz.
The highest refresh rate on a phone: 240Hz
Sharp Aquos Zero 2: While smartphone manufacturers have yet to accept the 90Hz as the standard refresh rate for a device, there is a company which has escalated the ladder to offer double the refresh rate than the Asus ROG Phone II. The Sharp Aquos Zero 2 features an OLED screen with a whopping 240Hz refresh rate making it the phone with the highest refresh rate display. Sharp Aquos Zero 2 is currently available only in China and packs a Snapdragon 855 processor, dual rear cameras, and 8GB RAM.