Mobile Display

What is Display Refresh Rate? | Differences and Evolution

Display refresh rate has started to be heard frequently nowadays. This term, which most users didn’t know until a few years ago, has now become popular with evolution of display refresh rate on mobile devices. Display refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz) and indicates number of frames per second that device reflects on display. A high refresh rate device can make a huge difference. Because it will provide a more fluid experience. In addition, the term we call FPS (frame-per-second) is completely dependent on it. So what is the logic of this screen refresh rate? How is it working? Why high display refresh rate is preferred on premium devices?

Differences of Display Refresh Rates

Images are constantly updated on the screen of any device. In these updates, the number of consecutive frames per second is expressed by the refresh rate. For example, 30Hz screen brings 30 ​​frames per second to the screen. And 60Hz display brings 60 different frames per second. Users won’t be able to see these frames individually, but it will provide a much more smooth experience in daily use.

To explain in more detail, there is a delay of about 33.33ms between frame transitions on a 30Hz screen. Higher refresh rate, the lower this value and the more frames per second, and more detail. On a 120Hz display, delay between frames is about 8.33ms. There is a big difference.

Concept of FPS, which is known much more closely especially by gamers, is actually completely dependent on it. Refresh rates create very serious changes even with very small differences. Even a small difference between 60Hz and 75Hz provides a better experience for gamers. Also, your device’s screen refresh rate is the maximum FPS you can experience. For example, you have a 144Hz monitor and you are playing a game. Even if your powerful computer gives 200-300 FPS in that game, the value you can experience is max. 144 FPS. So, since a 144Hz monitor can output 144 frames per second, more isn’t possible.

Evolution of Display Refresh Rates

Refresh rates have evolved a lot over the past few years. However, in previous years (even today), 60Hz displays were standard. 75Hz monitors were available at this time. There isn’t a huge leap in between anyway, also many older CRT monitors supports 75Hz. The biggest evolution came with 120 Hz refresh rate. BenQ’s XL2410T model LED monitor is the world first 120Hz gaming monitor. The 24-inch size monitor was released in October 2010. In other words, we can say that first 120Hz monitor met with users in 2010.

2 years later, the world’s first 144Hz monitor met with users, ASUS VG278HE. Monitor with a size of 27 inches and Full HD (1920×1200) resolution had a refresh rate of 144Hz. It was released in July 2012. The 144Hz refresh rate was revolutionary for 60Hz monitor owners. Then it continued to improve, a refresh rate of 165Hz was achieved in February 2016, and then 240Hz has also been achieved. Even now, there are monitors available with 360Hz refresh rate. ASUS ROG Shift PG259QNR model would be a good example.

Of course, these developments in monitors were also directly reflected on notebooks. Simultaneously, notebooks switched to high refresh rate displays. Gaming laptops are leading the way in this regard. For example, the Monster Tulpar T7 V25.1.2 model laptop has a 17-inch 300Hz display. This is how the display refresh rate evolutions in computers are, but what about smartphones or tablets? Do we know about our phones display refresh rate?

Evolution of Phone Display Refresh Rates

There has been a lot of talk about this in the smartphone market lately. In fact, a few years ago, display refresh rate wasn’t in question on phones. because all devices were coming with 60Hz display. High display refresh rates weren’t available, or perhaps not needed in daily usage, until 2017.

The first device with a high refresh rate display was the Razer Phone, which was introduced in November 2017. This was a necessary move for the rapidly rising mobile gaming industry in the world. Alongside the increasingly powerful chipsets, high-graphics mobile games demanded it. Razer Phone was powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 (MSM8998) chipset. The device, which has a 5.7″ 120Hz QHD (1440×2560) IPS LCD (IGZO) screen, is the world’s first high refresh rate display device.

Then this technology gradually started to trend in mobile devices. The first 90Hz device is Asus ROG Phone, another gaming concept phone released in October 2018. Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 (SDM845) chipset, the device had a 90Hz FHD+ (1080×2160) AMOLED display. This was another device with a gaming concept. Apparently, the gaming industry is an important factor in the development of screen refresh rate. More detailed information about the device is available here.

In 2019, the high refresh rate, which gradually ceased to be just a gaming factor, began to meet with the end user. First devices to offer a high refresh rate for daily use came from OnePlus and Google. OnePlus 7 Pro device introduced in May 2019 and Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL devices introduced in October 2019 are among the first devices to offer high refresh rates for daily use. Xiaomi’s first high screen refresh rate device is Redmi K30 device by Redmi. The device, which has a 120Hz screen refresh rate, was released in December 2019. You can find more information about the Redmi K30 here.

Of course, brands weren’t content with 90Hz and 120Hz. 144Hz refresh rate has been reached on mobile devices. First device with a 144Hz display in the world is ZTE Nubia Magic 5G. Introduced in March 2020, device has a 6.65″ FHD+ (1080×2340) 144Hz AMOLED display. And first Xiaomi 144Hz devices are Mi 10T and Mi 10T Pro devices. These devices introduced in October 2020, Mi 10T series have 6.67″ FHD+ (1080×2400) 144Hz IPS LCD. Mi 10T specifications are here, and Mi 10T Pro specifications are here.

After years of development, 60Hz standard is now obsolete, even for mobile devices. Developing technology and innovation processes of companies will show us higher refresher values. Higher display refresh rate will provide a more fluid and stable user experience. In addition, display refresh rate, which is of vital importance for gamers, has now become an important factor when purchasing a phone. Don’t forget to express your views in the comments, and stay tuned for more.

Don't miss out