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We asked, you told us: You prefer adaptive over static refresh rate

A screen with an automatically changing refresh rate or a screen that's always running at 120Hz?

Published onFebruary 23, 2021

OnePlus 8 Pro screen in hand

A high refresh rate is one of the key selling points for top-end smartphones in 2021, delivering a smoother, more responsive screen experience in supported apps and games. Whether it’s 90Hz, 120Hz, or 144Hz, it’s hard to find a flagship phone that doesn’t offer this feature.

We’ve also seen the emergence of phones with an adaptive refresh rate, automatically offering a much lower refresh rate (e.g. 10Hz) when reading an ebook but scaling up to 120Hz or more when playing games or scrolling through system menus. That got us wondering whether users prefer a smartphone screen with an adaptive refresh rate or display that’s always running at a high refresh rate.

Do you prefer an adaptive or static refresh rate?


We posted the poll on February 18, and almost 1,500 votes were cast. It was a resounding victory for the adaptive refresh rate camp, with just over 72% of the vote. Comments suggest that many users would prefer increased battery life over having a high refresh rate in every situation.

Meanwhile, almost 28% of respondents felt that a static (i.e. always high) refresh rate would be the way to go. Presumably these users don’t trust a phone with an adaptive refresh rate to always give them the desired refresh rate.

For what it’s worth, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate but doesn’t actually let you force 120Hz all the time. So hopefully future smartphones offer a hybrid approach, giving you the option of a completely automatic adaptive experience or granting users granular control over the refresh rate.


  • Wesley: 60hz is better. I refuse to sacrifice battery life.
  • Wongwatt: Yeah, because we’re all obsessed with fast refresh rates… I understand them on gaming phones but for a general purpose device it’s just specification one-upmanship.
  • Miguel7501: If it works properly, adaptive is the way to go. But even on a Oneplus 8 (where the only options are 60 and 90) it doesn’t. By default it will lock some apps (most browsers for example) to 60hz even if you select 90hz in the settings. I fixed this with a shell command but I really shouldn’t have to. Oneplus should add the option to set the refresh rate for every app and maybe dynamically detect it for videos playback. Without those options, an adaptive refresh rate is useless.
  • kcgunesq: Really, how many people that buy $1,000 phones care at all about refresh rates. Maybe teens trying to game on a phone, but that isn’t the likely target audience. What an I missing? I never use my note 9 and walk away wishing it had a different refresh rate.
  • Bart: I wish to see 10Hz setting all the time – and see how that 10Hz looks like in…… web browsing. And I wish someone would do compression battery usage in ONLY 10Hz vs ONLY 120Hz – if it is really worth to sacrifice pain of using ie……… 30Hz all the time or 60Hz.

That’s it for our static versus dynamic refresh rate poll results article, thanks for voting and leaving a comment. What do you think of the topic? Let us know below.