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Here's why HUAWEI P40 Pro, Pro Plus don't have 120Hz screens

Huawei's latest flagships top out at 90Hz, while Samsung's Galaxy S20 series delivers 120Hz displays.

Published onApril 8, 2020

HUAWEI P40 Pro Home screen handheld blurry background

High refresh rate screens are all the rage in 2020, offering smoother animations and gaming performance compared to standard 60Hz screens. Huawei also jumped on the trend this year with its P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus.

The Chinese manufacturer offers a 90Hz refresh rate for its top two flagships though, while arch-rival Samsung offers a 120Hz rate for its Galaxy S20 series. Now, HUAWEI consumer group CEO Richard Yu has reportedly clarified why the company stuck with the lower refresh rate.

According to Chinese-language outlet ITHome, the executive said HUAWEI chose a 90Hz screen over a 120Hz display due to power consumption considerations. Yu added that HUAWEI has nevertheless tuned the 90Hz panel on the P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus for smoothness.

Here's why I think the refresh rate wars are dumb
Google Pixel 4 XL vs OnePlus 7T home screen in hand

There are benefits to opting for 90Hz over 120Hz though, as the lower refresh rate indeed consumes less power. This is especially important in the 5G era, as today’s early 5G modems are expected to be more power-hungry. So the combination of a 120Hz screen and 5G necessitates a much bigger battery.

A higher refresh rate could also place more strain on the phone’s internals if the processor is unable to keep up, resulting in more janky performance. So reducing the refresh rate to 90Hz could ensure more stable performance on paper.

That’s not to say that there aren’t benefits to 120Hz though, as it’s definitely smoother than 90Hz in general and enables a higher frame-rate in supported games (assuming the chipset keeps up). But you can certainly expect power drain to increase as the refresh rate gets cranked up.

Do you care about your phone's refresh rate?

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