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120Hz or QHD? Samsung Galaxy S20 series might not make you choose anymore

Why choose between a high refresh rate and the highest display resolution when you can have both?

Published onFebruary 19, 2020

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra screen in hand

The Samsung Galaxy S20 series marks the first time Samsung adopts a higher refresh rate in its phones, topping out at 120Hz. Unfortunately, this high refresh rate can only be used at FHD+ resolutions, even though the Galaxy S20 phones offer QHD+ screens. So you essentially have to choose between the highest resolution or a high refresh rate.

Fortunately, noted tipster and XDA writer Max Weinbach confirmed on Twitter that Samsung is currently testing the ability to use the 120Hz refresh rate at QHD+ resolution. Furthermore, Weinbach says a firmware update to enable this feature could be released in up to three months’ time.

Samsung is working on optimizing software for WQHD+ 120hz on the S20 series and should release it in the next 1-3 months if all goes well.
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) February 18, 2020

It’s believed that Samsung initially opted against offering 120Hz at QHD+ resolution due to battery life concerns. After all, a higher refresh rate already requires more juice, as does QHD+ resolution over FHD+. But combining the two seems like a recipe for much shorter endurance.

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

Nevertheless, it would be great if Samsung gave the option to Galaxy S20 users anyway, allowing them to get the best of both worlds. Well, as long as the users understand they’ll see a notable reduction in endurance.

Samsung’s reported tweak also comes as OPPO readies the Find X2, and it’s expected to offer a QHD+ screen with a 120Hz refresh rate as well. OPPO vice-president Brian Shen noted that he was using a pre-production smartphone (presumably the Find X2) with 5G and 120Hz at QHD+ enabled. Shen said his phone lasted from 8am to 6pm with 38% juice remaining, adding that it offered screen-on time of four hours and 16 minutes.

Do you care about higher refresh rates on smartphones? Sound off in the comments section below.

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