DigiTimes: 5G Era to Usher in Wide Adoption of Higher Refresh Rate Smartphone Displays

Back in July, we reported on a rumor that Apple is considering using a switchable 60Hz/120Hz refresh rate screen on its 2020 iPhones, allowing for a smoother on-screen experience. DigiTimes now reports that industry observers believe many 5G-era smartphones are likely to use upgraded displays capable of up to 120Hz refresh rates, reigniting speculation that next year's iPhones could use Apple's ProMotion display tech.


However, DigiTimes notes that whether Apple will adopt displays with a 120Hz refresh rate "remains to be seen."

The arrival of 5G is ushering in hardware upgrades to support related applications and services. It is expected more 5G smartphones will come with displays offering high refresh rates that can enhance user experience. It remains to be seen whether Apple will launch its first 5G iPhone in 2020, or will adopt displays with 120Hz refresh rate...

The DigiTimes article bases its prediction on the penetration rate of over 120Hz panels in the gaming notebook segment. Observers note that this has surpassed 30 percent and is still growing, which is prompting panel makers to step into the sector and develop panels with refresh rates ranging from 120Hz to 240Hz.

The gaming-oriented Razer Phone 2 has such a panel with a fast refresh rate, while Asustek's ROG Phone II, which launched in the second half of 2019, also boasts one. DigiTimes also notes that the Google's Pixel 4 comes with a 90Hz display and Sharp's recently released Aquos R3 features a 6.2-inch IGZO 120Hz display, while several Chinese brands are expected to roll out models with higher refresh rates in 2020.


Having a similar display on a new ‌iPhone‌ without sacrificing battery life would obviously be a big draw. Apple already uses variable refresh rate technology in its iPad Pro models, and markets the tech under the moniker "ProMotion," which it says dynamically adjusts the display to the movement of content for fluid scrolling, greater responsiveness, and smoother motion. It does all this on the fly, which means it also conserves battery life.

Of course, Apple's ‌iPad Pro‌ models use LCD panels rather than OLED, and rumors have suggested Apple will complete its transition to an all-OLED iPhone lineup in 2020 with new 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch devices.

If Apple is indeed in discussion with Samsung and LG to bring a ProMotion-style screen to a new breed of OLED iPhones, as one leaker claimed earlier this year, then it would raise next year's smartphone performance bar even higher.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

Top Rated Comments

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9 months ago
How ridiculous. 5G has nothing to do with refresh rates.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


Just fix the iPhone Pro/Max pricing Apple, and everyone will be much happier.

Y'all wouldn't be happy if they gave it away for free.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


Will be interesting to see if this pans out, although I don't care about the tech (looks more like overflow from Android's endless spec sheet one upmenship their vendors try to differentiate themselves with).

Apple actually already have 120Hz on their iPad Pros and it's MUCH better than 60Hz. Artists benefit from this the most, as it also allows for much lower delay rate when using the Apple Pencil. You can see slow-mo comparisons and the Apple Pencil has got the fastest response time among all tablets and styluses. It will be terrific if Apple included that kind of refresh rate on their next iPhones, I'm very excited.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
I’ve been using a 165Hz variable refresh rate display for years, it’s a massive improvement.
You don’t really notice any difference beyond 120Hz but the difference from 60Hz to 120Hz is massive, all displays from laptops and desktops to phones and tablets should use 120Hz or higher.

I really wish Apple would incorporate Variable Refresh Rate technology in all their devices, saves power, improves gaming and allows for all sorts of Refresh rates and there’s next to no downside for including it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago


Just fix the iPhone Pro/Max pricing Apple, and everyone will be much happier.

Yep, 128, 256 and 512 and $100 less across the board.
I would understand $200 more for a Pro with 128GB versus the 11. I don't understand $300 and 64GB.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
Love this. Motion is a huge oversight in specs. This is especially important for Apple's LCD displays.

I can't begin to tell you how much better my OLED iPhone handles motion compared to my gf's new LCD 11 when comparing them side-by-side. It's the most striking difference (to me) between the two displays.

If Apple keeps using LCD displays and increases to 90hz or 120 hz, the LCDs will look pretty damn good. OLEDs will look divine.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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