Smartphone manufacturers add a lot of features to their new models and advertise them to push the sales. The camera function has seen such a huge transformation that today, a quad-camera setup with a 64MP primary sensor does not raise eyebrows anymore. A new feature that has entered the smartphone lexicon is the screen refresh rate. 60Hz refresh rate has been the standard for a very long time until OnePlus introduced the higher 90Hz refresh rate in its OnePlus 7T offering. Google Pixel 4 too, boasts of this feature of 90Hz refresh rate which Google calls Smooth Display feature. Now that the phones are getting sold and people have started using it, some are saying this refresh rate drops to 60Hz under certain conditions.
Fall in Refresh Rate Under Low Light Conditions
Though there is no clarity on different online forums on how this feature behaves, the general sense one gets is that when the Google Pixel 4 is exposed to poor light conditions around it, the refresh rate drops on its own. Possibly, if you move back to a well-lit area, it gains back the 90Hz refresh rate. One particular reviewer, Mishaal Rahman of XDA Developers says he found that this change occurred when he altered the brightness of the screen to 75% or less. It switches back to 90Hz when the brightness level is increased to above 75%.
Holy crap. Google Pixel 4 changes between 60Hz and 90Hz based on screen brightness.https://t.co/J6J2SjNBEw
I tested using ADB and logcat.
If brightness < 75%, display id = 2.
If brightness >= 75%, display id = 1.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) October 23, 2019
Google Yet to React to the Comments
Google has followed a practice of not promptly reacting to such comments in the past. The company first waits to see if it is a fairly widespread phenomenon or for just a few users. Then the company’s internal testing team will try and simulate the conditions to verify if the issue is indeed genuine. It is only after that will Google come out with a blog post making an analysis and giving out remedies. Those who don’t want the refresh rate to drop can go to the Developer Options menu and tap on “Force 90Hz refresh rate”.
Those not so concerned about this feature can let it be since in any case, a higher refresh rate means a faster drain on your device’s battery. There are sporadic complaints of the battery charge not lasting for a sufficient period of time in the Google Pixel 4 already. This may be only in the case of the Google Pixel 4 and not the XL model. However, Google may have to look into this as well.
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