Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra may have an advanced display that can enable both 120 Hz refresh and WQHD+ at once, which has both pros and cons.
Samsung is expected to announce the new Galaxy S21 line of smartphones on January 14, which is the date for its first Galaxy Unpacked event of 2021. Rumors and leaks have given away the appearance and specifications of these devices. A Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra are expected, with the Ultra being the largest and having the best features of the three.
Samsung’s existing Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra each feature beautiful edge-to-edge screens. Both measure 6.9 inches diagonally and have bright and colorful AMOLED displays with wide-quad-high-definition-plus (WQHD+) resolution screens and 120 Hz refresh rates. Samsung’s display technology is among the best in the industry. However, there is a conflicting detail that bothers some users. WQHD+ and 120 Hz refresh rate can’t be used together. Instead, switching on WQHD+ reduces the display refresh to 60 Hz. Switching on 120 Hz reduces resolution to FHD. ‘Why can’t users have both?’ was the question and the answer is that the hardware couldn’t update that many pixels at a rate of 120 times per second.
However, according to a recent tweet from Ice Universe, a generally reliable source for Samsung information, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will have the ability to use WQHD+ resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate simultaneously. Given Samsung’s reputation for display tech, this is very plausible. The tweet contained a supposed screenshot of the display settings which shows the screen resolution and adaptive motion smoothness, which is what implies the 120 Hz display refresh.
Pros & Cons Of 120 Hz With WQHD-Plus
Most agree that there is a very noticeable difference when using a 120 Hz display refresh rate. It means scrolling, which is a very common action when using a smartphone, is much smoother. For phones limited to a 60 Hz refresh rate, a quick scroll results in a visibly jerky movement. It’s probably not that the GPU is unable keep up with the motion. Some Qualcomm chips, as far back as 2017, offered a 120 Hz refresh rate. The combination of a fast refresh and high-resolution is a challenge though. When it comes to pixel density, the visual advantage provided by WQHD+ resolution is debatable and how noticeable it is varies quite a bit from person to person. It would seem the human eye is more sensitive to the lost motion information than to the lost sharpness. It becomes a subjective observation, but many find QHD or WQHD+ to be much more pleasant to view. As the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is expected to work with both enabled at the same time, the user may be able to make that decision for themselves.
There may still be drawbacks to using both the higher resolution and faster display refresh together, however. The biggest concern is that there will be a heavier drain on the battery. There have been reports that using either advanced display feature draws more power. Using both at the same time would most likely cause the battery level to drop even faster. That said, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will be using a processor made with a five-nanometer manufacturing node, which is more energy-efficient, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100 said to be the chips used.
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