One of the best features Samsung added to its Galaxy S20 line is the high refresh rate screen. The S20 is now part of an elite club of smartphones that offer 120Hz refresh rate displays.
However, achieving 120Hz comes at a cost. We already knew that Samsung would limit 120Hz on the S20 series to Full HD+ resolution. If you want the higher WQHD+ resolution offered by the S20 series, you’ll need to settle for a lower 60Hz refresh rate. Unfortunately, even at FHD+, there will be situations where the S20 limits itself to a 60Hz refresh rate.
For one, battery will have a significant impact on when the S20 runs at 120Hz. If the battery temperature exceeds 42°C, the S20 will fall back to 60Hz operation. Additionally, if the battery level falls below 5 percent, the device will limit itself to 60Hz. While annoying, both these limitations make sense in the grand scope of things. higher refresh rates mean greater power consumption, so reducing the refresh rate to extend battery life makes a lot of sense.
However, battery isn’t the only factor. The S20 will limit itself to 60Hz when users launch certain apps. According to SamMobile, the S20 line will use 60Hz in some apps like Google Maps or the camera. These apps use a significant amount of battery power, so reducing the refresh rate also makes sense, although it’s frustrating.
Ultimately, the S20’s refresh rate restrictions are not as strict as the Pixel 4 with its 90Hz display. Like the S20 line, the Pixel 4 can’t run some apps at 90Hz, particularly Google Maps and Pokemon Go. The latter, however, was capped at 30Hz by the developer, so enabling 90Hz doesn’t make much sense in that case.
However, the Pixel 4 has had other issues, which things like display brightness also impacting refresh rates.
While disappointing that Samsung chose to restrict using 120Hz in certain ways, the ways it chose to restrict it do make sense. Hopefully we don’t discover other restrictions that we aren’t currently aware of.