Samsung Display has issued a press release detailing the screen specifications of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The firm explains in particular that the refresh rate of the panel may vary automatically depending on the applications in use and the content. From 120 Hz, it can go down to 10 Hz.
The refresh rate has become important information in mobile telephony. This is a number expressed in “hertz” and corresponds to the number of times an image is refreshed every second. When we talk about a 60 Hz or 120 Hz screen, that means that the panel displays 60 or 120 images every second. The higher the rate, the smoother the image appears. And this even if the human eye is not always able to consciously perceive.
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In recent years, the screen refresh rate has gone from the very classic 30 Hz to 60 Hz. Then, at the high end, we have seen higher rates appear: 90 Hz, then 120 Hz and even 144Hz with Asus ROG Phone 3. However, there is a backlash to this sharp increase in this rate: the screen uses energy to display an image. So he uses it twice, three times or four times as much as before. Of course, optimizations have been made to reduce the basic consumption of a screen. But high rates are energy intensive. And they put a strain on autonomy.
One technique to reduce energy consumption is to reduce the rate when it is not useful. With the Galaxy S20, for example, it is possible to manually adjust the refresh rate: 60 Hz, 90 Hz or 120 Hz. Of course, that also means that you have to juggle the three settings depending on the content. Which is not practical. Few of the smartphones offer an automatic variable refresh rate.
A refresh rate that changes automatically
The ROG Phone 3, again, is one. When it detects that a content (a game in particular) is compatible with a higher rate, it increases it. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, made official last week and compatible with 120 Hz, goes even further. Contrary to popular belief, Samsung Display has issued a press release which explains that the phablet screen is not identical to that of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, as it is able to vary its refresh rate automatically by analyzing the content. displayed (which the Galaxy S20 Ultra is not capable of). And the range of variation is even wider.
The firm gives a few examples. If you are viewing a movie, the Note 20 Ultra is set to 60Hz (HD movie refresh rate). If you’re playing a 120Hz compatible game, the Note 20 Ultra will stall at its highest rate. If you are replying to an email or a text message, the screen may go down to 30 Hz. And in the event that a still image is on the screen (slideshow, surfing social networks, allways-on screen, etc.), the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra will only display 10 frames per second. Let a rate of 10 Hz.
A real gain in energy consumption
The idea is simple: the screen will only consume the energy needed for the optimal viewing experience. The necessary and the sufficient, as scientists would say. Thus, general consumption drops drastically. According to Samsung Display, this new screen consumes 22% less energy daily. And this without changing usage patterns or reducing the visual experience. Another interesting figure: at 10 Hz, the screen of the Note 20 Ultra consumes 60% less energy than a traditional display (without specifying whether it is an AMOLED display or not, a 60 Hz display or a 120 Hz display).
And that’s not the only energy savings to be expected. Indeed, the chipset is also called upon to display the images on the screen. The more it displays, the more energy it uses to calculate the color of each pixel. And when the screen displays several million pixels, going from 120 Hz to 10 Hz has a considerable impact on the consumption of the chipset and on the heat released. It goes without saying that other system elements are less stressed when the refresh rate is reduced. Samsung does not venture to give a number on the gain in autonomy that this technology brings. But it is certainly not negligible. This is a very good point for the Note 20 Ultra compared to the S20 Ultra.