By Ben Schoon
September 14, 2021
Apple's new iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are the company's first smartphones ever to adopt a high refresh rate display. But is Apple the first to use it? Not even close.
High refresh rate displays first made their way to smartphones in 2017. After Apple, ironically, brought 120Hz to its iPad Pro, the Razer Phone was the first smartphone to offer a 120Hz display in that small of a form factor. The feature was mainly marketed to gamers at the time.
From there, many other devices started to experiment with higher refresh rates including the OnePlus 7 Pro and Pixel 4 series. Both of those devices used 90Hz panels.
It was in 2020, though, that 120Hz displays really started to take off. The Galaxy S20 series from Samsung adopted 120Hz on all three models, with stunning AMOLED displays and a refresh rate that could change to match the content on screen to sweeten the deal even more!
From there, the OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus 8T, Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and even the affordable Galaxy S20 FE all shipped with 120Hz AMOLED displays. The feature was definitely set to stick around.
To ring in 2021, several new Android smartphones were announced with 120Hz displays. That includes the Galaxy S21 series, Xiaomi Mi 11 series, OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, and the Galaxy A52. Samsung even uses the tech on its foldable phones!
One of the only areas where Apple has a clear benefit is that the iPhone 13 Pro has a variable refresh rate, meaning it can go from 10Hz to 120Hz depending on what's on screen. But at the same time, Samsung and others do the same thing!
Apple's "ProMotion" display will likely be just as good as the best 120Hz displays on Android, and better than a lot of the sub-par offerings. But was it really worth two generations of holding back?
NEXT IN LINE Right after the iPhone 13 Pro announcement, a new report detailed some Pixel 6 specs, confirming that the Pixel 6 Pro too will have a 120Hz OLED panel.
WILL YOU BUY A PHONE WITH 120Hz? At this point, most experts agree that 120Hz is a game-changer compared to older devices. But is it enough for you to pull the trigger on a new purchase?