Samsung One UI update hints at 120Hz refresh rate for Galaxy S11

Samsung Galaxy S10+
Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A Galaxy Note 9 user spotted beta software that included settings for faster refresh rate displays.
  • The settings in the One UI 2 Beta allow users to toggle between 60Hz and 120Hz.
  • No current Samsung phone ships with a 120Hz display, but the Galaxy S11 is rumored to use this tech.

We know that Samsung can make faster displays than the 60Hz panels used on the flagship Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10 phones. A teardown of the Google Pixel 4 found that phone using a Samsung-made screen capable of 90Hz refresh rates. Now, Twitter leaker @UniverseIce has posted screenshots of a Samsung One UI beta that appears to allow users to toggle between screen modes with refresh rates up to 120Hz.

While the software was shipped for the Chinese variant of the Galaxy Note 9, it seems logical to speculate that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S11 will finally push Samsung back into the display forefront.

The tipster reveals a settings menu that gives users the option to toggle between dedicated 60Hz and 120Hz refresh modes, as well as a mixed mode to let the phone choose. The higher refresh would require more power to draw the screen twice as often, and would make little difference in tasks when the screen is static, so intelligent switching could alleviate battery concerns (the Google Pixel 4 infamously adjusts refresh rate depending on conditions like screen brightness).

The faster 120Hz screen refresh rates will be a minimum feature for flagship smartphones in 2020. Outside of the Pixel 4 series, only phones from smaller manufacturers like OnePlus with the OnePlus 7T Pro and gaming phones like the ASUS ROG Phone 2 ship with these faster screens. There are only so many specs you can upgrade on a phone, and phone makers need to upgrade every year, so it seems likely every major manufacturer will use faster displays soon enough.

Philip Berne