Will Higher (Above 90Hz) Refresh Rate Screen Become a Standard Feature?

As smartphone market is saturated, companies are trying to differentiate their products through various specifications. Display size, Pixel per inch and display type have been used as major differentiators for a while. The new element in the differentiation game is the refresh rate of the display.

Screen Refresh Rate Terminology

Screen refresh rate is the count of number of times the screen refreshes its image in one second. While most of the smartphone screens are usually 60Hz, recently introduced phones with above 90Hz screens reportedly give a smoother experience.

Brief History

Razer Phone, presented as a gaming phone in 2017, is the first smartphone to have a 120Hz refresh rate display. Soon after, Sharp launched the Aquos R2 with 120Hz refresh rate in May 2018. Since then, many Tier 1 companies like Samsung, Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi have joined the club. Apple is also expected to introduce 120Hz refresh rate in its iPhone 12 this year. Some point out that it is still too early to utilize 100% of this feature as many games and other content are yet to support high refresh rates.

Pros and Cons

A higher refresh rate provides smoother scrolling and animation, which can be important factors in gaming or 4K videos. In most cases, customers find it hard to return to a lower specification after experiencing such quality. The shortcomings are also clear. Higher refresh rate means faster battery consumption. Another constraint is that there is not much content (such as games) available to support higher refresh rates.

Current Situation

Many companies are launching higher refresh rate products, thus increasing their penetration. First introduced to the market in 2017, higher refresh rate products’ presence in the market has increased sharply since the third quarter of 2019, reaching 8.1% in Q2 2020.

Market Penetration Rate of Higher Refresh Rate (Above 90Hz) Smartphones

Market Penetration Rate of Higher Refresh Rate (Above 90Hz) Smartphones
Source: Handset Model Sales Tracker

Tier 1 companies like Samsung, Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi are aggressively adopting such specifications for their flagship products, while smaller companies that focus on niche segments like  gaming phone are also increasing such products in their portfolios.

Market Penetration Rate of Higher Refresh Rate (Above 90Hz) Smartphones by Major Brands (Q2 2020)

Counterpoint Research Market Penetration Rate of Higher Refresh Rate (Above 90Hz) Smartphones by Major Brands (Q2 2020)
Source: Handset Model Sales Tracker

Samsung ranked first in this segment in Q2 2020 with its flagship S20 series adopting this specification.

Market Share of Higher Refresh Rate (Above 90hz) Smartphones by Brands (Q2 2020)

Counterpoint Market Share of Higher Refresh Rate (Above 90hz) Smartphones by Brands (Q2 2020)
Source: Handset Model Sales Tracker

The sales rankings for Q2 2020 below show top-tier companies adopting this specification in their flagship products:

Other models targeting the gaming phone segment are also present in the market, but not attaining much share.


Not all newly introduced features in smartphones end up being accepted as market standards. Cost of implementing the feature, reception from the consumer, and the strategies of leading companies can change the end result. As content consumption in smartphones extends beyond simple video-viewing to high performance gaming, 4K videos and AR/VR, higher refresh rates are expected to become clear differentiators and a new standard specification for smartphones sooner or later.

Related Posts

Minsoo is a Research Analyst at Counterpoint Technology Market Research and located at Seoul, Korea. Minsoo is interested in various technology sectors and its future development. Prior to joining Counterpoint Research, Minsoo had experience in various industry from tech start up to chemistries.

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.