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Google Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL Set to Receive Smooth Display Update to Fix 90Hz Refresh Rate Issue

A workaround is already available for 90Hz refresh rate on the Pixel 4 phones to be always enabled irrespective of brightness levels.

Google Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL Set to Receive Smooth Display Update to Fix 90Hz Refresh Rate Issue

Photo Credit: Johannes Eisele/ AFP

Google Pixel 4 drops 90Hz refresh rate if brightness levels are lower than 75 percent

  • Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have Smooth Display for 90Hz refresh rate
  • The rate drops to 60Hz when screen brightness is low
  • This works unlike 90Hz display of OnePlus 7T phones

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL carry a 'Smooth Display' feature that is designed to deliver a buttery smooth user experience by offering a 90Hz display refresh rate. While the feature is similar to what has been offered by companies such as Realme and OnePlus in the past, it has been spotted by some early users that the refresh rate drops with the fall in screen brightness levels. Google has confirmed in a media statement that refresh rate drops to 60Hz at lower brightness levels and promised a software update to bring more stability to the Smooth Display feature in the coming weeks.

Multiple users on Reddit report that the Smooth Display on the Pixel 4 handsets drops the refresh rate from 90Hz to 60Hz when the screen brightness goes below 75 percent. Some users on Twitter also noticed that the refresh rate stays up at 90Hz even at lower brightness levels if there is a bright enough ambient lighting in the environment.

All this is notably unlike the 90Hz refresh rate available on the OnePlus 7T series that doesn't drop with the decrease in brightness levels. OnePlus does provide the ability to drop the refresh rate if the phone is displaying static content, though.

Google in the statement has confirmed that the 90Hz refresh rate falls down to 60Hz "in some conditions or situations" to preserve the battery of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.

"Some of these situations include: when the user turns on battery saver, certain content such as video (as it's largely shot at 24 or 30fps), and even various brightness or ambient conditions. We constantly assess whether these parameters lead to the best overall user experience," the company has said in the statement, as quoted by The Verge.

Alongside explaining the existing implementation, Google has promised a software update to enhance the Smooth Display feature. "We have previously planned updates that we'll roll out in the coming weeks that include enabling 90Hz in more brightness conditions," it has noted.

That being said, a workaround is already available to make the 90Hz refresh rate always enabled on the Pixel 4 phones.

As reported by Droidlife, users can toggle a setting by going to the developer options on the Pixel 4 handsets to force the 90Hz refresh rate to always be enabled irrespective of brightness levels.

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are currently limited to a handful of markets. Nevertheless, they're caught with some serious issues. One of those is an eye detection flaw that impacts the preloaded face unlock feature. Google earlier this week promised a software update to fix the issue. In the meantime, it advised users to use the lockdown feature that requires a pin, pattern, or a password to unlock the screen.


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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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