[Update: No 120Hz for base Note 20] Samsung Galaxy Note 20 rumored to have a 120Hz display with true variable refresh rate support
There’s no question that high refresh rate displays are a hot trend in smartphones. This year, we’ve seen an explosion in the popularity of 90Hz displays among flagships and even some mid-range devices. Some devices are even sporting 120Hz refresh rate displays while others go as high as 144Hz. Samsung is no stranger to bleeding-edge display technology, owing to the fact that the company’s display subsidiary is one of the best in the industry, so it should come as no surprise that the upcoming Galaxy Note 20 series is rumored to feature impressive new display technology.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 series was the company’s first smartphones with 120Hz refresh rate OLED displays. However, these devices only operate 120Hz at FHD+ resolution, not the maximum WQHD+ resolution that is possible with the display. This is likely due to the power consumption required as Samsung is trying to mitigate battery drain as much as possible on these devices. However, the company may have solved this problem with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series.
According to Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20+ will feature “LTPO” (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) backplane technology which will be used with newer OLED panels. The result is big power savings (according to IHS Markit, yielding about 5-15%) and enable support for true variable refresh rate switching. That would mean the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20+ will be the first smartphones with an LTPO-backed OLED panel (the two Razer Phones and Apple’s iPad Pro support variable refresh rate with LCDs owing to the use of IGZO driving transistors).
The support for variable refresh rate switching is key here. Currently, Android smartphones with high refresh rate OLED panels can only switch between a few preset display modes consisting of fixed resolution and refresh rate combinations. True variable refresh rate switching would allow the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 to ramp up and down the refresh rate in a much more dynamic manner, improving power consumption in the process.
Mr. Young’s tweets also lay out some specifications for the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20+. He says the Note 20 will have a 6.42-inch display at 2345 x 1084 resolution (404 PPI) and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The Note 20+ will have a 6.87-inch display at 3096 x 1444 resolution (497 PPI) and 19.3:9 aspect ratio. He goes on to say there will not be a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra model, “but the Galaxy Fold 2 will be your Ultra.”
Thanks to XDA Display Analyst Dylan Raga for his input.
Update: No 120Hz for base Note 20
The information from yesterday claimed both the base Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20+ would feature 120Hz displays. However, Ross Young is now saying the base Note 20 will not have a high refresh rate display. He further says it won’t have the new LTPO backpane technology and will only support a standard 60Hz refresh rate. He speculates this is to reduce costs and to differentiate the base model from the more premium Note 20+ model. Still, this would be disappointing as all three Galaxy S20 models have 120Hz displays, albeit the higher 120Hz refresh rate is only available at FHD+ resolution.