Razer has unveiled two generations of its gaming smartphone with 120Hz refresh rates. The company has, up until now, stood alone in its spec boasting, but that's all bound to change, as Taiwanese electronics maker ASUS says that its ROG Phone 2 will feature a 120Hz display.
ASUS made the announcement from a Weibo social media account, where the company says that "it will perfectly fit the 120Hz screen, bringing fans and players a more delicate and refreshing fighting experience, surpassing the fun of previous fighting hand games." ASUS also promises that more 120Hz games are on the way, popular titles even, which would make sense considering that the OEM would want its customers to experience the full gamut of gaming capabilities with such a powerful spec bump.
The importance behind the 120Hz refresh rate on smartphones can be thought of in the same vein as TVs: smartphones with higher refresh rates, as is the case with TVs, provide a more fluid viewing experience. Although few TV watchers pay attention to refresh rates (only in the case of lagging do watchers truly notice it), the case is even more noticeable on smartphones with smaller screens.
TVs and smartphones consist of pixels that must be refreshed each second in order to maintain color and visual quality. Refresh rates tell you the number of frames that can be refreshed per second. "60fps" means that sixty frames are refreshed every second, while the new 120Hz standard means that this new round of gaming smartphones will refresh 120 frames every second.
Higher refresh rates are often preferred to higher resolutions, but with 4K gaming and eventually, 8K gaming on the horizon, higher refresh rates are going to be essential. Smartphones were once believed to do nothing more than make and take calls, send texts, and take photos, but with smartphones re-inventing the wheel as "pocket PCs," they must start to do what PCs do if they look to be the ultimate portable PC replacement.
PCs are the king of gaming, with PC refresh rates going as high as 240Hz (or 240 frames per second). Smartphones, with over 95% of them still at 60fps, and with a few at 90Hz and 120Hz, still have a long way to go before they rival PC gaming.
Up until now, most smartphones have offered only 60Hz refresh rates using the unit "fps" for "frames per second." The Samsung Galaxy Note 9, for example, refreshes at a rate of 60fps in video content. The Galaxy S10 has a refresh rate of 60fps for Quad HD video recording; 8K video recording comes at 30fps. The first-generation ASUS ROG Phone has a 90Hz refresh rate, and the newly-announced OnePlus 7 Pro has a 90Hz refresh rate as well.
While the first-generation ASUS ROG Phone and the OnePlus 7 Pro are ahead of their time, Razer remains the champion of the refresh rate, but the ASUS ROG Phone 2 will match Razer's last two gaming smartphones, offering gamers a smooth experience. The smartphone refresh rate, like camera megapixels, screen resolutions, display sizes, and other specifications, is destined for change.
Aside from ASUS's announcement about the ROG Phone 2's 120Hz refresh rate, the second-generation gaming phone should up the processor from Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 to the top Snapdragon 855 SoC with at least 8GB (if not 10GB) of RAM, bump up the Android system update from 8.0 Oreo to Android 9.0 Pie.
It should also see a slightly larger battery than the 4,000mAh of the first-generation ROG Phone, faster flash memory beyond UFS 2.1 (maybe UFS 3.0?), and perhaps more than 128GB of onboard storage considering the phone itself is unlikely to feature expandable microSD card storage. GameCool, the cooling system based on a vapor chamber designed to keep the gaming phone cool as a cucumber, is certain to make a return in the company's next game-changing smartphone.