large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

The Pixel 4’s screen refresh rate drops from 90Hz to 60Hz when you dim the display

One of the Google Pixel 4’s headline features is its much-lauded “fast and responsive” 90Hz display, but a user has just found out something huge about the way it works.

The refresh rate automatically switches from 90Hz to 60Hz when screen brightness drops below 75%. That’s something Google didn’t mention at the handset’s unveiling.

Related: Best smartphone

Reddit user OrganicNebula first made the discovery, and it was quickly confirmed by XDA Developers editor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman.

It’s almost certainly there as a battery-saving feature, but it would have been nice if Google had been upfront about the functionality. Or, you know, loaded the Pixel 4 with a bigger battery.

The Pixel 4 is powered by a 2800mAh cell (the Google Pixel 3, for comparison, contains a 2900mAh cell − one that we described as “paltry” a year back). What’s more, the 90Hz refresh rate demands a lot of power.

You therefore might not be shocked to hear that that Pixel 4’s biggest shortcoming is its stamina. Here’s what we wrote in our review:

“2800mAh is a fairly small capacity, even for a phone this size. This, plus the added power drain a high refresh rate requires, means it’s all too easy to drain the Pixel 4 of its charge with a day of moderately heavy use … the Pixel 4’s battery life is without a doubt shorter than most competing flagships.”

For all of the battery life daredevils out there reading this, there is a way to lock the Pixel 4 display’s refresh rate to 90Hz, regardless of screen brightness levels.

Related: Best Android phones

First, you need to unlock Developer Options. To do this, go to Settings > System > About Phone. Then tap the Build Number button seven times.

To lock the Pixel 4’s display refresh rate to 90Hz, go to Settings > System > Developer Options, and select ‘Force 90Hz refresh rate’.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.