When Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 lineup, we kind of assumed that the switch to 120Hz screens was a permanent fixture with the company’s flagship handsets. But an unfortunate leak pours cold water on that fantasy, as it looks like the regular Note 20 will be stuck with bog-standard 60Hz.
The news comes via respected Samsung leaker Ice universe, who makes no bones about his disappointment with the basic Note 20’s specs. “Wide frame + flat screen + FHD resolution + 60Hz refresh rate,” he tweeted. “It's a desperate specification.”
Wide frame + flat screen + FHD resolution + 60Hz refresh rate.It's a desperate specification.😑June 17, 2020
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To me, that looks like Samsung is just trying to push buyers towards the more expensive Galaxy Note 20 Plus, which is strongly rumored to maintain the 120Hz inheritance from its S20 family. That may sound a bit cynical, but it’s essentially what Samsung did with last year’s regular Note 10, which was the first company flagship not to have a 2K screen since the 2014 Galaxy S5. The Note 10 Plus, meanwhile, kept the 2K screen, and included expandable storage to boot.
This is all good news at Apple, where the company is rumored to be planning 120Hz screens for its iPhone 12 Pro smartphone. Leaker Ross Young included both the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max in his list of 120Hz smartphones for 2020. That would make sense – it would make the Pro a serious upgrade on the regular iPhone 12, and indeed the $399 iPhone SE.
Here is our list of 120Hz phones for 2020. Are we missing any? pic.twitter.com/Kr0UotSCNCJune 15, 2020
Does the hertz of a screen really matter? Well, yes and no. 120Hz screens just feel smoother in day to day use, but curiously it’s a setting you have to enable on the Samsung Galaxy S20, as the company makes it a direct choice between 2K resolution and 120Hz, presumably for battery-life reasons.
On top of this, most apps are capped at 60fps or lower, meaning lots of the potential advantages of a 120Hz screen are largely theoretical. That, of course, will change if more 120Hz phones become available, so Samsung is actually slowing progress a bit here – assuming Ice Universe’s leak is accurate.
We’ll find out for sure on August 5 when Samsung’s next Unpacked event is rumored to be held. We’re not just expecting news of the Note 20, but also the Galaxy Fold 2, Galaxy Watch 3 and a 5G version of the Galaxy Z Flip.