Google added 90Hz OLED displays to both of its Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL handsets to enable a smoother Android experience. Unfortunately, the company has also tied this refresh rate to the brightness level of the display on the Pixel 4. Reddit users have discovered that the Pixel 4 will drop to a 60Hz refresh rate once the display brightness dips below 75 percent. The Verge has confirmed this on a Pixel 4 review unit, and it means that you’re only getting the full 90Hz display rate when the brightness level is high.
This is fine for outdoors use, but the majority of indoor use will mean the brightness level will likely be 75 percent or lower. It’s not clear why Google has chosen the 75 percent mark, but droidlife has discovered you can head into the developer settings and force the 90Hz setting to always be enabled regardless of brightness levels. This will likely impact the battery life, which is something you’ll want to consider before forcing the 90Hz display to always-on.
Other 90Hz OLED Android phones like the OnePlus 7T keep the display running at its max 90Hz all of the time, but Google has stated it will automatically switch the display refresh rate on the Pixel 4 “for some content.” We’ve reached out to Google for more information on how and why it limits the Pixel 4 display refresh rate, and we’ll update you accordingly.