Refresh rate and touch sampling rate: what they are and why (or not) aim for a high value

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On the latest smartphones placed on the market, whether they belong to the high or low end of the market, manufacturers are keen to emphasize the value of the refresh rate, commonly called the screen refresh rate, or a value expressed in hertz (Hz) which indicates the number of images the screen can display per second. The higher this value, the more it allows the use of multimedia content in a fluid way, but in addition to this value there is also another one, always measured in Hz, which is often confused with the aforementioned value and is the sampling frequency at touch.

Similar values ​​in some ways but completely different, as the sampling frequency at the touch not only has higher values ​​but above all does not express the quality and fluidity of the image on the screen. So let's see together how these two values ​​can influence the use of the smartphone and on which to bet, in case of choosing a new device to buy.

Touch Sampling Rate: What Is It For?

The touch sampling frequency can be defined as the number of times per second in which the screen is updated to understand if it has been touched or not, a value that as already mentioned is expressed in Hz. So a smartphone that in its specifications reports a frequency touch sampling of 240 Hz means that on-screen control when touched occurs 240 times in one second. So, the faster or higher the frequency of the touch, the more instant the response to the touch of the screen will be. Therefore, the tactile frequency serves to give you the sensation of an immediate response when you interact with your mobile phone screen.

Therefore a low value causes “display latency”, ie the delay in the response of the screen. The lower the touch frequency, the longer it takes to see the action that occurs when a button is pressed on the screen, just to give an example.

Let's find out the most popular values ​​on Android smartphones and the advantages of a high frequency

Once we understand (more or less) what the value of the touch sampling frequency refers to and what it means, let's go into the details of the value expressed in hertz, from which we can obtain the exact time it takes the screen to detect the tactile input , a time expressed in milliseconds. Among the most popular values ​​we find:

  • 60 Hz - The screen can detect a new touch every 11,67 milliseconds;
  • 90 Hz - The screen can detect a new touch every 11,11 milliseconds;
  • 120 Hz - The screen can detect a new touch every 8,34 milliseconds;
  • 240 Hz - The screen can detect a new touch every 4.167 milliseconds;
  • 360 Hz - The screen can detect a new touch every 2,78 milliseconds;
  • 480 Hz - The screen can detect a new touch every 2.084 milliseconds.

Any value above the standard (60 Hz) can be considered a high touch frequency, resulting in some advantages in the daily use of the smartphone, such as an immediate reaction to the touch and movement of the screen, as for a trivial swipe, with a more natural and less “woody” movement feedback. It also improves accuracy, significantly affecting more professional uses, such as photo / video editing, but above all the accuracy and speed of the touch, allows the playful experience in high-performance gaming, although other variables come into play in this area. , such as the hardware and software of the smartphone etc .. We can, however, express the concept that under the same hardware and software conditions, two smartphones with different update frequency, will return the probability to the player in possession of the frequency value at the most high, to win for example in PvP games as the character will perform the actions in a faster way, for example shooting, jumping, running etc .., having received the player's commands a few milliseconds before.

Does a high value bring only advantages or some disadvantages?

If I asked the question it is why you don't always get an advantage from a high touch refresh rate. In fact, the screen that performs the search for a touch several times per second as an action, turns into a greater consumption of the battery and therefore a decrease in the autonomy of the smartphone. Moreover, this value cannot be changed, as in the case of the refresh rate and therefore the energy consumption cannot be preserved. It is true that the impact of this disadvantage is not as huge as one might think, but on some devices with already limited battery and with software not optimized to perfection with the hardware, the energy issue could become a big problem, impacting also on the longevity of the smartphone itself.

Differences between touch rate and refresh rate

As already mentioned a few paragraphs above, the refresh rate is the number of images that a screen can display per second, affecting the fluidity of the images and the frequency of the touch in the response time after an interaction.

The touch rate is usually twice as fast as the refresh rate, which is why many manufacturers promote it to make you believe the screen will be able to run at a huge FPS rate. So don't be fooled, always keeping in mind the differences between the two values:

  • Touch rate: Number of times a screen touch is checked per second. It affects the touch sensitivity and response of the panel. The higher this value, the more sensitive the screen will be to the touch;
  • Refresh Rate: number of images displayed on the screen per second. It affects the fluidity of the images that you will be able to see in the panel. The higher this value, the smoother the screen will appear.

There are two ways to know which touch refresh rate your smartphone screen has, the first and the most trivial of which is to check the technical specifications made available by the manufacturer, often also within the phone software or yes can use third-party applications of which I leave you two examples below:

Should you always use the highest refresh rate value on your smartphone?

The answer is… it depends. If you are a gaming enthusiast you will probably be subject to using the maximum refresh rate value, or if you are used to "fiddling" with the display while if you are moderate users, who use the smartphone in a standard way, the advice is to focus on a smartphone that does not "pump" the two values ​​in question, because most likely you will not notice the difference with a classic smartphone, thus finding the price you paid for the chosen device unjustified.

It is undeniable, however, that a high refresh rate and sampling frequency at the touch, offer a better experience, at least in the Android landscape, because for example if compared to an iPhone 13, which therefore has a trivial refresh rate of 60. Hz, with some top-of-the-range devices in the Android world (not all), I assure you that the promotion I give to the device of the bitten apple.

Emanuele Iafulla

Emanuele Iafulla

Nerd, Geek, Netizen, terms that do not belong to me. Simply myself, technology lover and provocative as Xiaomi does with his products. High quality at fair prices, a real provocation for the other most famous brands.


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