The 90Hz “smooth display” of the Pixel 4 is one of its selling points, with some reviewers noting that it brings Android up to iOS levels of smoothness. There’s a small catch however, the Pixel 4’s 90Hz display is only active when the display brightness reaches a certain threshold of about 75%. When it falls below that, the device automatically switches back to a regular old 60Hz display.
Sorry, looks like it should be:
If brightness <= 75%, display id = 2.
If brightness > 75%, display id = 1.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) October 23, 2019
The Pixel’s battery makes it inadvisable to keep it above 75% if you’d like to get through the day, but absent forcing 90Hz all day with a developer mode setting, there doesn’t appear to be anything else a regular user can do. Google is aware of the issue at the moment and plans on making some changes to the device’s firmware to fix this.
“In some conditions or situations, however, we set the refresh rate to 60Hz. Some of these situations include: when the user turns on battery saver, certain content such as video (as it’s largely shot at 24 or 30fps), and even various brightness or ambient conditions,” a Google spokesperson explained. “We constantly assess whether these parameters lead to the best overall user experience. We have previously planned updates that we’ll roll out in the coming weeks that include enabling 90hz in more brightness conditions.”
While the Pixel 4 is a good phone on the face of it, the device’s small battery appears to be taking the fun out of quite a few of its features with the display just being the latest casualty.