The first update after a Pixel announcement often brings some good bug fixes and improvements to the phones and this year is no different. One of the changes Google seems to have brought to the update is for the 90Hz display refresh rate.
It was found early on that Google had set the Smooth Display (90Hz refresh rate) to only be active when the display brightness was above 75% and they copped a fair amount of criticism for it — especially when OnePlus are able to do it for all screen brightness conditions without having the battery only last half a day.
Now with the November update the Pixel 4’s Smooth Display will kick in at around the 45% brightness level according to Android Police. If you want to test it out yourself and see when it becomes active you can head over to Testufo.com and have a look yourself.
For those wondering just how often the phone is in 90Hz mode compared with 60Hz mode for an entire day you can enter the following ADB commands:
adb shell dumpsys SurfaceFlinger
This will display a host of display information and at the end will give you the time spent in each refresh rate since the last boot. As you can see in the image below mine spent a vast majority of its time in the 60Hz refresh rate zone — it will be interesting to see how it changes when the update hits my device.
It’s good to see Google listening to users’ complaints but it will be interesting to also see how these new changes affect the already dismal battery life on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.