We haven’t been able to test ourselves if those programs cannot operate at 90Hz, but Android Police verified that Google Maps and Waze only ran at 60Hz on its own Pixel 4.
For Google Maps, Pokémon Go, and Waze, it is not too surprising that Google might have secured them to a more standard 60Hz. All those apps are already major battery drainers, because they simultaneously use your phone’s GPS, mobile radio, GPU, and keep the display on for extended intervals. (And Niantic seemingly capped Pokémon Proceed at 30 fps before this year, anyhow.)
It does not make as much sense why WeChat might not be permitted to run at 90Hz, but Google’s source code to the Pixel 4 seemingly claims that the program has”poor performance” in the refresh rate.
Smooth Screen hasn’t gone smoothly as Google might have hoped. Earlier this week, some Redditors figured out that the Pixel 4’s refresh rate falls to 60Hz whether its display reaches 75 percent lower or brightness. Google advised us that upcoming software upgrades will enable 90Hz”in more brightness states,” so in the future, you may have the ability to use Smooth Screen when the screen is not as bright.
We may now understand why Google handicapped 90Hz at reduced brightness, incidentally: commits found in Android 10’s source code by XDA Developerssay it is because you’d have seen the display flicker because the refresh rate changes. Here’s a more technical explanation from among the commits:
The display utilizes different gamma curves for different refresh rates. The matter is worse in the gamma lower end. Additionally, human eyes are more sensitive to the flicker in darker surroundings. To avoid flicker, we only support higher refresh rates if the screen brightness is over a threshold. And the darker surroundings could have greater threshold.
Let us hope that Google follows through with its software upgrades and finds a way to allow you to use Smooth Screen at reduced brightness levels — and, maybe someday, allow the apps which are apparently locked at 60Hz take full advantage of this 90Hz display in a battery-friendly way.