There’s a 120Hz display mode lying dormant in many recent Sony phones (Updated)

Update (04/30): After learning that some Sony phones have a hidden 120Hz display setting, the company has now provided some insights regarding the matter. For the XZ Premium at least, it appears the 120 Hz mode has been disabled to preserve battery life.

“Please note that the [XZ Premium] supports 120Hz in terms of video decoding capability but we have opted to strike a balance between power consumption and consumer benefit (in terms of frame rate),” a representative told Android Authority in an emailed response.

The setting is likely to be unavailable on the other handsets for the same reason, but it’s a rationale that might disappoint some Android enthusiasts.

Smartphone users are often weighing up battery life for desirable features — be it with live wallpapers, automatic brightness, haptic feedback etc. Unless the setting completely nerfed standby times, and isn’t just another slight drain, making the setting available as an optional extra might have been a bit more consumer-friendly.

Original article (04/09): The Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia X Performance, Xperia XZ1 and many other Sony phones have been found to include a 120Hz display mode option. The news was picked up by XDA after some folks spotted it in Sony’s Android 8.1 AOSP build, but there doesn’t appear to be a way to enable it.

XDA notes that the toggle to switch between the display modes isn’t functional; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the screen mode itself won’t work — it just seems it may require some additional legwork from Sony.

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The 120Hz refresh rate — which notably featured on the Razer Phone‘s display — can result in a more fluid gaming experience with lower latency and less screen-tearing. Other devices said to include support for the screen mode are:

  • Sony Xperia X
  • Sony Xperia XZ
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
  • Sony Xperia XA2
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

Why Sony has included this in the code without properly supporting it, we don’t know. It may have been an intended feature that was abandoned or something Sony wanted to add in a future update.

We can only speculate for the moment; we’ve reached out to the company on the matter and will update this post with a response should we receive one.

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