How does the UltraMotion display work in the Razer Phone with a frequency of 120 Hz

How does the UltraMotion display work in the Razer Phone with a frequency of 120 Hz

The company Razer released its first smartphone in October 2017. The novelty has received quite natural name Razer Phone and belongs to a class of game devices. In fact, this smartphone is the most common flagship based on the Snapdragon 835 processor, with a large amount of RAM and a powerful 4000 mAh battery.

What’s so unusual about Razer Phone? This is its UltraMotion display, which is capable of displaying a picture with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. How this technology works is really a cool piece or a regular marketing move – let’s understand together.

How the display shows the picture

First of all, let’s clarify how the screen displays a dynamic picture in general. The movement on the display of your smartphone is due to the fact that a set of static pictures changes with a very high frequency. The usual screens of modern smartphones have a refresh rate of about 60 Hz. This means that in one second the matrix shows about 60 different pictures, which are connected by our brain and vision into one moving dynamic picture.

You could hear about such a characteristic as FPS (frames per second), which shows how many frames per second your monitor can display. Low “FPS” means that the screen displays what is happening slowly and the effect of presence, for example, in the game is lost. The more frames per second the display can display – the smoother and real the picture seems to us.

At a frame rate of 60 fps, the human eye is unable to distinguish individual frames. That’s why modern phones have a refresh rate of 60 Hz. I’ll tell you more: even at a frequency of 50 Hz, we can not notice the individual frames. Look at the light bulb in your room, it shines with constant uniform light, right? Actually, no, it flashes at a frequency of 50 Hz (AC frequency in the network), but you do not notice it and see normal uniform light, and not some kind of “strobe”.

The refresh rate of the display in the smartphone somewhat reminds us of the situation with completely pixels per square inch, right? The human eye does not distinguish pixels with a full 240 ppi on the display, but manufacturers are steadily increasing this figure to 403 ppi and higher. Why then increase the refresh rate?

Frame rate compared to refresh rate

The graphics processor or GPU in the smartphone is characterized by rendering frames. And the graphics do it as fast as they can, because the higher frame rate results in a smoother picture. By its nature, the frame rate is not constant. The graphics core can drop frames below the ideal 60 FPS, which the system aspires because complex graphics require more processing time. Thus, longer rendering leads to hangs of fps and so-called “lags”.

At the same time, your screen has such an indicator, which is called the refresh rate – the speed with which the visual information is updated on pixel lines. The refresh rate is usually constant, and for most modern displays it is 60 Hz or 60 line updates per second. This process is too fast to be seen with the naked eye.

And here’s what we came to: the speed with which the graphics processor outlines frames does not match the speed at which the screen displays them. Looking ahead, I will say right away that this is not very good. In fact, this can lead to delays and hangs, and this is not what you want during games. Similar problems are caused by the fact that the graphics processor can complete the frame rendering in the middle of the refresh cycle of the display. This will result in a delay of 16.6 milliseconds and this will continue until a new frame is finally formed. Of course, 16 milliseconds does not sound so threatening, but this lag can be noticeable, especially in fast dynamic games.

What came up with Razer: UltraMotion display technology and a refresh rate of 120 Hz

There are two key factors that minimize the backlog of the GPU from the refresh rate of the screen and make the visual effects smoother on the UltraMotion display on the Razer phone. First, the screen and graphics processor are synchronized . Instead of setting a fixed refresh rate, the display dynamically sets its refresh rate according to the speed of the GPU. This eliminates the possibility of delays and inconsistencies in the operation of the screen and graphics.

Secondly, the display on the phone Razer supports a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz . A typical 60-Hz display can not efficiently display more than 60 frames per second due to the limitation of the refresh rate. But Razer Phone can display up to 120 frames per second due to a higher refresh rate. And the higher the refresh rate, the more smoothly the objects move in games, applications and in the interface.

Compatibility and power consumption


There is no doubt that the screen in Razer is not a marketing move at all, but an excellent and new solution to the problems of the hang of the picture on the display. We are also confident that in the future more and more smartphones will use such displays. However, for this, the game and application manufacturers will need to update their applications a little, to support UltraMotion displays on Razer smartphones . Here are the games that already support 120 Hz screen Razer Phone:

  • Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
  • Gear.Club
  • Lineage 2: Revolution
  • Runescape and Old School RuneScape
  • Shadowgun Legends
  • Tekken
  • Titanfall: Assault and World of Tanks Blitz
  • Arena of Valor (Coming Soon)

It should also be mentioned that such a screen, working at higher refresh rates, will increase the battery charge. We do not know exactly what effect this can have on battery life. But we know that Razer has added to the settings the ability to establish a balance between performance and battery life. In addition, the user can manually set the refresh rate: 60 Hz, 90 Hz or 120 Hz. And of course the 4000 mAh battery is installed in the smartphone for a reason.