One of the Pixel 4's key new features is its 90Hz display. The thing is, it's not truly a 90Hz display all the time.
Yes, Google added 90Hz OLED displays to both of its Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL phones, but the actual refresh rate is linked to the brightness level of the screen. Redditors noticed the Pixel 4 will drop to a 60Hz refresh rate if the screen brightness goes below 75 per cent. Other websites have confirmed this, as well. Presumably, most people keep their brightness level lower, so they will not experience the 90Hz display at all.
DroidLife found you could dive into developer settings and enable the 90Hz setting to be always-on no matter your device's screen brightness -- but this isn't exactly user-friendly or ideal. Thankfully, Google has been forced to respond to this controversy; it's now providing more detail on why the screen changes its refresh rate, and it's promising a fix in the form of an upcoming software update.
Here's Google's statement, according to The Verge:
"We designed Smooth Display so that users could enjoy the benefits of 90Hz for improved UI interactions and content consumption, while also preserving battery when higher refresh rates are not critical by lowering back down to 60Hz.
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. 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."
In other words, at some point in the next few weeks, Google will roll out an update that allows the Pixel 4 screen to have a 90Hz refresh rate even if the screen brightness dips below 75 per cent.
It's not yet clear if there will be a cut-off point like, say, 50 per cent.