When we first got the realme 6 and realme 6 Pro, I was surprised. These two phones advertised 90Hz refresh rate. They have a 90Hz screen – and they’re at a low price, too. Then, there were allegations saying that realme has fake 90Hz screen.
We wanted to use a few simpler tools to test the 90Hz refresh rate. There are some widely-used tools like the world-renowned UFO test and some other Android-based app to tell us the refresh rate. However, I personally do not believe that the UFO test is suitable for smartphones. So, we had to find other ways of testing.
How we tested the 90Hz refresh rate
So, since we have both the realme 6 and the realme 6 Pro with us, we have a few different testing methodologies – but we decided that the Razer Cortex app is the simplest and easiest to use. And it’s free too – so you can try it on your own device regardless of brand.
With the Razer Cortex app, we can quantify the refresh rate of the display without resulting in our faulty human perception. And the Razer Cortex app can also sniff out any mumbo jumbo that the phone is trying to do.
The Razer Cortex app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Just launch the app, head over to “analyzer” and scroll all the way to the bottom. Enable the “frames per second” and we can instantly see the FPS meter at the top right corner of the screen.
So, we headed into the settings menu and tell the system to run in 90Hz always.
Test #1 – Chrome and Facebook
The Razer Cortex’s FPS meter does not change when using Chrome or Facebook. The FPS meter remains at 90FPS, which means the system is indeed running at 90Hz.
One of the main reasons why phones have a high refresh rate nowadays is the ability to scroll smoothly. Its usefulness is subjective but it’s good to know that commonly-used apps are running at 90Hz. No foul play here.
Test #2 – Games
There are many games in the Google Play Store that supports 90Hz refresh rate. We tried a lot of games that we have already certified to run at 90Hz:
Let’s just keep this short. All of the games are running on 60FPS maximum even when we did go into the game’s settings menu and change it to 90Hz or unlocked FPS. Razer Cortex doesn’t lie – because we have cross-checked with other phones (ASUS ROG Phone, Black Shark 3, Samsung Galaxy S20) which ran these games at 90Hz.
We also tried launching those games through Game Space in “competition mode” and nothing has changed.
So why is it locking games at 60Hz only?
We inferred that the firmware instantly locks down to 60Hz whenever the phone needs to do 3D graphic processing. That explains why all games are locked at 60Hz but Chrome and Facebook – which do not require 3D graphic processing – run at 90Hz.
As for the question of why, we can’t pinpoint the reason. Since our review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, we found out that the VRMark benchmark is broken – but the average frame rate can tell us the chipset’s GPU performance in 3D rendering.
So, we fired up VRMark and tested both the realme 6 and realme 6 Pro in 60Hz and 90Hz. The results are astonishing – both these phones cannot even reach 60Hz in the benchmark. Perhaps it is because both these phones do not have the horsepower to run games in 90Hz, right?
What about the other phones?
Since we reviewed the realme X2 Pro before, we dug out our benchmark scores to verify. We do not have the device with us now, so we have to rely on our archive.
The realme X2 Pro has a Snapdragon 855+ chipset and 90Hz display. With such power, there is absolutely no reason to lock down games at 60Hz, right?
By looking at our data, the realme X2 Pro is still locking all games at 60Hz.
And we also realized one more thing – since the realme UI is based on OPPO’s ColorOS, we discovered that the OPPO Find X2 Pro, which has a Snapdragon 865 chipset with 120Hz display, also locks games down to 60Hz only – including Subway Surfers, as mentioned by The Adventures of Vesper.
Why is this happening?
Again, we don’t know. It could be because OPPO and realme just straight up lock all games at 60Hz because there are still many games that do not support 90Hz or higher – like PUBG Mobile for example.
If you’re looking to buy a smartphone, this is something that you should know. The spec sheet says “90Hz” but please understand that the spec sheet is not the complete story. In this case, it’s only 90Hz in non-game apps and 60Hz for all games.
You can enable 90Hz and use apps like Facebook or Chrome with smoother scrolling – but it drops to 60Hz in all games.