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Touch Sampling Rate vs. Refresh Rate: What’s the Difference?

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Ever since OnePlus popularized them, high refresh rate displays have become commonplace in the smartphone industry. As a result, buyers today actively seek out faster displays when buying a new phone to get a smoother experience.

But there’s another important feature that doesn’t get enough attention: touch sampling rate. This article will discuss what touch sampling rate is, why it matters, and how it differs from refresh rate.

What Is Touch Sampling Rate?

Touch sampling rate (sometimes referred to as response rate) is the frequency at which your phone’s display reads your input. In other words, it’s the number of times the display registers your touch. The faster the touch sampling rate, the more sensitive the display.

This increased sensitivity allows the screen to minimize gaps when reading your touch input, so it can respond more accurately and give a smoother experience. This is particularly useful for mobile gaming since a delay of a few milliseconds can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing.

Related: Reasons Why Mobile Gaming Actually Sucks

Which Phone Has the Highest Touch Sampling Rate?

As of February 2022, the phone with the highest touch sampling rate is the Legion Phone Duel 2 with 720Hz. While that’s impressive, we’ve already heard rumors about the iQOO Neo5 set to launch with a 1000Hz touch sampling rate display.

On average, smartphones have anywhere around 120Hz–300Hz touch sampling rate. For an average user, 120Hz is enough for daily use. But for power users and gamers (especially those who play competitively), that might not do.

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Related: How to Boost Gaming Performance on Your Android Phone

What Is Refresh Rate?

Man Holding Smartphone Gaming

While touch sampling rate means how fast the screen reads your input, refresh rate means how fast it shows the changing pixels. The former is about sensitivity; the latter is about simulating motion. The faster the refresh rate, the more fluid the animations on the screen appear.

Today, a refresh rate of at least 90Hz is common for mid-range and even some budget phones, while flagships and gaming phones usually come with a 120Hz refresh rate. The difference between 60Hz and 90Hz feels more prominent than the difference between 90Hz and 120Hz.

Related: Frame Rate vs. Refresh Rate: What’s the Difference?

Which Phone Has the Highest Refresh Rate?

Unlike touch sampling rate, refresh rate is an immediately apparent feature that users can see. Because of this, it makes for better marketing material for companies. Hence, a higher refresh rate is more common than a higher touch sampling rate.

There are currently 20+ phones with a refresh rate of 144Hz, including the ASUS ROG Phone 3 and the Xiaomi Mi 10T, and 150+ phones with 120Hz, including the Huawei P50 Pro, OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 range. Unless you’re a gamer or power user, a refresh rate of 90Hz should be good enough for daily use. But after 120Hz, the difference in refresh rate is not as noticeable and therefore starts to become redundant.


Related: How to Change Your Display’s Refresh Rate on a Mac

Which Is More Important?

Modern smartphones are already packed with good specs, so it’s rare that you’ll ever face issues with either touch sampling or refresh rate. That said, a higher refresh rate is still a better deal for most people because it makes your phone feel faster by enhancing visual animations.

Although important, a higher touch sampling rate is not immediately apparent. For gaming, both the features work cooperatively to deliver a smooth experience. A high refresh rate without a high touch sampling rate will make it feel like your phone is lagging—interrupting the gaming experience.

For an all-around experience, you want a phone with at least a 90Hz refresh rate and a 240Hz touch sampling rate. This will ensure that your phone works well no matter the task you’re doing.


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