One of the latest big crazes in the smartphone industry is high refresh rates - this means the screen updates more frequently, and it can make motion look a tiny bit smoother. The downside to this is that higher refresh rates can drain the battery quickly - however, it looks like the OnePlus 9 series might not have that issue.
According to prolific leaker Max Jambor (opens in new tab), the OnePlus 9 Pro will use LTPO technology in its display. To cut a long and needlessly-technical explanation of LTPO down to its relevant details, this means it's possible the phone will get a variable refresh rate.
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A variable refresh rate means a phone will automatically change its refresh rate between 10Hz and a maximum of around 120Hz, depending on what you're doing. If you need a high refresh rate, like if you're scrolling social media or playing a game, you'll get it, but if you're doing a task that wouldn't benefit from the refresh rate, like streaming a movie with a framerate cap, the phone will go with a lower rate.
The OnePlus 9 Pro having a variable refresh rate would give it all the benefits of a 120Hz display, as the OnePlus 8 Pro had, but without the battery drain problems that refresh rate will bring. Sounds like a win-win to us.
But what about the OnePlus 9?
Jambor didn't publicly comment on the likelihood of the OnePlus 9 getting LTPO, but according to PhoneArena (opens in new tab), Jambor "clarified privately" that the series' "standard" device would stick with an unchanging 120Hz display.
So it sounds like the vanilla OnePlus 9 will keep the same refresh rate as the OnePlus 8T, but without the 9 Pro's battery-saving feature. Of course, if you want a new OnePlus phone and don't care about display refresh rate, you can just hop into the settings menu and turn it down.
It's no surprise that the OnePlus 9 Pro would get a few improvements over its sibling, and this is likely just one of many, but we'll have to wait until the phones get announced to find out for sure. We're expecting to see the devices launched sometime in March or April 2021, so clear your calendars for then.