Everything we know about the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display and ‘Smart 120Hz’ refresh rate so far

In addition to the Hasselblad cameras, OnePlus has now shared the OnePlus 9 Pro’s new display tech, including resolution, “smart 120Hz refresh rate,” and LTPO.

The OnePlus 9's 6.7-inch Fluid AMOLED display has a QHD+ resolution, Smart 120Hz refresh rate, LTPO,...

The daily leaks, errr, we mean announcements about the OnePlus 9 series keep coming from OnePlus itself. With a week left to go before the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro’s official unveil date on March 23, OnePlus has now shared a list of new upgrades to the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display... and the features sound delicious.

OnePlus has always prided itself on including screens that are to die for on its phones. With the OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus expertly balance a QHD+ resolution display with 120Hz refresh rate, something that the Galaxy S20 series wasn’t capable of and Samsung remedied on the S21 Ultra.

For the OnePlus 9 Pro, OnePlus founder and CEO, who we shall now refer to as Chief Leaking Officer, shared all the new display details:

No point waiting for March 23 to talk about the new display innovations when the specs for the OnePlus 9 Pro leaked weeks ago and OnePlus has already shared everything we need to know about the Hasselblad cameras and the glossy Morning Mist design.

If you’re looking at Lau’s tweet and scratching your head, allow us to help you decode some of the acronyms.

What is the size of the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display?

OnePlus hasn’t officially shared the diagonal measurement on this yet, but WinFuture already has the specs, and its leaks are almost never wrong. For the OnePlus 9, we’re looking at a 6.5-inch Fluid AMOLED display and for the OnePlus 9 Pro, a 6.7-inch Fluid AMOLED screen.

What is the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display resolution?

Lau confirmed the 9 Pro’s resolution as QHD+. Assuming the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display aspect ratio remains the same as the 8 Pro’s, the new phone’s display should have the same 3,168 x 1,440 resolution.

What is “Smart 120Hz” for the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display?

From leaks and what we know about existing mobile display technologies, we’re guessing “Smart 120Hz” might be a feature similar to the S21 Ultra’s Adaptive Refresh Rate, which automatically adjusts the refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz depending on the activity.

On the OnePlus 8 Pro, you only have the option between 60Hz or 120Hz. There’s nothing in between. And there’s no ultra-low refresh rate for when you’re looking at a photo or reading text.

Lau’s latest tweet claims the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display can “switch anywhere from 1-120Hz, just when you need it” and he touts better battery life because of it.

Smart 120Hz might also be referring to Hyper Touch. Lau shared the below video comparing the OnePlus 9 Pro’s 120Hz to the S21 Ultra’s 120Hz display:

From the looks of it, there appears to be less lag and latency with the OnePlus 9 Pro’s 120Hz display. Just as how all OLED screens are not equal, not all high refresh rates are the same. A combination of new hardware and software makes all the difference.

What is the OnePlus 9 Pro display’s LTPO?

LTPO stands for “low-temperature polycrystalline oxide.” It’s a fairly new OLED display technology that is available in premium devices like the Apple Watch Series 5 and 6 and phones like the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S21 series.

Phones with displays that use LTPO are able to reduce power consumption for low-power features like the always-on display. Whereas an always-on display would normally drain a certain amount of power even during standby, LTPO reduces that power suckage to extend battery life. Lau pretty much confirms the benefits of LTPO for the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display.

How bright is the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display?

1,300 nits. That’s the same level of max brightness that the OnePlus 8 Pro display is capable of. It’s plenty of brightness and only 200 nits less than the S21 Ulta’s 1,500 nits of peak brightness. The OnePlus 9 Pro’s also brighter than the iPhone 12 Pro Max display, which tops out at 1,200 nits of brightness. As someone who was using the 8 Pro daily for almost all of 2020, you won’t need to worry about brightness.

Will the OnePlus 9 Pro display be curved or flat?

Phone screens with curved edges are on their way out. Apple’s ditched them on the iPhone 12 series, the Galaxy S21 has a flat display and word on the block is the regular OnePlus 9 will have a flat display like the OnePlus Nord. The OnePlus 9 Pro, however, will have a display with curved edges... the curved sides just won’t be as pronounced. Think of it like the S21 Ultra’s curved edges — it’s gentler and the angle isn’t as steep. Going back to flat displays is a good way to reduce the accidental touches many people seem to have an issue with. Flat displays are also better for watching video and taking photos; there’s less reflection and warping of content.

The OnePlus 9 Pro’s display sure looks like it’s still got curved edges... just less curved this time.OnePlus

Does the OnePlus 9 Pro display support HDR+?

Yes, and combined with 1,300 nits of peak brightness, HDR+ content is going to look spectacular. HDR content on Netflix already looks stunning on the OnePlus 8 Pro’s display. We’re expecting HDR videos to look even better on the OnePlus 9 Pro screen.

What is “native 10-bit color-depth” mean for the OnePlus 9 Pro’s display?

Native 10-bit color-depth is a technical term for a display’s ability to render colors — 1.07 billion colors to be precise. More colors translate to greater dynamic range in photos, videos, and games. As to whether or not your eyes can even see all the extra colors... that’s a different question altogther.

What is MEMC on the OnePlus 9 Pro display?

MEMC stands for Motion Estimation Motion Compensation. This display feature was introduced on the OnePlus 8 Pro and is basically another term for image interpolation, where extra frames are added to smooth out video. You may know this as the “soap opera effect.” In the display settings on the 8 Pro, there are two settings: one for “vibrant color effect pro” and another for “motion graphics smoothing.”

Vibrant color effect pro “dynamically enhances video colors and contrast to make it more vivid.”

Here’s what OnePlus says about MEMC on its website:

Motion graphics smoothing helps deliver a smoother video experience with reduced motion blur through motion compensation. On OnePlus 8 Pro, two modes are available: 60 fps mode for motion graphics smoothing and 120 fps mode for hyper motion smoothing. In 60 fps mode, it strikes a good balance between streaming performance and power consumption; while in 120 fps mode, it creates an extremely smooth video experience with slightly higher power consumption. For your convenience, we've provided supported apps to download below. And more surprises are on the way, please stay tuned.

Lau’s confirmed that the OnePlus 9 Pro display will have MEMC. But will there be any new improvements to motion graphics smoothing? Could be.

What is DisplayMate’s rating for the OnePlus 9 Pro display?

According to Lau, the OnePlus 9 Pro display received an “A+” rating from DisplayMate. What does it mean? Honestly, not much. Tons of new phones get an A+ rating display rating and while we’re not trying to diminish DisplayMate’s technical tests in any way, it’s a bit like caring about a phone’s DxO rating for their camera systems. Displays are subjective. You’ll either like the way it’s calibrated or not. So we wouldn’t take too much stock in a display rating. All premium phone screens are very good. They’ve been very good for many years.

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