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Samsung's Galaxy S11 will probably have a 120Hz display

The Android 10 beta for the Galaxy Note 9 shows an option for a 120Hz display.

120Hz displays make scrolling much smoother.
Angela Lang/CNET

Each year phones get a little faster, longer lasting and, with luck, more stylishly designed. One feature increasingly coming to phones that makes a bigger, more noticeable difference is higher refresh rates. The standard rate is 60Hz, which means your phone screen refreshes 60 times a second. In 2017 the Razer Phone wowed CNET with its 120Hz display, which led to a strikingly smooth scrolling experience, and recently phones from Google, OnePlus and Oppo have adopted 90Hz displays.

It looks like Samsung is about to become the biggest phone brand yet to level up its refresh rates. As discovered Wednesday by Korean tech blogger Ice Universe, the new Android 10 beta for last year's Galaxy Note 9 phone includes the option to switch from the standard 60Hz refresh rate to a higher, smoother 120Hz.

Turning to 120Hz on the Note 9 makes no difference, since that phone's hardware isn't capable of the switch. But it suggests that 2020's Galaxy S11, which will run that same version of Android 10, will have that feature. Both the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 lines currently run the Android 9.0 Pie operating system. The Note 9 is the first Samsung phone to get an Android 10 beta.

Outside of new display capabilities, the Galaxy S11 looks to feature One UI 2, the second edition of Samsung's Android-based user interface. In October, Samsung showed off One UI 2, revealing an update that brings better reachability, moving icons, dark mode for the lock and home screen, and smaller notification windows to Samsung Galaxy phones, wearables, tablets and folding phones.