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Samsung Display mass-producing 90Hz OLEDs for laptops

Gamers sometimes need to game on a laptop: be it a lack of space, portability, a travel companion, and so on. I’m one of them: for me, it came down to portability when choosing something that could at least handle occasional PC gaming. Which, um, has turned out to be less useful in recent times.

But still, gamers are choosing gaming laptops. And a small dilemma here has been around the display. Do you go for a laptop with a high refresh rate IPS LCD screen (which goes all the way up to 300Hz in some mind-boggling cases), or do I get a laptop OLED with its inky blacks and deep contrast, but with a refresh rate capped at 60Hz, and miss out on faster FPS gaming?

Things are changing. Samsung Display announced today in a press release that it is working on that tradeoff, saying it will start mass-producing 90Hz OLED displays by March.

What this means

  • Samsung Display’s CEO said that the company “will initially produce very large quantities of 14-inch, 90Hz OLED displays destined for laptops and notebooks, beginning in March.”
  • It’s noted that only laptops with a capable GPU will be able to drive the display, but that it should offer “high-speed performance on par” with that of 120Hz LCD.
  • And: “Several global IT companies are expected to release new laptops or notebooks with 90Hz OLED screens this year.”
  • In terms of how good 90Hz will be, Samsung cites the fast response time, claiming “practically” the same amount of blurring as a 120Hz LCD when displaying fast-moving graphics like a speeding car.
  • Samsung also claims the 90Hz OLED refresh rate “is actually 10X the fastest screen response time on the market today”.
  • What we don’t know is what Samsung is producing in terms of aspect ratio, or resolution. Nor did Samsung indicate any kind of costs, which is not unexpected. Nor any mention of burn-in mitigation.
  • And we didn’t see details on which OEMs will take up the display in 2021 laptops. 
  • Given the GPU requirements, and that the display is a first for mass-use, I wouldn’t expect a future, say, Razer or ASUS laptop boasting 90Hz OLED to be a bargain. But it will, hopefully, look very very nice.

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