Laptops with 120Hz displays have become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, customers today who’re willing to spend a grand on a new laptop do not want to settle for a standard 60Hz display.
So, what makes these laptop screens tempting, and should you consider one for your next laptop, especially if you’re on a budget?
Well, it all depends on what you plan to do on your laptop. So, read on as we discuss everything you need to know about 120Hz laptops so that you can decide if it’s worth the extra money.
What Does “120Hz Screen” on a Laptop Mean?
In layman’s terms, a laptop with a 120Hz screen means that it’s capable of refreshing 120 times per second, with Hertz (Hz) being the unit of measurement for the refresh rate. Standard 60Hz displays we’ve seen from laptops, phones, and desktop monitors for years can only refresh 60 times per second, meaning a 120Hz screen is twice as fast as a 60Hz panel.
So, if a laptop has a 120Hz screen, it basically means it is a high refresh rate panel. Some high-end gaming laptops even have a faster 144Hz or 240Hz refresh rate, targeting the consumers who want the best of the best.
However, just because you have a 120Hz laptop display doesn’t mean that all the content you view will match the refresh rate. For example, movies are rarely shot at more than 24 frames per second, so whether you have a 60Hz or a 120Hz display, you will get an identical viewing experience. But, the 120Hz screen does come with a slew of benefits, which we’ll discuss below.
What Are the Benefits of a 120Hz Display?
The first thing you’ll notice when you start using a high refresh rate 120Hz display is how buttery smooth the UI animations are, regardless of the operating system the machine is running. Even when you move your mouse cursor on a high refresh rate screen, you will notice twice the number of cursors appear on the screen as opposed to a 60Hz display.
Aside from that, most people seek a laptop with a high refresh rate 120Hz screen for gaming. Fast-paced motion sequences are best enjoyed on a display with a refresh rate of 120Hz or greater, particularly when playing first-person shooter games. Furthermore, if your opponents are using a conventional 60Hz display, a 120Hz screen instantly gives you a competitive edge in online multiplayer games.
And, sure, even if you don’t intend to game all day on your laptop, the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz panels is discernible to the untrained eye. As previously stated, using a 120Hz laptop display makes browsing the system menu, opening/closing windows, and scrolling considerably more pleasurable.
In terms of video content, you will struggle to locate any 120FPS videos on the internet since major sites such as YouTube, Twitch, and others do not currently support it. Furthermore, 120FPS is not an appropriate frame rate for video consumption, which is why most YouTube material is restricted to 60Hz in the first place.
Another significant advantage of a fast refresh rate screen that many people miss is that it reduces eye strain. This is due to the increased fluidity with which your eyes detect motion, and flickering at 120Hz becomes nearly imperceptible. So, if your eye health is important to you, a smoother-looking 120Hz screen is well worth the expense.
Is It Worth Buying a Laptop With a 120Hz Screen?
The simple answer is that if you can afford it, a laptop with a 120Hz screen is absolutely worthwhile. If you’re on a tight budget, you should consider if you’ve ever seen a 120Hz display—for example, on your smartphone, TV, or monitor. If the answer is no, you’ll be happy with a 60Hz laptop that checks all the other hardware boxes.
However, if you currently possess 120Hz equipment, switching back to 60Hz will be difficult. The slow motion in the display will be noticeable nearly immediately until your eyes adapt gradually over time. To prevent such problems, you may wish to extend your budget and get a laptop with a 120Hz display.
A 120Hz screen is also a must-have if you want to gaming on your laptop. Gaming is one of the ideal applications for a high refresh rate screen, and it will assist you immensely in fast-paced games. These screens also feature quicker reaction speeds and less input latency, providing you an advantage over other players in a competitive game. If you want to become a professional gamer, a 120Hz display is an excellent place to start.
However, keep in mind that a 120Hz panel makes little sense if the gear within isn’t capable of driving it. As a result, you must guarantee that the laptop is capable of running the games you wish to play at 120FPS. To play most multiplayer games at 120FPS or greater in 2022, you’ll need a laptop with at least an NVIDIA RTX 3060 or AMD RX 6600M.
However, if you want to use your laptop just for media consumption, you will not profit from a 120Hz screen since 99% of video material is 60FPS or below. Your favorite TV programs and movies will seem just as they did on a 60Hz panel. In such circumstances, it is better to spend your money elsewhere, such as on a superior OLED screen over an LCD, which can give pure blacks and unparalleled viewing angles.
Choose the Right Display for Your Laptop
As much as we like high refresh rate 120Hz screens, there are a number of additional considerations to consider when purchasing a laptop. These fast refresh rate displays often come with subpar LCD panels, which may be a deal breaker for certain consumers. For example, if you perform video editing or professional color grading, an OLED panel, even if at 60Hz, would be a far superior choice due to its unrivaled color accuracy.
However, if you can buy a laptop with an OLED panel and a 120Hz screen, you will not be disappointed, as long as the rest of the hardware is strong enough to support the high refresh rate display.
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