High Framerate Sensitivity

June 23, 2017

Apple recently released a new iPad with a display that can run at variable refresh rates, up to 120 Hz. Previous iPads were locked at 60 Hz, which means their animations are locked at a maximum of 60 frames per second. This is already a fairly smooth framerate, but obviously, bumping the maximum refresh rate of a monitor can really make quite the difference.

I own a 144 Hz display for my Windows PC, and I have been able to witness a new iPad in action. Both are a tremendous improvement over classic displays. Using any device that runs at lower framerates instantly feels sluggish coming from a faster monitor.

The same applies to an iPad. If compare an old iPad and a fancy new iPad and swipe, you can see the difference in smoothness. It's remarkable. This would be a massive change for most people.

Or at least, so I thought. It seems clear to me however that some folks do not perceive framerate differences as much as I do. I'm very sensitive to framerate drops and can easily tell the difference between an animation or game running at 30, 60 and 120fps. Some people I discussed this topic with find it much harder to perceive this difference.

I think this is personally very interesting, since most people did not find this as big as a difference as a retina screen was. But to me, it seems like having a high refresh rate monitor or display makes a massive difference. I guess I'm just very framerate sensitive - and a bit of a PC "master race" dork. I guess my eyes are trained a bit more on this.