90Hz Refresh Rate Mod Surfaces for the Pixel 6a, Unfortunately it’s Far From Perfect
Higher refresh rate causes notable green tint on display
Google got a lot right with the Pixel 6a, but that might be enough to ignore the glaring issues. One of them is the phone’s refresh rate, which is locked to 60Hz. Coming in at $449, this might be unpalatable for many people. Thankfully, twitter user @TheLunarixus, created a new mod for the Pixel 6a which unlocked a 90Hz refresh rate on the phone.
I feel the need to address this because it's being a more popular thing said amongst the community
Will the Pixel 6a 90Hz mod cause panel damage?
Until this mod is ran on 100+ phones, we will never actually know if it causes damage to people's phones [1/2]
— Nathan (@TheLunarixus) August 12, 2022
@TheLunarixus just had to add a new frequency mode to the Pixel 6a driver, with timings from the Pixel 6’s S6E3FC3 driver. No voltage modifiers were used to achieve this, although the height and width values were modified to fit the Pixel 6a.
The mod is a bit complicated to install, but anyone with recent experience of installing a custom ROM on Android will be familiar with most of the steps. You have to first enable debugging mode from the settings and then toggle OEM unlock. Then you have to unlock the phone’s bootloader and flash a modified Android 13 beta, and then flash a modified vendor_boot image.
This driver is also used on Galaxy A72, which runs FHD@120Hz. Even though all three of these devices use it, they are nothing alike in terms of the actual display panels, the parts that display the image.
— Kuba Wojciechowski :3 (@Za_Raczke) August 10, 2022
A lot of people suspect that since the Pixel 6a display is very similar to the Pixel 6, which sports a 90Hz panel, Google might have disabled it and locked it to 60Hz to save battery or some other obscure reason. Although that might not be the case. It’s true that both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a have the same display identifiers – S6E3FC3, but as twitter user @Za_Raczke correctly points out, S6E3FC3 denotes the display controller and driver, and not the panel itself.
UPDATE: I flashed a new vendor_boot image sent by @TheLunarixus and now my Pixel 6a can run at 90Hz! The green tint/calibration issue is still very very noticeable on my unit, though @MaxWinebach says it isn't there on his. pic.twitter.com/beM2vmTTo9
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) August 11, 2022
Companies often grade displays by quality, and they are always rated to operate in a particular refresh rate ceiling. Refresh rate denotes the number of times an individual pixel can transition in a display, so for a display rated for 60 pixel transitions per second, overclocking it to 90 transitions might damage it in the long term.
Unfortunately for some people running the mod, they might notice a green tint on their display. Although, that is apparently not the case with every Pixel 6a, and for some, the screen works perfectly even after the higher refresh rate is enabled.