Microsoft is adding support for dynamic refresh rates to Windows 11. It works with laptops that have a screen with a refresh rate of at least 120Hz and support a variable refresh rate. The function is intended to extend battery life.
According to Microsoft, more and more laptops are equipped with screens with a high refresh rate. This ensures a smooth user experience, but it also comes at the expense of battery life. To counter that, users can now manually lower the refresh rate, but the advent of Dynamic Refresh Rate must automate that and tailor it to specific uses.
The feature is in Windows 11 Insider Builds in the Dev channel. With DRR enabled, Windows 11 automatically changes the screen refresh rate depending on what the user is doing. For now, Microsoft mentions two functions: smoother inking and smoother scrolling. The former increases the refresh rate when users use pen input to draw or take notes, and the latter increases the refresh rate when scrolling. As an example, Microsoft mentions changes between 60Hz and 120Hz.
Software must be modified to be able to use this. For now, Microsoft supports smoother inking in Office, Edge, Whiteboard, Photos, Snip & Sketch, Drawboard PDF, To Do, and Sticky Notes. There is also support for the function in Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator and Inkodo. The smoother scrolling feature is currently only available in Microsoft Office. DRR does not apply to games; that run at the maximum refresh rate of the screen.
Dynamic Refresh Rate works with ‘supported devices’. The function only works with laptops, which must have a screen with a refresh rate of at least 120Hz and support variable refresh rate. A WDDM 3.0 driver that supports DRR is also required. Microsoft says it is working with display manufacturers to add the necessary drivers to the Windows Insiders program.
ASUS TUF Dash laptop with 240Hz display