Microsoft is introducing a new Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) feature in Windows 11 that is designed to conserve laptop battery life and increase the refresh rate when it’s really needed.
A number of laptops now come with displays of 120Hz and greater, which make Windows feel much smoother scrolling, animation, and inking. while the added smoothness feels good. Running at a higher refresh rate will lead to longer battery life.
In Windows 10, you have to choose between 60Hz and 120Hz on your laptop, and as a fixed alternative, Microsoft is building DRR in Windows 11 that will allow laptops to dynamically adjust the refresh rate. “This means that Windows 11 will seamlessly switch between a lower refresh rate and a higher refresh rate based on what you’re doing on your PC,” explains Ana Marta, program manager in Microsoft’s graphics team.
You need a laptop that supports DRR and 120Hz or a higher refresh rate. And this feature means that normal tasks like writing emails or documents will run at 60Hz, then DRR will start and increase the screen to 120Hz for inking and scrolling. The app must support DRR and during preview DRR. Windows 11 is limited to Office only for adding scrolling. Office, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Whiteboard, Microsoft Photos, Snip & Sketch, PDF Drawboard, Microsoft Sticky Notes, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft To Do, and Inkodo all support DRR. for ink as well
DRR should not be confused with VRR (variable refresh rate), especially since DRR is not available for games and is focused only on Windows apps. Windows 11 will be a requirement for DRR alongside laptops that support variable refresh rate. At least 120Hz, you’ll need new graphics drivers (WDDM 3.0), and Microsoft says it’s working with graphics rendering partners to enable DRR on devices running preview versions of Windows 11.
Where DRR seems a natural fit is with Microsoft’s Surface hardware lineup, especially since Microsoft’s focus is on enabling DRR in ink-based scenarios. No Surface devices currently ship with 120Hz displays, but this could be an early sign that Microsoft may finally deliver a Surface tablet display that can compete with Apple’s ProMotion display on the iPad.