Windows 11 adopts Android’s dynamic refresh rate to save battery

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Microsoft’s next-gen operating system Windows 11 is inheriting a lot of ideas from touchscreen devices. As the Windows tablet becomes more enticing after a decade of software improvements, Microsoft is keen to capitalise.

Amid the multiple improvements Windows 11 is making to touch, Microsoft is adopting a crucial feature from Android. To preserve battery life and health of portable devices, W11 will include a dynamic refresh rate.

What is Windows 11 Dynamic Refresh Rate?

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In a new Microsoft devblog, graphics program manager Ana Marta explained that Microsoft is jumping to appeal to new trends. As manufacturers continue to push higher framerate displays, Microsoft is working to support the evolving technology.

While Windows does support higher refresh rates for the increasingly common 120Hz+ portables, it doesn't allow adaptive switching. For portable devices, a dynamic refresh rate is essential for decent battery performance.

We've already seen dynamic refresh adjustment in modern Android smartphones. The OnePlus 9 phones can drop their refresh rates down to just 1Hz on static images. This gives the device static battery consumption on a similar level to e-ink displays.

Windows 11 dynamic refresh rate
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The operating system will let you choose a dynamic refresh rate.

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What software supports it?

DRR only supports Windows 11 and desktop applications. Certain software, such as video games, do not use DRR. Video Games will instead utilise variable refresh rate. Unfortunately, not every game supports VRR, even if the technology is highly beneficial.

Windows 11 will only give users access to dynamic refresh rate if their device is able to utilise 120Hz or more. During the operating system’s ongoing preview window, support will be dished out over time. Currently, the following applications support DRR:

  • Office
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Whiteboard
  • Photos
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Drawboard PDF
  • Microsoft Sticky Notes
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Microsoft To Do
  • Inkodo 

Microsoft promises more apps will take advantage of DRR when Windows 11 launches this holiday.

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