Microsoft begins testing “dynamic refresh rate” mode on Surface Laptop Studio

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Microsoft has started rolling out a new firmware update to the Surface Laptop Studio for devices enrolled in the Windows Insider dev or beta channels, which finally appears to be enabling the new “dynamic refresh rate” feature compatible with some high refresh rate displays.

The update comes in the form of two driver updates, one being a firmware release and the other an Intel display driver update:

  • Surface – Firmware – 10.0.156.0
  • Intel Corporation – Display – 30.0.101.1340

Once these updates are installed, restart your computer to apply them, then head to Settings > Display > Advanced Display > and select the drop-down menu where it says “choose a refresh rate”. You should now see a new option called “Dynamic (60Hz or 120Hz.)”

Microsoft says the dynamic refresh rate feature is designed to optimize when your PC uses 120Hz in an effort to save battery life. Instead of blasting 120Hz all the time, Windows will intelligently lower your refresh rate to 60Hz when it thinks 120Hz isn’t needed, and dynamically adjust up to 120Hz whenever you start an activity that requires a smoother experience.

In our brief tests, it seems to do as advertised. When you’re sitting on the desk doing nothing, Windows reduces to 60Hz, but when scrolling through a Word document or inking in OneNote, Windows increases the refresh rate to 120Hz and things feel definitely smoother as a result.

I’ve noticed that some Windows built-in animations don’t seem to run at 120Hz when dynamic refresh rate is enabled. I hope this is just a bug and will be fixed in the future – it’s still in preview after all.

Thanks for the advice, @squimjay!

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