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Microsoft begins testing 'dynamic refresh rate' mode on Surface Laptop Studio

Surface Laptop Studio Hero
Surface Laptop Studio Hero (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Dynamic refresh rate is finally rolling out to the Surface Laptop Studio in preview.
  • It's available now for Insiders in the Dev and Beta Channel.

Microsoft has started rolling out a new firmware update on the Surface Laptop Studio for devices enrolled in the Windows Insider Dev or Beta Channels, which appears to finally enable Windows 11's new "dynamic refresh rate" (opens in new tab) feature that's compatible with certain high refresh rate displays.

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

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

Once these updates have been 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.)"

Sls Dynamic Option

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft says that the dynamic refresh rate feature is designed to optimize when your PC is using 120Hz in an attempt 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 back up to 120Hz whenever you begin an activity that requires a more fluid experience.

In our brief testing, it appears to do as advertised. When sitting on the desktop doing nothing, Windows scales down to 60hz, but when scrolling in a Word document or inking in OneNote, Windows bumps the refresh rate up to 120Hz and things definitely feel smoother as a result.

I have noticed that some of Windows built-in animations don't seem to initiate 120Hz when dynamic refresh rate is enabled. Hopefully that's just a bug and will be fixed in the future — this is still in preview after all.

Thanks for the tip, @squimjay!

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

10 Comments
  • I wonder if its a hardware limitation, but I wish there will be a future improvement where the refresh rate goes even lower to save more battery life.
  • It is by PC design. You can't change screen resolution willy-nilly based on the programme the way a TV does. A better implementation is to upscale everything. What they are trying to do is not sustainable. They should invest more in better engineers instead of buying out and destroying strategic companies or leave hardware to OEMs
  • That and they need to up the refresh to 120hz when moving the mouse. So jarring my word Microsoft....
  • If you use touch, your hand will move very smoothly from point to point. Very fluid. Zero cursor lag. ;-)
  • I remember the days when you could set whatever refresh rate you wanted based on your monitor. Is that not a thing anymore?
  • You still can, but it's not dynamic, like this is.
  • Wait! It was still not available since day one? XD
    Will it work the same as MacBook Pro? Can you set the refresh rate to 24hz? 🤔
    I find it weird that is it not going lower than 60fps.
  • No, only two options: 60 and 120 hz. It's different than what Apple did.
  • How Microsoft can be so slow, it should be able to go lower since day 1.
  • I don't know why it took so long. I actually managed to open this dynamic refresh rate mode with the help of the Intel Graphics software a few months ago. Still a good thing it is finally official.