Experimental VRR scrolling spotted in Microsoft Edge Canary

Daniel Sims

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Why it matters: Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is primarily known for maintaining a smooth image in video games by matching a screen's refresh rate to a game's frames per second, but other uses have emerged. Now Microsoft is experimenting with it in its web browser.

A few days ago, Reddit user Leopeva64-2 discovered an experimental feature in Microsoft Edge Canary that makes scrolling look smoother by increasing the screen’s refresh rate only when scrolling. It essentially brings VRR functionality into the browser. Of course, it requires a display with either VRR, AMD FreeSync, or Nvidia G-Sync support.

Edge Canary is an insider version of Microsoft’s browser that allows users to see the latest features developers are working on before they’re stable enough for the dev, beta, or public releases. Canary users can see the scroll boost feature by typing edge://flags into the address bar and finding “Boost screen refresh rate when scrolling” in the list of available experimental features.

The feature only activates while scrolling to conserve battery charge. Many of the latest smartphones, tablets, and laptops already do this on the device level, including notebooks running Windows 11.

Edge Canary is revised almost daily, with the dev build updated weekly and the beta roughly monthly. If Microsoft decides to keep the refresh rate boost feature, it could appear in the January 11 or February 3 beta version. Potential stable version releases would follow on February 3 and March 3, respectively.

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