VRR, or variable refresh rate, is a feature that often flies under the radar in the console world. Basically, the technology smoothens out visual and gameplay stutters that crop up as a result of varied frame rates. It's been around on Xbox since midway through the last generation — as long as your display supports the feature — and now it's arrived on PS5. So, how do both versions stack up?

The experts over at Digital Foundry have already weighed in on PlayStation's VRR implementation and the results are, mixed to say the least. The gist here is that the PS5 version is very basic, only supporting certain frame rate ranges, and it's a lesser experience compared to Xbox's implementation. Here's how Digital Foundry's John Linneman summarised their findings:

"I would say the PlayStation 5 implementation is a step down from [other VRR implementations]. It's acceptable enough but it doesn't have, ultimately, the low frame rate compensation. That's the main thing missing here, and every other option [of VRR] does this better."

"It's a good feature, it is worth having, but it's implemented with the least amount of flexibility out of every other option available. And I guess every other option meaning, the PC or the Xbox."

That low frame rate compensation comes down to how PS5 uses the feature. Basically, Sony's version of VRR has a low end cap of 48fps, meaning if frame rates drop below that figure, VRR straight up doesn't work. When running in 120hz mode, the Xbox version has no such cap and will implement VRR at any frame rate, although in 60hz the Xbox also has a cap, set at 40fps.

Digital Foundry did test a few games throughout their analysis, which again, provided mixed results. Insomniac has gone in and patched Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart for example, which provides a smoother VRR experience, but unpatched games can struggle due to the Sony's system-wide approach. Elden Ring still suffers due to frame rates dipping below that 48fps cap, and PlayStation's VRR doesn't support PS4 games at all.

Elden Ring DF

What does all this mean for Xbox users? Well, for now at least, the best console VRR is still on Xbox, meaning games should look and feel smoother to play as a result. It's not a particularly flashy feature, but we've been loving how smooth the Series X runs on our shiny new 120hz tellies, and we're glad Microsoft continues to put the effort in to properly support these high-end features.

Do you take advantage of VRR on Xbox? What are your impressions of the tech? Let us know in the comments.

[source youtu.be]