Windows 11 gamers now have a new option for smart customization, namely the ability to easily adjust the intensity of Microsoft’s Auto HDR feature effect through the Xbox Game Bar.
For those unfamiliar with Auto HDR, it’s a feature that takes a game that doesn’t have HDR (high dynamic range) support – in other words, uses SDR, or standard dynamic range – and it applies a simulation of an HDR effect (you must have an HDR monitor, of course).
Basically, it takes normal SDR games and gives them something like HDR with more vivid and brighter colors, usually with impressive results, although sometimes things can go a little awry.
The addition of this new Auto HDR Intensity slider in the Xbox Game Bar means you can correct the image if it turns out to be too bright (or even too dark) and fine-tune the image you get.
Another useful change in this department is that the Xbox Game Bar now has a toggle to turn Auto HDR on (or off), which you’ll find in the bar’s Settings menu, under the Game Features tab.
Both of these features are now live and available to Windows 11 gamers who grab the latest version of Xbox Game Bar from the Microsoft Store.
Analysis: Helps get the auto HDR right for your eyes
These are a few useful changes, and it’s good to have the ability to turn Auto HDR on (or off) right from the Xbox Game Bar rather than having to head into the Windows settings panel. (Note, however, that you must restart the game you are playing for the new choice to be saved).
What’s more important here, of course, is the ability to adjust the intensity of the HDR effect as needed. Obviously, the end result is quite a subjective thing, and some people may enjoy much more saturated and vivid colors, while others may prefer a more subtle effect. So now you can adjust the effect to your needs on the fly, rather than just turning off Auto HDR if you find the default setting just too off-putting.
What’s also nifty is that the auto HDR intensity level you choose is saved per game, allowing you to use different settings for different games and remember them all individually.
As Microsoft explains, to use the feature, you’ll need to head to the Xbox Game Bar Settings menu, then into Game Features, and click the “Adjust HDR Intensity” button which will bring up a small slider window to allow you to change the level from a minimum effect to a maximum effect.
Remember you’ll need to be running the latest version of the Xbox Game Bar app, and it’s also worth noting that Auto HDR has no effect on games that natively support HDR, as you’d expect. .