Late last year in October, Microsoft had announced the Surface Duo, the company’s first ever Android device and first-party smartphone (if you can call it that) release in years. What makes the Surface Duo special is its symmetric dual-screen nature and 360° hinge mechanism that allows the device to fold itself shut like a book – to fully opening itself up with two opposing displays. Today Microsoft is finally making the Surface Duo available for pre-order – although availability will be limited to the US.

Microsoft Surface Duo
  Surface Duo
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 
1x Kryo 485 (Cortex-A76) @ 2.84GHz
3x Kryo 485 (Cortex-A76) @ 2.42GHz
4x Kryo 485 (Cortex-A55) @ 1.80GHz

Adreno 640 @ 585MHz
DRAM 6GB LPDDR4X
Display Dual 5.6" solid OLED with 360° hinge
1800 x 1350 (4:3)

Unfolded 8.1" effective diagonal at 2700x1800 (3:2)
Size Height 145.2 mm
Width 93.3 mm (closed) - 186.9 mm (open)
Depth 9.9mm (closed) - 4.8 mm (open)
Weight 250 grams
Battery Capacity 3577mAh total (dual cells)
Wireless Charging -
Rear Cameras
Main 11MP 1.0 µm
f/2.0
Telephoto -
Wide -
Extra -
Front Camera -
Storage 128 / 256 GB UFS 3.0
I/O USB-C
Wireless (local) 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.0 LE + NFC
Cellular (Category 12/5)
DL = 1200Mbps
5x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

UL = 150Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM
Other Features It folds
Dual-SIM 1x nanoSIM + eSIM
Launch Price $1399

Starting off with the uninteresting stuff – the internal hardware of the Surface Duo isn’t all that exciting as it features a last generation Snapdragon 855 SoC. Given the device’s early announcement last year it seems Microsoft took a long time to bring the device to market. We’re seeing a standard amount of DRAM and storage space with 6GB and either 128GB or 256GB options. All in all there’s nothing too special about the internals here and are in line with 2019 flagships.

The device’s key characteristic is naturally its symmetrical folding design with two 5.6” 1800 x 1350 resolution OLED screens. Although we call this a folding device, this doesn’t actually apply to the displays as they’re two distinct units covered with solid glass.

Further unique to the design is the hinge mechanism which is symmetrical as well – it allows for a full 360° tilt of the two sides, meaning you can have the device either fully shut, or you can have it fully opened with both screen facing outwards.

Microsoft opted for relatively unusual form-factors here as the screens are each 4:3 – and when opened up it gives you a sort of effective 8.1” diagonal 3:2 surface to work with.

The dimensions of the device come at 145.2mm height in portrait mode, and one side is 93.3mm wide, which opens up till 186.9mm. Each half is extremely thin at only 4.8mm meaning that even when folded it remains a relatively reasonable 9.9mm in thickness.

The device’s 360° folding nature means that the internal screen surface can face completely outwards, and Microsoft took advantage of this for their camera design, of which the Surface Duo only has a single unit. The 11MP 1µm pixel f/2.0 standard wide-angle unit is relatively conservative in specifications, but that’s the compromise that had to be made to fit into a 4.8mm thick chassis and not having the possibility to employ a camera bump.

Microsoft positions the Surface Duo as a productivity device, and its first-party applications such as the Microsoft 365 suite will be optimised for the experience. This seemingly will be the deciding factor as to how the Surface Duo will be received, as it represents quite a niche device market.

The Surface Duo is available for pre-order now at a very high price of $1399, with availability only in the US and compatibility with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, with availability starting September 10th.

The device’s high price and relatively lacklustre specifications will likely result in limited adoption amongst users- and the device in general feels more like an experiment than a product that’s aimed at commercial success.

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  • shabby - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    more=those Reply
  • shabby - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    Where the fudge is the edit button? What year is this? Are we back in the bbs days? Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    For me, seeing as I love my Huawei Mate 20 x, I simply couldn't justify the Duo's price. Why not? The camera. I use my Mate 20 x for the camera, leaving the Nikon at home gathering a bit of dust. The duo, other than two screens, gives me absolutely NOTHING when compared to the 20 x. The price is just stupid, as it is for the Samsung note 20 or S20 ultra.

    These companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

    P.s. I'll buy a Duo, from eBay, when they hit £450 in seven months time.
    Reply
  • BedfordTim - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    No you won't. It isn't on sale here.
    I had the same thought. I got my 950 that way for £130 and loved it.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    I bet I will! I mean, sure, it might never reach the U.K. but it really should.

    "when they hit £450 in SEVEN months time." (On eBay)
    Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    I'm not sure why it doesn't just run Windows 10 Arm. Is it that hard to make a phone app? Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    This is the same company that couldnt figure out how to support windows phone 6, 6.1, 7, 7.1, 8, 8.1, or 10 without breaking compatibility. Microsoft has a very poor track record with non desktop or server windows.

    Given android's locking down of storage and app permissions, the lack of call recording, ece there is a huge hole in the market for the return of windows phone with more power user customizeability.
    Reply
  • nico_mach - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    You've got to let it go. No, it's not hard to make a phone app, it's hard to make a million phone apps. Reply
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    For $1399 it needs a Snapdragon 865 + 8GB of ram and Wifi AX battery also needs to be 4000+maH minimum. With how its currently configured I would pay $1000 for it. And 50 grams lighter wouldn't hurt :) Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    Big batteries and lightness dont go together.

    The $250 moto g power has a 5000 mah battery. There is no reasn the Duo should have one smaller then the moto with such a large body to work with.
    Reply

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