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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  • serendip - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    Large but very thin body. I don't know if the batteries are split in two, one beneath each screen, or if one side has all the cells. They could have made a slightly thicker device with a huge 5000 or 6000 mAh battery pack. Reply
  • wr3zzz - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    Not sure what Microsoft is thinking here. Either this bombs terribly as a productivity device and Microsoft loses both face and money, or it works and people start to take Chrome Book seriously and move away from Windows. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, August 13, 2020 - link

    People do take Chromebooks seriously, much to the dismay of cybersecurity folks and data privacy advocates that understand what Google is doing behind their backs. Reply
  • mobutu - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    So we have 5-6000 mAh batteries in smaller devices and ms thought puting only 3500 mAh in these?
    Pathetic
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    I've seen a dual-battery device run at 6.4V at less mAh, so it looked bad on paper, but it actually had twice the watt-hours, so I'd like to make sure on that point before making a decision. If it's only 13 Wh, that's not a lot.

    Then again, the entire Surface Book display (or "clipboard") has only 19 Wh, so maybe that's what they're used to putting into a device of this thinness.
    Reply
  • Quantumz0d - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    $1400 brick. Only sheep and fools are going to buy this trash.

    What does it have ? no 3.5mm jack, no sd card and 3500mah with SD855 processor. This garbage should be wiped from existence.

    Damn, nothing is compelling about this product. Don't waste money on this trash. Get an LG V60 which can do this with a latest processor and has a better battery, has Wacom Stylus support, has a 3.5mm jack with SD slot too and not just that it can take much better pictures and has solid pro audio and video capabilities.

    This garbage also has sealed battery for what ? to throw it in a garbage dumpster after 1 year &Just because it folds ? how about First Party Android app support for that ? None, all of them are blown up UI, Google shamelessly and recklessly abandoned Android tablet and started chasing stupid Google Chrome OS and flopped harder than anything with Pixel Slate and other trash, now they don't have proper app support for Chrome OS until 2020 with all that hooplah of the Crouton and etc garbage. Talk about zero focus. Pixel is a doomed division failing hard and Surface seems to chug along because of the Windows only.

    Panos Panay is a fool and they gave Windows development to this idiot, Windows10 looks horrendous due to it's hybrid BS of tablet and desktop UX in same without a choice. M$ ofc doesn't care as long as their Windows Enterprise customers bend over for that WaaS unstable garbage. But with Home and Pro even worse after 6 months new update with new bugs and breaking Desktop Composer too.
    Reply
  • Quantumz0d - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    And for this money one can build a brand new Ryzen beast, horrible pricing for such an inferior product in terms of both HW and Software, made by idiotic fools at MS who got into that company probably because of higher PR speak big mouth and some virtue signalling. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    I'm sorry, $1400 for a last gen processor and a device with two large screens and only 3500MaH of battery between them?

    Neat form factor, shame about, well, all the bones underneath the pretty skin. And MicroSoft's terrible support history with ARM windows devices, windows phone 7, 8, 10, and the ARM surface devices like the surface 1 and 2.
    Reply
  • brucethemoose - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    Maybe it was massively delayed?

    This really looks like a product that should've dropped last summer, not this one.
    Reply
  • jrs77 - Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - link

    Biggest problem of this device for me is not the pricetag but the OS. Reply

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