Microsoft’s Surface Duo will arrive on September 10 for $1,399
Fans of dual-screen devices have something new to look forward to. Microsoft has announced that it will launch the Surface Duo on September 10. The dual-screen Android phone will have a hefty price tag of $1,399.
However, Duo comes with plenty of innovative features that will entice smartphone shoppers to get their hands on it. Along with the official price and release date, Microsoft has finally revealed the device’s specs.
This is what consumers can look forward to when the all-new Surface Duo hits shelves later this year.
Loving the Form
Microsoft hasn’t been shy with its own opinions of the new Surface Duo. During a press briefing on Wednesday, Windows and devices chief Panos Panay said, “It’s probably one of the sexiest devices we’ve ever built.”
He adds, “It does things that single-screen devices can’t do, period.”
While the design of the Surface Duo was revealed back in October, consumers are just learning about some of its details. For one, it includes two separate 5.6-inch OLED displays. Each one features a 4:3 aspect ratio. The magic happens when the two work together to form an 8.1-inch workspace with a 3:2 aspect ratio.
Microsoft’s latest offering isn’t the first foldable to hit the market. Other devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold have been around for almost a year. That being said, the new Surface Duo has a distinct advantage over its dual-screened competitors.
It is using real Gorilla Glass in both of its displays. This means it will be far more durable than the plastic screens of other foldable devices. For consumers who held off on buying a Galaxy Fold due to durability concerns, the Surface Duo looks like a very attractive gadget.
Its 360-degree hinge lets you use one screen at a time or multitask with both in seamless fashion. Consumers should note that the build of the Surface Duo simply looks sturdier than any other foldable we’ve seen. If it shares the high-quality construction of other members of the Surface family (and it looks like it does) then Duo should be a high-end device.
As a nice bonus, Microsoft is also shipping the Duo with a bumper cover designed to protect it from accidental drops.
Exploring the Specs
Nothing about the Duo says ordinary. That includes its internal specs. Duo features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. It will support LTE coverage on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon.
Notably, the Surface Duo doesn’t support 5G in any way. Microsoft likely realizes that the majority of consumers will wait for a few more years before upgrading to 5G. By then, a second iteration of the Duo will probably be on the market.
Duo houses two batteries, one under each display, that account for a total capacity of 3577mAh. That’s far less than the 4500mAh found in Samsung’s Note 20 Ultra — a device with one screen.
Even so, Microsoft promises that Duo will deliver “all-day battery life.” That translates to 15.5 hours of local video playback and 27 hours of talk time. Those figures will need to be put to the test in the real world but are pretty impressive for a device with two screens. The rest of Microsoft’s Surface lineup features pretty solid battery performance. Hopefully the Duo does as well.
As for a camera, Microsoft decided to include an 11-megapixel f/2.0 sensor. It features auto modes for low light conditions, HDR multi-frame captures, and “Super Zoom” up to 7x. Duo will be able to record video in 4K at both 30 and 60fps with electronic image stabilization. That’s about on par — if not a bit underwhelming — compared to many recent smartphones.
Android Meets Windows
Aside from having two screens, the thing that makes Duo a special device is its mashup of Android and Windows. If done correctly, the combination could create a synchronous experience similar to what iPhone owners enjoy when using a Mac.
All Android apps will run on the Duo without modification. The screens are designed to operate similarly to a double-display setup with Windows. App developers will be able to optimize their apps to take advantage of spanning across both screens if they wish to.
Microsoft is leading the way in that category by tweaking its own apps for the phone. Its Office suite and OneDrive will span the displays.
Third-party developers are working to accommodate the device as well. Amazon’s Kindle app will be updated to make readers feel like they are holding a book by flipping pages between the screens.
To make sure using the Duo is a seamless experience, Microsoft is incorporating algorithms that predict how apps should utilize the displays. Panay says, “There is an algorithm in there that’s very smart and trying to be predictive. If you’re on one screen and you’re invoking a link, it will fill the other screen.”
Smart features like this will help set Duo apart from other dual-screen devices on the market. It also helps that Microsoft and Google have been working closely to ensure that the combination of Windows and Android runs smoothly. Panay called the partnership “crazy fun.”
Hopefully consumers will agree when they are able to get their hands on the Duo next month.
Will it Work?
We all know that Microsoft doesn’t have a sparkling history when it comes to phones. Most people would probably like to forget about the Windows Phone.
That being said, the company hopes that the Duo is going to have a much more successful future. It already looks like the device could make some headway in the market.
However, Duo’s success or failure will come down to two things — pricing and productivity.
It’s difficult to ask consumers to pay $1,399 for a smartphone. With no 5G support and questions about battery life, the Surface Duo has its work cut out for it. While foldable devices may be part of the future, today’s consumers must pay top dollar to get on board early. It remains to be seen if they are willing to do so.
Meanwhile, the real question is whether or not a device like Surface Duo actually improves productivity while on-the-go. Is having two screens helpful or does it simply make the device too clunky to use as a phone? Do consumers like multi-tasking on a phone? Can Duo gain traction in the business sector? These questions will only be answered once consumers get to try the device in the real world.
Fortunately, the wait is almost over. The Surface Duo is available for pre-order now on Microsoft’s website. It will launch on September 10.
Originally published at https://www.theburnin.com on August 12, 2020.