Say what you want about the Microsoft Surface Duo but we think it will have a special audience. It’s a hybrid smartphone-tablet with a dual-screen that can compete with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 or the Huawei Mate. It may not have a single foldable screen but the dual-display offers a bigger screen real estate. The device was officially announced last week after many months of rumors, speculations, and leaks. Even Microsoft executives teased the Surface Duo so we anticipated for its announcement.
The device is focused on mobile productivity. It doesn’t have all the latest and most premium features. However, it’s great if you simply want to finish tasks with speed and efficiency without having to depend on your PC or laptop.
CNET received a unit from Microsoft so the tech guys could take a look at it. The new device was announced via a virtual briefing. We don’t have a hands-on experience yet but Microsoft has been generous in sharing the device to the web.
Before the product launch, Google SVP Lockheimer himself teased the phone-tablet. That was after a round of teasers by Microsoft executives. The Microsoft Surface Duo featured in the video below already shows everything inside. We don’t have to wait for a teardown.
The Microsoft Surface Duo is a smartphone. It’s also a tablet so you can say it’s hybrid. It boasts a dual-screen system that lets you run two Android apps at the same time. It features a custom Android interface.
The device folds like a real book with 5.6-inches on both sides. We can imagine reading e-books on this gadget. It runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset plus custom Microsoft chips for battery management. We see two batteries inside, powering both displays.
The screens allow pen support apart from the standard touchscreen experience. Other features include proximity sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes on both displays. Most of the circuitry passes through tiny hinges on both sides.
As described, the Microsoft Surface Duo doesn’t have 5G nor NFC. It doesn’t even have the latest WiFi 6. The screens have significant bezels on the bottom and top but the device is still very thin. The size is definitely “comfortable” to use and is very “pocketable”.
Some basic phone-tablet features are NOT available like Face ID, face scanning, or any kind of biometrics. We don’t see any button anywhere, just a USB-C port. There is no port for the pen.
Other notable features include the Gorilla Glass on both sides and both screens. Antenna reception is improved because of the all-glass design. The design appears and feels robust that it can last a long time even after thousands of opening and closing.
CNET has compared the Microsoft Surface Duo with the Nintendo 3DS. Holding it is comfortable and not heavy. You can flip it open and prop it ay any angle to watch a video. The unit featured in the video isn’t working. It was given to show the innards. Expect a real, working unit in the coming weeks as market release approaches.