Microsoft Surface Duo: Everything you need to know about the “foldable” phone

At long last, Microsoft has officially launched its answer to foldable phones from Samsung, Motorola, and Huawei—although the company has a very different take on the form-factor of the device. The Microsoft Surface Duo is an interesting device for several reasons, chief among which is the implementation of a unique 360-degree hinge design that combines two separate 5.6″ OLED displays.

This means that twin 5.6″ displays (that push a resolution of 1800×1350 pixels each) combine to form an 8.1″ AMOLED display, with a full resolution of 2700×1800 pixels. Compared to foldable phones that are already in the market, the Surface Duo should have a sturdier display, with Corning Gorilla Glass used for the 3:2 displays.

Remember, this is still a “phone”, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (where’s the 865?) under the hood is matched to 6GB of RAM and speedy UFS3.1 storage of up to 256GB. The device ships with Android 10, which means that you’ll have access to the entire range of apps on the Google Play Store—just like most Android tablets.

Standard apps should run well enough, with the Surface Duo’s combined display equivalent to—more or less—two attached phone screens. This means that regular apps will open on one display only, although apps that have been designed for the Duo such as Spotify will “span” across both screens.

However, unlike many flagship mobile releases recently, Microsoft has decided to forgo 5G connectivity with the Surface Duo; no WiFi 6, either. You’ll still have LTE and WiFi (of course), but this is pretty damning for a 2020 device that’s purportedly designed to offer “productivity” and “flexibility” to me.

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What’s also a little worrying is the comparatively small battery capacity for the Surface Duo: 3,577mAh. This is especially important given the fact that the dual-battery setup will be powering two displays, although Microsoft still promises “all-day battery life”: up to 15.5 hours of local video playback, 10 days of standby time, and 27 hours of talk time. Fast-charging isn’t incredibly fast by today’s standards either, with 18W charging supported out of the box.

There’s only a single camera on Microsoft’s foldable phone, too. The 11MP f/2.0 shooter functions as both the selfie and main camera, depending on whether the phone is folded, with 4K recording at 60fps supported, along with PDAF and a “super zoom” that offers 7x zoom.

“With Surface Duo – not to reinvent the phone, but to inspire people to rethink how they want to use the device in their pocket. Available for preorder in the U.S. starting today, Surface Duo brings together the power of Microsoft 365 experiences and the full ecosystem of Android mobile apps into one device, with two screens that you can take anywhere.”

Pre-orders in the U.S. are now open, with official pricing as follows:

Microsoft Surface Duo – 6GB RAM, 128GB storage – USD1,399.99 (~RM5,865)
Microsoft Surface Duo – 6GB RAM, 256GB storage – USD1499.99 (~RM6,284)

At the moment, we don’t have any official word on availability in other markets, including Malaysia. Regardless, the Surface Duo will certainly be one to keep an eye out for—for now, it’s difficult to make a comprehensive judgement on a device this unique without actually testing it out in actual use. In the meantime, keep bookmarked on your browser for any future developments.

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For the full spec sheet, click here.


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