Microsoft isn’t abandoning dual-screen Android, with the Surface Duo 2 taking a second shot at the clamshell tablet. Now packing a 5G connection and a more potent Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, the Surface Duo 2 promises a more usable, flexible upgrade to the first Surface Duo.
It’s fair to mention that the device was an assortment. First impressions were positively glowing, with the thought of the Android OS and Microsoft’s Office suite on a slimline, folding phone. While the Surface Duo might not have had the flexible OLED we now see on, say, a Galaxy Z Fold 3, Microsoft’s customizations did a minimum of make Google’s platform reasonably functional on its twin screens.
In practice, though, the truth wasn’t quite so glowing. Mixed software support did the Surface Duo no favors, as did premium pricing at launch and uncertainty on whether the device was meant to be a little tablet, an outsized phone, or some hybrid of the 2.
It’s an issue Microsoft isn’t quite answering with the Surface Duo 2, though the overall prospects seem better from the get-go. For a start, it’s more powerful: the Snapdragon 888 5G chipset makes this the thinnest 5G mobile device available, Microsoft points out, albeit there’s both mmWave and Sub-6 GHz connectivity. Inside there’s a pair of 5.8-inch PixelSense Fusion displays, which combine for an 8.3-inch panel in total.
That’s a complete 2688 x 1892 resolution, with the AMOLED panels supporting HDR and, therefore, the DCI-P3 color space. They need 90Hz adaptive refresh rates and 800 nits of maximum brightness; Microsoft protects them with Gorilla Glass Victus.
The Revolutionary Hinge joins them, with a look Bar in-between that lights up to point out the volume, charging, and other select icons and notifications. that creates the Surface Duo 2 a touch more user-friendly even when it’s closed. Shut, it’s 11mm thick at the hinge and 284 grams; open, it’s a mere 5.5mm thick.
On the rear, there are three cameras during a protruding bulge. the first wide camera features a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 lens, dual pixel PDAF, and OIS. The 2x optical telephoto also features a 12-megapixel sensor with f/2.4 aperture, PDAF, and OIS. Finally, the 16-megapixel ultra-wide features a 110-degree field of view with distortion correction.
A 12-megapixel front camera takes care of selfies. For video, there’s support for up to 4K 30/60 fps capture with HDR. The Surface Duo 2 also will do slow-motion video at 120 or 240 fps.
As for power, there’s a 4,449 mAh dual battery, which supports 23W USB-C fast charging. Microsoft says to expect “all day battery life” or up to fifteen .5 hours of local video playback. If you’re using the Surface Duo 2 for calls, you’ll expect up to twenty-eight hours of talk time.
Along with the 5G, there’s support for gigabit LTE, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC; a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port is on rock bottom, supporting DisplayPort 4K with an HDMI adapter. Additionally to a nano-SIM, there’s single eSIM support. Storage is either 128, 256, or 512 GB, and there’s 8GB of memory. Microsoft even finds space for stereo speakers and dual microphones, plus a fingerprint sensor.
Android 11 is Microsoft’s OS of choice, and there’s support for various generations of the stylus: the Surface Slim Pen, Surface Pen, and Surface Hub 2 Pen. It also supports the Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover. Two apps can run side by side; you’ll drag and drop between select apps and organize clusters of software into App groups.
If there’s a downside, it’s that we’re back to premium pricing. The Surface Duo 2 will go up for preorder today, priced from $1,499, during a choice of Glacier white or Obsidian black.