The Microsoft Surface Duo is arguably one of the more exciting hardware products that Microsoft is launching this year, if only because it's Microsoft's first phone device since it killed off Lumia in 2016. It's also one of the first dual-screen smartphones and is Microsoft's first Surface to run the Android OS. It's a whole lot of firsts, but that doesn't mean it can't impress right out of the gate. So, here's five things we're hoping to see in the Surface Duo when it launches later this year.
Wireless charging is a big deal for me. I know not everybody is sold on the idea, but I'm one of those people who have kitted out their living space with wireless chargers so that I can put my phone down in places and have it top up on juice. It's the convenience of it that I enjoy, and don't particularly mind that it doesn't charge as fast as plugging it in via a cable.
While it wouldn't be the end of the world of Surface Duo doesn't have it, I consider wireless charging to be a given when you pay more than $800 for a phone, which the Surface Duo almost certainly will easily exceed. The Duo is glass on the front and back, so it can be done with its current design. Microsoft hasn't confirmed if the Surface Duo has wireless charging, unfortunately, and I'll be disappointed if it isn't there.
5G is even less important than wireless charging, but it is the future. While you may not consider it a big deal right now, in a year, or two years, it will be. Samsung, OnePlus, LG, Huawei, and others have already released 5G phones, and heavyweights Apple and Google are expecte to release their first 5G devices in 2020. If Microsoft opts to skip out on 5G, it'll be the only high-profile phone maker to do so.
I recently switched to a 5G data plan with my carrier and upgraded to a 5G phone. So I hope the Surface Duo has 5G support so that I can continue using the 5G speeds I get through my cellular plan. That said, true 5G coverage where I live in the UK (and everywhere) is still incredibly sparse, and I've barely seen my 5G phone connect to a 5G cell site. This will change in the coming year or two, so it's down to whether or not Microsoft wants to future-proof the Surface Duo. I hope they do.
A good camera
A good camera is essential for any device that can fit in your pocket because it's often the only camera you have on you. Microsoft has remained tight-lipped around its plans for the camera on the Surface Duo, but many are rightly concerned as so far, we've only seen a tiny front-facing sensor on the device. There doesn't appear to be any rear dedicated camera module.
Of course, Microsoft could add one to the final product, but Microsoft hasn't revealed if that is the plan. The size of the single front-facing sensor doesn't mean it's going to be terrible, though. The original Google Pixel has a relatively small primary sensor, yet produced great photos thanks to post-processing. If Microsoft can nail post-processing with the Surface Duo, we should end up with a device that can take good photos. I'm not expecting it to be the best on the market, however.
A single sensor isn't going to be able to beat out competing devices that have two, three, even four sensors of varying types. I think it's fair to say that if you're a smartphone photography enthusiast, the Surface Duo isn't going to be for you unless Microsoft surprises us with a dedicated set of cameras on the rear before launch.
I'm obsessed with haptics on smartphones, and on devices that cost more than $1000 I expect nothing less than excellent haptics. Anything similar to the Google Pixel, OnePlus 7 Pro, or iPhone will be good. I don't want the Surface Duo to rattle when it vibrates; I want it to feel controlled and dedicated, like on the iPhone.
More and more people are starting to become familiar with better haptics, and it would be a real shame if Microsoft opts for a standard haptic driver in the Surface Duo. There are better ways to do haptics on devices in 2020, and I hope Microsoft opts for one of the more premium methods. It just feels better and helps out when it comes to the overall user experience of a premium device.
Last but certainly not least, I'd love to see options for more than just white and black. A beautiful call back to the old Lumia days would be if the Surface Duo is available in vibrant colors like cyan or orange. At the very least, make the Surface Duo available in all the same colors that the Surface Pro Type Cover is available in.
Being able to stand out from the crowd with a colorful phone that also happens to have two screens and folds would be pretty cool. Don't get me wrong, the white version that Microsoft has also unveiled looks fantastic, but having the option for a red or blue one also wouldn't hurt.
What are you hoping to see?
That's our list of things we're hoping to see with the Surface Duo, but we know you've got opinions too. Let us know in the comments what you are also hoping to see in the Surface Duo.