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Leaked video shows off a peek view on the Surface Duo

Surface Duo
Surface Duo (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A leaked video shows off a peek view on the Surface Duo.
  • The feature appears to let you view and interact with a sliver of the phone with the device partially flipped open.
  • The view shows the date and notifications in the video.

A new feature for the Surface Duo appears in a leaked video. Twitter user and well-known leaker WalkingCat, shared a video of the Surface Duo with simply the word "Peek" attached. The video shows off a way you can interact with a sliver of the Duo's screen without having to open the device all the way.

In the video, it shows how you can interact with a small portion of the Surface Duo's display. After the device is partially opened, the display shows the date, some other information, and the device's notifications. You can interact with the notifications, including scrolling through them and swiping them away.

Since this is a leaked video, the feature might not be available on the Surface Duo when it releases. If the feature is available, it would seem like a good way to interact with your phone with a bit of privacy. You could crack it open, swipe through some notifications, and close it back up. It also seems a bit quicker than opening the device all the way.

A second video from WalkingCat (shown above) shows the same feature previewing a person's call details. When you open the Duo a crack, you see who is calling; then, you can open it all the way to accept or reject the call.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

66 Comments
  • Don't think it will be that useful since you're still opening the device.
  • What if you just don't want to answer the call to that person, you just close it back.
  • Obviously, but the point is it's not a viable "glance" feature which most people find useful, if not indispensable, with their phones.
  • Who wants to have to fold open a device to see who's calling? 🤔
  • Version 2 simply has to have a screen on the outside.
  • It is Android so you can use whatever watch you want.
  • You were just born yesterday? 🙄
  • You know you could just leave the device folded the other way?
  • That's a horrible workaround. And, we don't want workarounds. Having to have workarounds means the device is lacking. Never suggest a workaround for a device that is not yet in consumers hands.. Suggest the device be designed to its fullest so that workarounds aren't necessary. That's working backwards.
  • Workaround? That is why it has a 360° hinge, so you can use it like a traditional phone. That isn't a workaround!
  • It should be in this version even if it is the first android phone for Microsoft.
  • Better than nothing I guess. Still it is but better than most people with wallet case that has no such thing at all and require you to full open the device. Except for Smart cases that has a transparent window for glancable notifications. Having a smartwatch or smartband with Surface Duo is pretty much a complementary pair in this case.
  • Yes, I'm pretty sure it will be a useful feature for some, but I was thinking, maybe one half of the device could have been thinner, so that a slight portion of the other is always visible. Makes more sense, since most of the applications that could use two screens or parts of the screen real-estate are divided up into separate size canvases such as a control panel and a production area, or a list and a reading pane.
  • I can see how this might be useful for a device like this. What people need to keep in mind is, one-handed opening an closing the Duo isn't the goal. I can see taking a peak at the call or text coming in and deciding if you need to reply or take the call. Considering the form factor and the fact that MS does not seem interested in adding a screen to the outside of the device. Which wouldn't necessarily make a lot of sense, because you would still need to open the device anyway. So, this is the best way to implement this.
  • This will be ok but only if I have a mic and a speaker on the outside so i don`t have to open the phone. Just respond and close then speak
  • Mic, and speakers, are probably on the edge? IDK. Hopefully they are.
  • Looking at the image in the article, it looks as though the mic is at the very bottom edge of the device. It's hard to tell in that image and I haven't looked at any others specifically for this but it appears that speakers may be in the top corners.
  • For a phone this would not be a surprising design.
  • Looks cool, but I think I'd really miss an AOD and or a notification LED or some kind of "outside" screen. One of the main points of mobile computing is to be always up to date if you want to be. Also, it seems like you have to open the device - with two hands! - to receive a call.
  • Ummmmm, that's why it needs a screen on the outside of the device. 🙄
  • I'm guessing most people will just have it folded the other way most of the time, at least if they plan on using it as a regular smartphone...
  • What may make this device viable is how thin it is. Adding a secondary screen will greatly impact the thickness, especially since both halves need to be the same. When you need quick access, you just fold it so both screens are out. That is the beauty of the 360° hinge.
  • Yeah true, that is a great thing about a 360 hinge. Or you could have it propped up like people are doing with the Galaxy Flip or whatever it's called. The compromises, such that they are, might be worth it.
  • Or think of using a wearable along with it, to check who is calling, or even a headset to even handle the call itself. This is not to replace your mobile you take out to partying. Although I don't see myself ever getting this device, I see it perfectly useable, since with Your Phone I can easily handle phone calls that would happen during the 7 hours I am in the office, I have my phone linked to my car during commuting, so wouldn't really care there either and I guess I could easily make a setup at home to handle calls likewise. It's a matter of habit. One-handed use is a special case for mobile computing. I honestly already think about picking up a mobile telephony only device of some kind that has multi-day battery life, and simply have a mobile computing device with telephony as a secondary feature. The idea comes from also the experience that mobile calls now keep interfering and cutting short functionality of the device that they are designed for. When people are listening to music, watching clips, photos or simply projecting screen to TV, I'd rather handle my incoming calls on a separate device then everything halted suddenly. I believe that practices and use-cases will change significantly on mobile devices in the near future.
  • Why not use a waterfall approach on the inside bezels of the Duo so the glass "lines up" when open, with the only the line between the two screens is where they meet? You then eliminate the need for this "peek mode" as the the waterfall can deliver all notifications without opening the device, and a much more enjoyable full screen experience. Problem solved. You’re welcome Microsoft.
  • I am still wondering how am i going to take a quick picture on this phone... Do i always have to open it and miss the moment? Or will the duo have an outer camera?
  • Yep. Good question.. I might be waiting on a version 2 to see if some of the quirks are ironed out. That is if version 1 doesn't have solutions for these questions. 🤷🏽‍♂️
  • You will have to open it. No way around it
  • Of course you'll have to open it. What use would an outer camera be if there's no outer screen to use as a viewfinder? As some have pointed out, many people already use wallet cases that must be opened in order to use a conventional smartphone, so the idea of opening the Duo is not nearly as onerous as some make out. Different people have different preferences, of course, so this will not be the device for you if you think that opening it will be too inconvenient.
  • "Many people" is a bit of an exaggeration; some people do, while the rest wouldn't dream of it...
  • Stop thinking of this as a phone people! It will have that feature, but that isn't the primary task. Also don't lots of people want less intrusion from their devices? This actually may help as opposed to a screen on the outside. Regardless, it should occur to us that this device will not be used like a traditional smartphone
  • Ummmmm, that's BS. If it's a device used for business then the phone aspect is of high importance. Try texting a CEO, or messaging uper management, or clients, about important topics. You must talk to clients on the phone, and some people are doing business on the phone all day.
  • It's running Android; it's a phone. Had it run Windows it would have been a true productivity device, and I would have bought it in a heartbeat.
  • What productivity would a Windows phone bring that Android doesn't have in 2020?!
  • It wouldn't, necessarily. It's just more preference now days. The argument of Microsoft app access isn't a thing anymore. Especially, with Microsoft constantly developing for iOS and Android to make it a more seemless experience between services on PC and phones.
  • Those are mobile Office apps, and lacking in functionality. They're no more than a last resort to me.
    I don't know of anyone working professionaly with an Android device, except as a smartphone...
  • I'm sure not many people start and finish docs on mobiles apps, but it's not impossible to do. No, they don't have the complete functionality of the PC app, but that's not the point of them. The idea is to be able to start, tweak or review docs on the go and finish them on PC, if necessary.
  • Sure, but that's not really productivity, and not what I'm talking about.
  • Windows phone only had mobile office as well. You aren't going to have full office on a phone!
  • I don't want a phone; that'll never be a proper productivity tool. I want a pc that I can put in my pocket, preferably with phone capabilities.
  • I for one prefer a pc over a smartphone when I'm working on spreadsheets etc. So being able to seamlessly move from one external monitor to field work to another external monitor equals productivity for me.
  • I get that it's not a phone but for it to be a liable product it has to reach the hands of many. As of right now it's mainly being shown as a solution for all your portable needs. I want something that does both my phone/computer needs with a great camera experience. Everything nowadays revolve around the camera and that's where i feel it's lacking.
  • We don't know what kind of camera it will have. Too soon to cast judgment on something we don't know. Besides, with phones like the iPhone 11 and now the S20, the Duo isn't meant to compete in this area. It will have a pretty good camera, I believe. It just may not be quite as good as photo fucused phones.
  • How does WalkingCat get all these great leaks?
  • I'd prefer the edges of the screen were curved all the way around, and have a half-to an inch of screen real-estate to show notifications, messages, etc.
  • THIS!! or even if it wasn't curved, a band of screen 1.5 inches wide, either horizontal or vertical from edge to edge. Enough to see time, calls and notification icons
  • I can't wait to get my hands on this.
  • Reminds me of Samsungs Edge bar.
  • I wish people will realize the primary function of smartphones arent to be used as phones. Microsoft just has the "courage" (I couldn't resist lol) to "highlight" this fact with this device. For anyone who will be buying this device, it'll be fine and understood. When you open this device, it'll be for a purpose. Also think of the your phone app on pc... The person who is using that, is the audience ms I'd designing this device for... Not for the person who just wants a cutting edge dual screen or folding phone device for the sake of "first! "
  • I know this phone is a new thing but open the phone to answer a call is very awkward. Of course, we will need to wide open the phone in order to put in our ears, with our ears in one screen and the our fingers in the another scrren. And to take a photo: I will feel like those guys who use a tablet to take a photo. Would be more elegant using the Microsoft logo to show the number and/or notifications. Well, let's wait to see the final product.
  • Is no one going to mention the fact that many smartphones come with cases that cover the front screen and essentially make you have to open the phone to answer a call or send a text? And also that many phones before the iPhone required one to open the phone? They were called flip phones, and some were very good. i.e.Motorola Razr. At least I won't be crying about having to open the phone to use it.
  • Yeah, many users have this wallet case (nto smart case) that literally requires you to open everytime you want to interact with it. So for Surface Duo, it's pretty much like having wallet case. Though I can see that it is rather inconvenience to other people who dislike wallet case even me. But this is why I already got a smartwatch and reduce the amount of time I have to check my phone for notifications.
  • Yep. Get a smartwatch. I'd wager any of them will notify you of texts and calls. My Garmin does that and allows me to decide if I will fish the phone out of my pocket or not. This peek feature would be a nice feature if I was already holding the phone or it was in front of me on the desk. The DUO does not need to have a screen on the outside. It is perfectly fine for OEMs to develop phones that are not exactly like every other phone, just as it is OK for them to develop PCs that are not clones of one another.
  • Yep love my Garmin and Pixel 4 XL set up and I'll no doubt love it even more with the Duo! 😁
  • Not me. Sony x1 with active case. I even write messages with the case closed.
  • I remember this with Xperia XZ. Nice phone and still is. Their included case allows to basically operate the phone even with case closed.
  • Do you mean only the users who use such cover case can use Surface Duo?
  • The first thing I thought about was the date, 6-18, which is June 18. That would be sweet if they release it then. I want one.
  • Just get a smartwatch, or a fitness watch and be done, i use a Garmin Fenix with my current smartphone and it's a great experience, I'll no doubt be doing the same thing once I get my hands on the Duo.
  • Yes. I think Microsoft should sell a smartwatch as companion.
    It would be a watch with an actual good reason for existing, it would probably look awesome (judging by the Duos Design) and they could even make it work with some windows features like... idk, maybe controlling presentations (Surface Earbuds anyone?).
  • My last smartwatch was the Microsoft Band, and latterly a Band 2. The original Band was pretty awful, but the Band 2 had some real potential. And then Microsoft did what they do so well...they just stopped. Wrapped everything up, ceased support and buried the wearable project. It was a burn on par with Windows phone. Fast forward 5 years and 2020 is the year that I'm cautiously heading back to wearables, with the Skagen Falster 3. I'm hoping the Duo will play nicely with it. It should. But yeah, a smartwatch is pretty much a basic requirement when it comes to the Duo, until the Duo2 arrives with an external screen of some sort.
  • I'm still wearing my original Band. Still holds a charge for a day, even after they sent me a refund. Its lasted longer than my Fitbit. Hard to let go.
  • Not really a big deal
  • For me, the Peek feature is not a substitute for an outside screen. This feature just killed my hope that Microsoft will surprise us with an outside screen on the Duo. This generation of the Duo is not for me. At least I am down to one big device purchase for this year, the Neo only if it comes with LTE.
  • No question, a device like this needs an external screen of some sort. Whatever happened to that patent Microsoft was working on last year, where the hinge had a screen running down the length of it? Sure, it wasn't the most mainstream of solutions, but at least it was something
  • Much needed & well thought feature.
    But still no match for small external screen. This & camera are two big hurdles I believe surface duo will struggle to pass because it looks like Microsoft failed to deliver split camera & if that's the case then expect a camera sensor that is no match for almost every high end phone because device is only 4.8 mm thin without any camera hump design so camera sensor size will be small.