Duo-take: Here's what the media is saying about Surface Duo

Surface Duo Press Upright
Surface Duo Press Upright (Image credit: Microsoft)

When Microsoft announced the price and release date ($1,400 and September 10) of the new Surface Duo earlier this week, reactions among Microsoft fans generally ranged from disappointed to incredibly excited. On one hand, Microsoft is bringing its familiar Surface design prowess to a new type of mobile productivity device. On the other, Surface Duo is a first-generation gadget that's lacking in some key areas.

Among a lot of the media, there's been a decidedly optimistic tone when it comes to Surface Duo, despite its shortfalls. While Microsoft's new flagship might not stand up to something like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 in terms of raw specs, it's a decidedly focused product intended to deliver a very particular experience. And, for the most part, it's receiving kudos from the tech sphere for trying something new.

If you haven't had a chance to skim through the tens of thousands of words that have been written on it this week, here's a look at just some of the reactions from the media in the wake of the Surface Duo's launch.

Sam Rutherford, writing for Gizmodo:

Still, the Surface Duo has something a lot of other gadgets lack: vision. It feels like a phone that was designed with a mission instead of simply being a tech demo, and with Microsoft seemingly having gone all-in, it's a vision that could turn into a very enticing reality.

JR Raphael, writing for Computerworld:

But to focus entirely on those drawbacks right now is a mistake. The Surface Duo seems best viewed as a first step — an ambitious move toward creating a new kind of product category and a bold attempt at fleshing out the ever-expanding and increasingly platform-agnostic Microsoft ecosystem. It doesn't seem like a stretch to compare this beginning to the start of the primary Surface line, where the earliest model was reviewed as being intriguingly different and incredibly promising but not fleshed out enough to be worth buying.

Cherlynn Low, Engadget:

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Tom Warren, writing for The Verge:

The real question will be how well Surface Duo, and devices like it, improve productivity on the go, and whether two mobile screens is truly needed. These devices will ultimately require some hardware advances to really pull off the vision. But if consumers agree with Microsoft, Samsung, and others that two screens are better than one then we're witnessing the future being built. If not, we're witnessing unique attempts to try and reshape mobile devices. At the very least, mobile phones are suddenly getting exciting again. As Panay would say, we're pumped to see where this all goes.

Harry McCracken, writing for Fast Company

I did get enough of a sense of the Surface Duo to come up with an initial impression that's pretty much a dumbed-down version of Panay and Nadella's lofty explanations of the device. With its two oversized screens and the multiple ways you can hold it for different sorts of work, it should be the best pocket-sized device ever designed for using Microsoft's Office apps, assuming bugs don't get in the way. That alone gives it a more coherent mission than many newfangled phones, which—even when they're cool—sometimes struggle to be something more than a brag-worthy novelty.

David Ruddock, Android Police:

https://twitter.com/RDRv3/status/1293623254934929408?s=20

Raymond Wong, writing for Input:

Clearly, if you're looking for a killer camera, the Duo is not going to be it (the lack of a camera bump is a telling giveaway). But if you're thinking about the Duo in the context of the strange COVID-19 world we live in, the transforming form factor — being able to have a phone that opens up into a tablet, that can run two apps at once, and connect seamlessly with Windows PCs — makes a lot of sense. More people are working from home, moving from room to room, from desk to sofa to bed, quickly shuffling inside and out. A transforming device that accommodates these behaviors is more sensible than before.

Mary Jo Foley, writing for ZDNet:

Microsoft is counting on users seeing the Duo as filling an untapped niche. But for people used to thinking about carrying no more than two devices -- usually a PC/tablet or phone -- where does the Duo fit? In its first iteration, with a seemingly mediocre 11 MP camera, an older Snapdragon 855 processor and a relatively heavy form factor (about half a pound), the Duo is not going to replace my Pixel 3XL Android phone. And with a total screen size when open of 8.1 inches, the Duo is just too small to replace my PC.

Emil Protalinski, writing for VentureBeat:

Microsoft isn't doing itself any favors by kneecapping Duo at the starting block, which I fear may hurt its successors, too. The good news is that the company didn't turn its Surface line into a billion-dollar business by throwing in the towel after a single generation. I await the inevitably poorly named Surface Duo 2.

Ian Sherr, writing for CNET:

For Microsoft, the Surface Duo is about trying to strike out with something genuinely new in an age where most phones look the same, and the ones that don't haven't taken off.For whatever criticisms you level at Microsoft, the Surface Duo is a type of device none of its peers are offering. Whether that's good or bad will be up to you.

Michael Fisher (aka MrMobile):

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Lisa Gade, MobileTechReview:

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The Surface Duo certainly has many avenues for improvement in further iterations, but it will be interesting to see whether Microsoft's first-generation device can live up to its lofty goals. For now, if you're intrigued and want to get your hands on a Surface Duo, it's available to preorder starting at $1,400 at Microsoft, Best Buy, and AT&T.

Microsoft Surface Duo

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

133 Comments
  • Lots of opinions on a device none of them used yet :)
  • True. I'm very curious to see what thoughts will be once they get them in their hands. Will the performance and use cases overcome their doubts and perceived shortcomings, or will it further strengthen them? Waiting for the reviews is going to be torture. I don't know how early reviewers typically get items for review, but I hope they can at least give general impressions once they get them because there probably will be a review embargo up until a day or two before release.
  • True, but the point here, as you already know, is the optimistic initial thoughts of such a device. People have been waiting to see a different direction for smart phones. Phones have essentially become boring, along with ever increasing price, has kept many people from being super excited for the next device. New form factors from folding and dual screens are exciting, because of the possibilities that have not been fully realized.
  • I haven't driven the Jaguar F-Pace. But I know I want one. And would love to drive it every day. And that it's one of the best looking vehicles I've ever seen. And yes, that's my opinion and I've never even driven it. :) Here's hoping the DUO is very successful. Because I love the concept. And yes, it looks cool as heck! Even if I don't like it being powered by Android.
  • Exciting times! I wasn't convinced until I saw Panos' presentation - but boy did he convince me...
  • yeah right. Best part of the presentation was Surface Studio running Your phone.
  • Yes, the surface studio running your phone was a great part since your phone was being powered by Duo
  • This phone already does that.
  • So what exactly did you want to see from the presentation?.. A slab phone with the latest specs but with Surface branding?.. We'll Samsung has phones that do all that right now as well.. So what exactly did you want to see that can't already be done better on on the new flagships from Samsung?..
    Because if all you want is better specs and a great camera, Samsung has you covered.. Microsoft knows that as well which is why they are partnering so closely with Samsung with their apps and services..
    But if you actually want something different; something actually designed to excel at productivity above all else, then that presentation for the Surface Duo did exactly that..
  • If you want something different with groundbreaking hardware, Samsung is also your best bet. Microsoft just released something that Kyocera proved wasn't too useful several years ago.
  • The phone you are speaking of is chunky, ugly and to many moving parts that just begs to be broken. Now, you very well could be right, but I think timing, design and implementation is on the Surface Duo's side. Not to mention branding. I had never heard of the phone, let alone that particular phone, until I read your post. From looking at the video of the Kyocera Echo, I couldn't imagine many people wanting it.
  • Yea, that's cool and all but you still bigged up an experience powered by the Duo.
  • Cost and specs are such a dichotomy. Lots of articles just gloss over the fact that this thing is pen enabled. Same screens as on Surfaces. Same pens in fact. Now if that doesn't mean anything to you, so be it. It is more expensive though, and there are two of them. Keep in mind the expected $1800 Galaxy Z Fold 2 is not a Galaxy Z Fold Note 2. So, if you added Qi, NFC, super camera, et.al. you would probably end up with a $2000 experiment when $1400 is already dropping chins. You put the stuff in needed to prove the concept, and add the glitter later. Can I do a TEAMS meeting and take notes or view the PPT at the same time? Can I draft an e-mail while researching data on the web without having to be an app switching ninja? If that stuff works out, then MS will figure out how to cram Qi, NFC, 5G, multiple cameras into two potato chips hinged together.
  • Nonsense. NFC, Qi, and microSD support are generally not pricey feature. You can find those on budget devices all the time. 5G is pricey, but it's arguably the least of the compromises. The camera thing is borderline forgivable, given the form factor. The IP rating can make testing more pricey and complex, so I get that. That said, the NFC and Qi things are specs that are definitely doable without a meaningful impact on build cost--unless chassis materials are the problem. Besides, the camera hardware is below what even a lot of budget devices provide. People aren't asking for the multi-camera setups of other flagship. Reasonably, IMO, people just want the one camera they're getting to be good enough to where they don't feel compelled to bring their current phones around to take halfway passable photos.
  • 😂 Not pricey. They are not "as spare parts" so MS should just sell you the spare part imported from China for just $20 extra. Not factoring the actual engineering effort, design, man hours, not mention the overall thickness of the device, etc is dumb at best. Yes you can make the argument that they should have made it 1.5mm thicker(3mm when folded) to add all that. Yeah maybe but again it would still increase the price none the less. Remember it is not a iPhone where the estimated sales are already in tens of millions of units. There is not enough mass production for device like this. Samsung themselves are eating up the cost with galaxy fold and fold 2. Why MS isn't eating up the cost? Because samsung makes Ram chips, Storage Chips, Amoled, Various other things so write off isn't as much as what it would be for MS. I can assure you samsung despite selling the device at $1800 both Sammy and MS are earning same profits per unit of the device. It won't be $1400 phone anymore it would be $1600-$1800 phone if they added those features because of the engineering cost associated with it. Some people still maybe like galaxy fold is good. Yeah maybe for you but the software that samsung have (OneUI) is not at all good for dual screen multitasking, it is ****. Mind you it is really good on single screen. But they have like the worst animations, app snapping experience in all of software history. Best contrast would be iPadOS multitasking vs Tab S6. Yes you can do all the same things on both but the experience is what matters. The fluidity of the snapping and animations is what matters the most. This is exactly the reason why apple products sell they do give attention to those details. They make you feel as if your product is so fluid it is out of this world. That's the same fluidity that MS had with windows 8 tablet mode it was so fluid the first time I used it my first reaction was wow that's very apple like. Same was true with windows phone 7,8,8.1 the fluidity of the UI just makes your phone experience fly even if the underlying performance is little weaker in comparison to some unpolished software. Best example would be higher refresh screens. MS shot themselves in the foot in both phones and with surface tablet market by stripping the tablet mode of windows 8 and nto bringing it back once the surface devices were getting sold in good numbers. Many people don't realize that it was windows 8 that brought edge gesture based all snapping switching etc later apple copied it and the same year windows 10 was launched. I am still confused what the hell happened to the windows team at MS. How and why the hell they won't bring back the tablet UI of windows 8 exclusively for surface devices. Windows 8 failed because it released at a time when touchscreens windows devices were so rare and expensive nobody had those.
  • Some good points, but I think you forget that MS does not have to make profit on it. They could also see it as a device to draw / hold people into their ecosystem. The Duo comes with MS apps / launcher preinstalled (so probably too offers download links to Office etc like MS launcher already has).
    As for w8, I think it was probably complicated to merge w8 tablet mode and w10 desktop mode. But I do agree that MS should have improved tablet mode sooner, instead of just recently where they are starting improving the OSK etc.
  • The line between profit/loss is razor thin. Yea, they don't need to make a profit on it. But a loss doesn't bode well for approving a gen 2 version.
  • Most companies are barely, if any, profit
  • I agree it might be complicated but I still think they could have done that at least for surface devices. Why surface devices don't sell that much? Because they don't provide any kind of surface only software experience in them. This W8 style touch mode made immediately very much liked tablet in the media and reviewers hand. MS seriously need to sort out the animations/transitions in their OS if they want to appeal to the next gen in sea of iPad Pro like devices which are getting better and better. Train has already left the station but i think they still can catch it. Because once apple ipadOs becomes the defacto 1st choice for next gen arm choice MS windows 10 will get the same treatment as MacOS get now. There will always be that gap no matter what MS does. That's why they used android on duo. Because they don't have to worry about that kind of thing. Some people don't realise that you Can have same level of cohesive Ness between 2 completely different OSes if you want it. iOS on iPhone and MacOS are completely different things still they have that cross compatibility. MS seriously need to make android the defacto standard for windows PC owners. They can provide the same cross compatibility in their own surface duo like devices and one parternerd OEM. For the first time in long time Your Phone app is doing what MS should have done 5 years ago. Ever since I started using your phone app I have completely dropped the idea of ever owning and iPhone in the future or even iPad due to the features it provides with my windows PC. What I definitely knew that I'm not switching to mac ever. But somewhere in my mind I had this notion I might get an iPhone if my income allows in future. But that notion is faded the same way as idea of switching to android to a Mac and existing iPhone user. A mac user and iPhone user who have those two will never ever come back to either windows or android. That's why the influence of apple is so high ko matter what they do. Even if they do sometimes mess up it doesn't matter. Their influence is already evident from their ipadOs is getting better software support than arm on windows. There is bias of Devs too I accept that. That bias will always be there because the manager that approves projects of developing apps in a company uses apple products exclusively, the dev that will develop app uses apple products, so on and so on. Basically apple controls the top 5% brass in any company across the planet. The top 5% that controls the every decision use apple products so they will approve things like development of app from scratch for new OS or platform under apple umbrella. MS need that leverage the only they can do it if MS leverage the power of android and their own windows and make them defacto standard across the world so that anyone using windows by default thinks to get an android and vice versa.
  • Personally I ended up splurging for the damage coverage, remembering a certain other dual-screened device and it's tendency to snap its hinge in early iterations. So for me, after tax and everything, this device was $1700 as it was, and I am paying upfront. I mean, I get people thinking this is a downgrade, but I only do nfc-pay on my watch and my wireless charger has been gathering dust as I have gotten in the habit of reading myself to sleep. I don't expect tech-demo specs out of the thing either. Most of the time you run into an android user with a slow phone, it's because the device is 10 years old or something has gone wrong. The kind of thing you hard reset for.
  • You forget that this device was originally built to run some new version of Windows that probably wasn't compatible with Qi, NFC, or SD cards. You know how slow Microsoft develops operating systems!
  • Wrong! This isn't Andromeda. Try again, AGAIN!
    WHERE'S OLD BLEACHED?!?
  • Actually, it IS Andromeda with a new OS and some updated specs.
  • Actually it's not. You're ignorant if you think otherwise because I KNOW it's not.
    This has nothing to do with what you think or feel. This is about facts sir. And factually, you're incorrect.
  • I am quite sure they said they decided to switch to Android on Andromeda, and they made the decision not too long before the announcement last year. They have been working on this device since 2016. You think they were planning on Android in 2016? "Panay says Microsoft has been working on the Surface Duo hardware for three years," https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/3/20895268/microsoft-surface-duo-foldab...
  • Are you ok, too much coffee today?
  • I believe the spec war was over years ago. While they focus on those things I am focusing on the overall fluidity of the system. The optimization that it looks like Microsoft went through to give us a speedy, fluid UI looks to be incredibly promising. Watching Panos video showed how it worked just like it should without issues. I believe they are nailing the "it just works" everyone tells me about their iPhone. There are also little details in the OS where they shoot the taskbar apps over to one screen or the other depending on which screen opens an app, etc. is awesome.
  • Given Microsoft's recent device history and the preview posted about a week with the Duo, I certainly wouldn't buy any assumption of "it just works" from Microsoft.
  • The spec wars have been over for years. Android users are the only ones who don't get that. As proof, the new midrange 765g is literally just a repackaged 845 from 3/4 generations ago. And give those devices to someone in a blind test, they would not be able to notice the performance difference. Enthusiasts for tech are the only ones that care. It's about the experience and this is what makes Apple Apple. They aren't 1st but tend to be the 1st to do things right because they focus on the overall experience. The only ones focusing on specs should be the engineers building the device. Reviewers really need to come up with a new review strategy but I get hanging on to quantifiable values. I just think they are doing the masses a disservice now.
  • There's nothing "right" with the iPhone nor Macs; worst smartphone and pc experience I've had...
  • Why does every smartphone look the way they do now? It's okay to not be a fan but hating is just crossing the line. Makes you look... Well like you.
  • I wouldn't say because of iPhone. Of course most phones have been influenced by the iPhone but rectangular things with screens have been around forever. It most certainly was not a new concept.
  • You're an idiot if you think the most profitable company in the world isn't doing something right especially when most of the revenue is generated by the device in question. Y'all some weirdos lol 😂
  • Apple does a lot right which contributes to their success, but there is also a large cult factor.
  • Does that same analogy hold true for the computer , watch or any technology. History seems to differ.
  • Its easier to make 'reviews' about specs and it is also easier to clickbait or let masses discuss specs (its easier to understand). As much as I dislike those reviews, those are not going anywhere I'm afraid.
  • I agree with you
  • I agree. But to talk about the specs is important when the iPhone has a better processor, then that seems to be a thing worth to mention.
  • Wish I could "like" the post more than once here. For most users an A50 is just as good as a Note 10. They really cannot tell the difference. I don't know if there's really any software out there to put some of these android devices through their paces.
  • I would agree that most people would not be able to tell the difference between a Duo running an SD855 and the same device running a newer chip. You can certainly do benchmarks to see the difference but, in actual usage, it would be rare that anyone would notice.
  • I was in awe when this was first previewed but over time I've come to the conclusion that 'tiny computers' are silly. A smartphone should be simply for texting, making calls, cameras, maps, music, and as remotes for other devices. Anything like browsing the web, productivity, emails, or texts longer than 10 words -- a PC. It's just no contest.
  • Many people who don't own a PC and see no reason to can argue with that.
  • And yet 9/10 of all browsing is done on smartphones...
  • ---"And yet 9/10 of all browsing is done on smartphones..." Only half of web traffic is made up of mobile devices and a large chunk of that traffic are people on budget phones that cannot afford laptops or PCs. Those people aren't going to be spending $1400 on a Duo.
  • I prefer tablet/surface-pro form factor for browsing the web an emails. These foldable devices are slowly removing the need for tablets, especially when one already has 2-1 device for drawing and finishing touches etc.
  • Surface Pro is way too big for browsing or email. I grab my phone everytime, even if I am at my dual screen workstation.
  • You are in front of your dual screen workstation and when having to browse or write an email you take your phone?
  • He only has the dual screen workstation bc he's overcompensating for being 'little man'.
    He has a i9 10xxxk to play minecraft on potato mode
  • 2700X and 1070 for PUBG and Warzone. I prefer the direct touch screen interaction on the phone. Mouse is disconnected and cumbersome for simple browsing. Email, I will use whatever is closest.
  • You think that response is smart? Eye opening? SMH.
  • Definitely good to use your phone in order to keep your web traffic off your work PC. No sensible person sits at a PC and picks up a phone to surf the web via its browser. It's not faster, not more efficient, and less informative.
  • An important element to consider is on the go. A smaller device is just easier to accomplish those tasks with in come instances. People used the same argument as you when pdas became a thing; 'u can just do that when I get back home on my pc'. Technology is for convenience, not necessarily for tasks.
  • Smaller than a PC or tablet, but it's also less portable than a typical slab phone. The Duo is for a certain type of user that is sitting on couch or at a coffee shop, looking at emails, etc. However the Duo is not a device you can use with one hand easily... If you're on the go carrying shopping bags, luggage, or if you're snowboarding on a mountain. The Duo is far less convenient than a conventional slap phone that you can whip out with one hand and slip back in your pocket.
  • What's stopping you from putting it in your pocket folded backwards, and then whipping it out with one hand, if that's so important to you?
  • For one thing it's much wider than a normal smartphone, not to mention thicker when it's folded. I've yet to see anyone use the device with one hand.
  • That's probably because everyone you've seen using it has been trying to show off how it's different to other devices, not how it's the same.
  • I really don't think so... When it comes to the Galaxy Fold that's one of the first things you see. Someone using the outside screen one handed because that's a specific usage scenario. It would be easy to show this in a promo video or demo. Especially when talking about a device that "adapts to you". I've seen video from a tester who has used the Duo for a week and suggested that maybe people will carry another phone along with the Duo.
  • "Someone using the outside screen one handed because that's a specific usage scenario." That just backs up my point. The Galaxy Fold has an external screen and that's a point of difference and so they show it in the promos. Surface Duo has no external screen. The big deal about the Duo is the two screens, so that's how you pretty much always see it being used in promos, either like a book or like a laptop. The only time I've seen the screen folded the whole way back is when someone was using it for a phone call. They don't really need to show people that they can use it like they use their current phone. They need to show them that they can use it ways that they can't use their current phone. That testers opinion is their own but I'd be surprised if people would carry a second phone. I certainly wouldn't. I have an LG V40 now and I don't use that one-handed all that much anyway. I almost always hold it in my left and use my right index finger to tap and swipe. I suspect that most people who felt they needed a phone besides the Duo just wouldn't buy it.
  • Holding a phone to your face for a phone call is entirely different than using the device one handed. I can hold an iPad mini to my face. I could never use any of the apps one handed unless it was on a table or in my lap or something --"They don't really need to show people that they can use it like they use their current phone." Nah, they do... If that were the case they wouldn't have even shown someone taking a call now would they? If they expect people to spend $1400 and replace their current phone with this device, it's a little important for people to see that they can do everything they can do on their existing device on this device. The fact that they are not showing that means they know it's a weakness for the device. These are the tradeoffs... It may be totally fine for some people. Some may not care about using their phones with two hands all the time or photography, not having wireless charging, etc. If MS can decrease the space between the hinges, a nice design might be a 3 panel phone that is as slim as a galaxy fold where one of the screens scan be outside all the time. --"I suspect that most people who felt they needed a phone besides the Duo just wouldn't buy it." I suspect you're right. I didn't. I was all on board the Duo train at first, but I decided to go with an Xperia 1 ii. Because I rarely stay on my phone for long periods I use my Surface Pro more than anything. I care far more about camera performance than anything else. Being able to whip out my phone and check a notification or take a picture on the go is far more important to me than sitting on apps. Not to mention a camera button, headphone jack and wireless charging since I have wireless chargers in my house and car. I wouldn't want to give that up. I even bring a wireless charger with me on long trips for the convenience. Although it's not like I don't see the benefit of the Duo for a certain kind of user. It'll just be a niche user. Even the Xperia is a niche phone. However amongst foldable phones, I think the Galaxy Fold 2 will have much more appeal than the Duo. It's more expensive, but once you're in that high priced range anyway I think more people will go for the Galaxy Fold simply because it doesn't have nearly as many compromises as the Duo. Android already has multitasking and it seems that MS is bringing a lot of those extra features that the Duo brings into Android anyway.
  • I'd have no more trouble using this device with one hand than current smartphones, actually. It's not often I use current phones one handed anyway. My most comfortable way to type is double thumb pecking my mate 30 pro. I'm currently using both hands now. I never use one hand while carrying shopping bags or snowboarding or ninja hunting in the dead of night or whatever ridiculous scenario you've made up that you can you use one hand and not two for slab phones.
    Plus you can open duo and use in single screen mode.
  • I would bet you almost anything that you cannot use the Duo with one hand as easily as your current smartphone. There's a reason why you don't see this in any of the promotional videos. It's a wide device and also thicker than a smartphone when folded. Most people use smartphones one handed dude. It's not a ridiculous scenario it's what millions of people do every day... I'm sure even you do, you just don't realize it because it's automatic.. I would be pretty annoyed if I had to open a book every time I checked a notification. I would be pretty annoyed if I had to use my other hand every time I needed to check something.
  • It's been shown being used in one hand in MULTIPLE promotional videos literally dating back to the announcement; The latest being in Panos' presentation on Tuesday.
    Just because you haven't seen it, does not mean it's not occurring. That's like a baby not understanding object permanence telling everyone else, an object doesn't exist just because they can't currently see it. How do you bring yourself to reference the fold being able to be used one handed, but say the duo won't be due to it being thicker than smartphones when this is thinner than the fold? It's only a tad wider than oneplus 7 too. I never said I don't use my phone one handed. I use my phone both ways just like the duo will be used both ways. For maximum performance, I use two handed. For most actions, I use two handed. One to hold, one to swipe or double thumb texting. More often than not, I'm using two and not one. One handed mode is relatively new in devices and most people don't know it's in Android. Which means they are using it with two hands or they are struggling with one which will be NO change with the duo. The flip open device is not a new concept... Unless you started using devices after 2007. Then I could see why you would be making that argument and then I would have to give you a history lesson. But then again, we know wallet cases and smartcovers are a thing so that also tells you, generally people won't have an issue with opening their device. Also, swipe or tap to open is a digital flip open. Or should we go into the psychology of rituals being a trigger/catalyst for entering flow states (yes panos/Microsoft did not even 'in the flow') and seeing that this is a productivity/task based focused device, understanding that opening the device is what they designed for and around? When you open it, it's purposeful; you're going to do something. And when you close it, you're done; you're engaging something else in the world.
    Its the same reason the duoOs version of Microsoft launcher is missing screen time compared to the ms launcher you download. It's because they designed the device to be closed and for the mind to go somewhere else. You see that concept and ethos being built into the synergy of the hardware and software of the device. Complaining about opening a device is a ridiculous thing bc people generally don't have a problem. I bet notebooks sell more than notepads.
    Yes, YOU very well may be annoyed by opening a device. This device may just not be for you or a few other people, but the majority of people don't complain about using two hands. That's why phablets and bigger phone screens are the norm now. Remember when Apple used the flex of the thumb to argue and justify 3.5 inch screens (when at the same type had bigger iPhone in development which suggests more of two hand use)? C'mon bro. At some point you have to accept reality. Generally people don't mind.
  • It's shown being held to your face when taking a call... That's not what I'm talking about. You could hold an iPad mini to your face if you wanted to, but that doesn't make it a device for one handed use by any stretch. --"Just because you haven't seen it, does not mean it's not occurring" It's not just "not seeing it", it's also the fact that it's fairly wide when folded and thicker than a normal smart phone. The Galaxy fold is much slimmer when folded. --"That's like a baby not understanding object permanence telling everyone else, an object doesn't exist just because they can't currently see it." No it's like an adult understanding basics of promotion and marketing. That if you had a certain feature you would show it off in your promotion of the device. You wouldn't spend a half hour in a demo avoiding something obvious. --" It's only a tad wider than oneplus 7 too." Sorry, but 3/4 inch wider is not a "tad" 😂 I also saw a video with one of the testers who used the Duo for a week, and they basically suggested that it's a nice device for what it does, but some people might end up carrying a secondary phone. --"majority of people don't complain about using two hands. That's why phablets and bigger phone screens are the norm now. " Because those phones can still be used with one hand. The largest phablets on the market are still not even as wide as the Duo. You're really not getting how wide this device is when folded.... Nor how the thickness when folded combined with that width, makes it pretty much useless to use with one hand. MS decided to make the device wider to assist productivity when using both screens. These are tradeoffs. It's not complaining, it's just reality. People should understand these tradeoffs. There's no reason to pretend that the Duo is perfect in all things when it was never designed to be. It is a niche device for a certain kind of user.
  • Dude, they needed to demonstrate that the Duo is a phone, so they show someone taking a call. They don't then also need to show that it has a dial pad and other phone controls. The Duo in phone mode is wider than most slab phones, but is no more awkward to hold to your face than say the Nokia 1520 or 1020 were . If you had the camera grip attachment on the 1020, that thing was very thick yet I happily carried it for years without an issue even though it did not fit in a shirt pocket or too many pants pockets either. I wanted it for what else it did. Just like why I want the Duo. Telephony stopped being the most important feature of smart phones long ago.
  • Dude I don't think you realize how wide the Duo is... It is wider than a 1520 and far wider than a 1020. You can probably hold it up to your face with no problems, but using your shoulder to hold it to your face is going to be awkward and using any apps one handed is going to be pretty impossible unless your hands are gigantic. Though I'm surprised that someone who went for a 1020 and a camera grip would be okay with having such a mediocre camera. Coming from a 950XL there are two things I can't live without... wireless charging and good camera performance.
  • If that was true, there would still be Windows Phone because apps apparently aren't important.
  • I am so underwhelmed by this device, yet every time I try to type something on my iPhone I cringe at the uselessness of Apple's keyboard learning. My WMP had it down. Perhaps this thing will get me back to it, but on a Google platform? I cringe.
  • Well you can disable lots of Google stuff I think. On my android phone I disabled 'Google', 'assistant', Chrome (I use firefox), Gmail (I use outlook) and replaced the keyboard with Swiftkey. Works fine (half year now). Granted there are still some google trackers (mainly Playstore API related), the store is kind of meh and some design choices are annoying (round icons for one) and less update support but its good besides that.
  • Isn't SwiftKey available on ios? That's what this would be using
  • There's plenty of Google you can disable. The hardest part is Google play services admittedly. But you do not need an account to install apps (use a separate app store such as aptoide) and you can remove most of the "problems". People run these things "google-less" often enough, it just depends on what you are willing to put up with, and what Google-related conveniences you are willing to do without.
  • The device is growing on me, but still no where near to the point that I will go run out and buy it. Maybe version will do the trick.
  • Wait until version 3/4 when they switch to a folding screen and lose the bezels. Killer device when it opens to one giant screen.
  • I'd argue that two smaller screens are more productive than one big one. At least for me personally, I've tried it at my workstation (one big monitor), but ended up going back to multiple smaller, so much easier than having to resize apps all the time to fit one screen. Also I believe the bezels are on purpose to make it easier to hold, I know Panos has said that about surface pro. Imagine trying to hold this thing unfolded by the edges only.
  • How are two smaller screens more "productive" when you can just as easily multi task on a single giant screen? All the Duo is doing is split screen multitasking and locking apps into one side of the screen at a time. Apparently some of these features are going to be baked into Android at some point. At one point Microsoft was working on finger rejection using sensors when holding the edges of a screen without bezels. You could also have a virtual bezel that disappears when you don't need it.
  • Obviously, personal choice plays a role here, but when I look around offices, I see most people using two separate screens rather than one super big one. There are a few obvious reasons. Most office PCs use 23 to 27 inch screens. Some users turn one of these vertically for text, Twitter, email and keep the other screen horizontal for other office uses. You can't do that on a foldable phone screen or the Surface Duo. The other reason there are so many two screen setups in offices is that if I have two 27 inch displays, I'd need one that was 54 inches to have as much real estate on one screen. I don't know how many of those are available. And there is a weird aesthetic thing about the appearance of super wide monitors on office desks. Two monitors is so common it looks normal and no one gives it a second glance anymore. Have one super wide monitor and I'm sure you'll get some side-eye or at least some questions about why you need that.
  • I agree with this sentiment in a desktop setting having 3 - 32" monitors myself. I think this principle of multiple screens works for desktop scenarios. Where the difference lies is overall screen size. I suspect few people would want two 12" computer screens over just one 27" screen. Yet two 27" screens are much cheaper than a widescreen monitor for the same relative real estate and a 55" TV is just the wrong aspect ratio. In all it appears to me that there is a sweet spot for screen size and that determines whether a person would prefer one or two screens. I suspect in pocket-able sized form factors there is a likelihood that people will eventually prefer one larger screen over two smaller screens. All things are not equal at this point between the two screen form factors. Two screen form factors have one big advantage at this point, Ruggedness. At the current time I believe the two screen styles (two screens vs fold-able screens) are more or less equal when pros and cons are weighed. I see where one fold-able screen would be more versatile since you can divide the screens digitally between two apps but if you want one large screen, only the fold-able can do that without the gap. That being said, the letterbox effect is huge on current fold-able screen devices when watching widescreen movies. This results in only a marginally larger image vs a single screen device. (Imagine watching today's widescreen movies on your old, nearly square picture tube TV) But now imagine using something like Word, or even better Excel. I think the extra real estate of one screen in a folding phone would be preferred over a two screen design. Folding phones do have a major flaw in that they are crazy delicate in comparison to two screen devices. Also you can't use a stylus on a fold-able screen. Fix these hurdles and I'm sure someone will and given the small form factor, I suspect that one large folding screen will eventually win out over two small screens in the coming years. When that hardware issue is solved I hope Microsoft is right there in the mix with an iterated version of the Surface Duo. The current Duo gives them a great path. I just hope they don't get lost in the trees.
  • The bezels are on purpose, but not to make it easier to hold. It was the only way to make it that thin, because some of the internals couldn't fit under the screen.
  • You, sir, are telling facts. Thank you
  • Yup. Same with the lack of NFC and whatever else. Too thin.
  • On the subject of big PC monitors, you might look into using FancyZones in the new PowerToys from Microsoft to create specific window layouts. I've got two 2K monitors and have been intending to try it out myself but haven't got around to it. I use the Windows key to dock two windows but there are times when having three side-by-side on one monitor would be useful and FancyZones can do that.
  • 1 big foldable screen is better than
    2 smaller foldable joint screens that end up unfolding to the size of the big screen.
    The big foldable screen has the advantage of being used as a single big screen and also being used as two separate screens, with the right software capability to divide the middle and make it mimic the Duo. That's why I believe foldable screens (if durable) are better than 2 folding screens.
  • Maybe it will be overwhelming better in the future. But right now, thats VERY debatable as far as content bc software can be built around that problem (spanning/'enhanced'). It's not debatable when it comes to durability.
    This conversation should be about current devices now, not years down the line. Just like with material science (durability), we'll see improvements, so will computer science (spanning/'enhanced' /new ui/ux) .
  • I bet the fold 2 will take a drop much better than the Duo. Plastic screens don't break.
  • I expect that most people would agree but the question is whether foldable screen tech is quite there yet. It doesn't really seem to be to me. At the moment, they both have their pros and cons. As time goes on, folding screens will close the gap that dual screens have over them in some areas while maintaining or increasing their own advantages. I could be wrong but I expect that Microsoft is thinking along the same lines, expecting Duo to become a single-folding-screen device at some point in the future but the tech is not quite there for that yet. A particular challenge for the duo would be being able to fold the screen in both directions, where current foldables only go in or out but not both, as far as I'm aware.
  • Having tried neither at this point, I can't say which I would prefer. At first I thought I only wanted one screen, but some of the images of the 2 screens make it look easier to use for most tasks like texting and emails. I can see the distinct benefits of both. Certainly 1 screen is better for media consumption and gaming with Xcloud, but i don't think it would be easy to use for most tasks. Current Duo configuration however also doesn't equal ease of use if you consider you need to open it up for every task. Thinking about it, what we need is 2 screens and when we want it, it turns into 1 screen! That's the future! 😜
  • One advantage of the Duo for xCloud and other gaming is using one screen as a controller and the other as an actual screen.
  • “I await the inevitably poorly named Surface Duo 2.”
    - Emil Protalinski, writing for VentureBeat
  • We'll have to wait a little longer for "the new Surface Neo".
  • They may decide to go with "Surface 2 Duo" just like Intel Core 2 duo.
  • I'd love to know when to expect the reviews to start pouring in. Anyone know?
  • September 10 for initial reviews. This device is going to have more than just initial reviews though. It's going to be answering if this is a new category, is it better for productivity, does dual screens matter, using it as a phone replacement, using it as a supplement
  • @#$%!* AT&T carrier exclusivity. Just like WP all over again.
  • It's not AT&T exclusive, so find something else to be outraged about.
  • ATT may sell at a discount with a contract. But the phone is unlocked and you simply have to place a Verizon/T-mobile sim card in the thing and it will make calls/hook to 4G LTE.
  • Please read more carefully. There is one model for AT&T exclusively, and another that is global unlocked.
  • I was very excited about this device. I have been following the development. I was ready to 100% buy it. Then the price and features came out. This phone at $1,000 is a stretch. I would have probably done it. At $1499 missing NFC and a good camera it is not even remotely a good value. People will pay the big price tag if the value is there. Contactless payments are huge in society right now and will only get bigger. It is even starting to become your car key. This is a fatal choice that I think will really hurt its chances of success. It is beautiful and I can easily afford it but it’s simply not priced correctly. $899 to $1000 and it will move.
  • I don't expect this first generation Surface Duo to sell all that well. I think that it's a fairly niche device anyway and it's "missing" features will hold it back. The most important thing is that people see the vision behind it and are optimistic about future generations rather than writing it off immediately. Based on the quotes above, it seems like that may be the case. It's then important that Microsoft reward that optimism by filling a significant number of the "holes" in the next generation. They don't necessarily have to fill all of them but I think that a better camera and NFC are probably the two most important upgrades. That might be enough to get me onboard. Wireless charging and smaller bezels are probably the next order of business and I'd place a more current processor next behind those. Another important question is how much folding-screen technology improves in that time and whether Microsoft look to move the duo to a folding screen at some point. Being able to bend a folding screen a full 360 degrees might be a significant challenge. It occurs to me a secondary screen for notifications might be a nice addition too, but I'm not sure they would be considering that.
  • Duo is due to failure when the hands-on reviews come out...!
  • So, basically: If it had the Apple Logo on it, they would be fainting in orgasmic ecstasy of the "Revolutionary Design and form factor that NO ONE HAS EVER THOUGHT OF BEFORE!!!!", but, since it's from Microsoft; "Meh. Its OK I guess."
  • Totally well said.
    Remember Toaster and Fridge name calling for Surface Pro....
    They all deliberately failed to see it, test it and imagine it potential use cases. Well now the Glorious Apple
  • But it ended up not being a toaster and a fridge. It was just a fridge. Using it as a toaster sucks.
  • Too bad they don't have you in their camp @bleached. Would have taken Apple longer to copy and make an attempt to catch up.
  • If I'm going to be paying $1400 for a flagship device, I'd want it to have flagship specs and not a chip that's like 1.5 generations ago (855, which has been superceded by 855+, 865, and 865+). VentureBeat said it best: "It’s not just processing speed and battery life that Microsoft is skipping out on by using old hardware. The Duo ships with a single camera (even Google conceded one smartphone camera was inadequate). The Duo has no 5G, NFC, or Wi-Fi 6. What’s the point of guaranteeing Android updates for three years on hardware that is outdated out of the box?"
  • "If I'm going to be paying $1400 for a flagship device,"
    Who is calling it a flagship device?
  • This device needs a single foldable full screen, Windows 10X, with Telephony fully enabled, up to date Internals and an Android Container!
  • I agree that a Surface branded Android-only device has a lot of future implications that we're only beginning to grasp right now. Unfortunately they can't go back now. They've opened Pandora's box. And the company will only sell out more in the future. I predict a Surface branded Chrome OS device next. I know some would think that crazy. But it's not. Edgium and Android-only Duo are just the beginning. On the bright side Duo was well done. Crazy expensive, but well done. Maybe Microsoft will be one of the better Google OEMs.
  • Why not Windows-on-ARM? That's available now.
  • This will end up like all the rest.
    Left for dead in 4-5 years.
  • That's the idea. This is a place-holder device until the W10x Surface Neo is ready next summer, by which time the competition will have their 3rd generation foldable phones in the productioin pipeline. Microsoft is really bad at fast iteration in hardware, it''s just not their forte (except it seems in Azure and O365.)
  • "This will end up like all the rest."
    All the rest of the Surface devices like Pro, Pro X, Go, Laptop, Book, Hub, and Studio? Awesome. Seriously, can you name a Surface device that has been cancelled? Last one was Surface RT and that was more about the OS being cancelled than the hardware.
  • Surface Mini. Lol
  • It was cancelled before it was released however, so that is different. It is like how Apple cancelled that wireless charger thingy.
  • You can't really cancel something that wasn't even officially announced
  • Name a Surface device that was left for dead without a predecessor?
  • You mean just like any other Android phone?
  • I would rather take these tech writers and their opinions after they have tested the device.
    There is just too much chatter about missing features, old specs, bezels and pricing. When they use it a much informed opinion should emerge that rounds up everything thus bringing home the chatters,, true experience use based performances of the device . Then we can talk. Remember Toaster and Fridge name calling for Surface Pro....
    They all deliberately failed to see it, test it and imagine it potential use cases. Well now the Glorious Apple have copied it all for its iPad and iPad Pro, pencil, keyboard, stand and all Remember when Samsung started Note and they said that is Huge called it a Phablet, Now it is a normal phone size and Apple/iPhone god (SJ) who is so innovative and can see future of device not only did not see large sized phones, but went on record that no Phone should ever be more than 4inch in screen size.
  • All the tech review community is going to do with the Duo is write about all the features that aren't included. They will do what they did to the Surface Pro X - test it for what it wasn't designed to do, then slam it. Apple can build a toaster and call it a phone, and they would walk around holding it up to their ear.
  • CAR PLAY, is it confirmed that the device supports Carplay?
  • Not confirmed, but no reason why it won't be there. This is standard Android 10, after all.
  • Do you mean Android Auto?
  • Bleached....Are you a Blond?
  • I wish it was two 6 inch 16:9 screens. Basically 2 lumia 1520's in 1 device. I still like the 16:9 ratio batter than the 4:3. I see a lot of uses for this thing. Release the upgraded version in the spring with a current Gen processor, SD storage, and a better camera and it could make some noise.
  • I suspect next iterations with get ratio's closer to 16:9 because of thinner bezels. But it was apparently not yet possible for 1st gen (probably because of how thin each screen is).
  • The only opinion that matters is Lisa Gade's. She's awesome!
  • She is a good reviewer but you can stop drooling now.
  • She knows her stuff.
  • This almost seems like a bait-and-switch scheme. It seems like Microsoft is making this so enticing that we almost want it but we really want to wait for the next generation. And then when they finally make it 'just right' on the 2nd Gen, they sell millions of them. Seems like a pretty good strategy. Now how long do we have to wait for Surface Duo 2?
  • One important review missed is from eweek.com: "Now the even bigger question is this: Will the device be the ideal front end for a virtual desktop on Azure? Because that is where I think it will eventually go, and that, my friends, could result in an iPhone killer. " https://www.eweek.com/pc-hardware/microsoft-s-surface-duo-will-it-be-zun...
  • I was considering using Azure as a mobile method for using Azure.
  • After years of reading reviews that complained that the Surface Pro / Surface Pro X didn't include a keyboard (somehow this was rarely an issue when reviewing the Apple iPad Pro - go figure) I have been waiting for a tech article that went the other direction, that the Surface Duo needed or didn't have a keyboard. Be careful what you wish for: "Surface Duo: Where's the keyboard case?" The general premise of the article was Microsoft was missing an opportunity to include a case that wrapped around the outside of the Surface Duo and is a keyboard. *Stunned Silence* Ok, how exactly can that be implemented so it wouldn't make opening the Surface Duo so both screens are exposed, politely stated, not sub optimal. Mega kilo tons of really? I could riff on this for days, but I won't. It is articles like this that keep me here on Windows Central. I am getting the idea that the reviews are going to be wildly entertaining.
  • For those who are waiting for Microsoft to signal that they're abandoning this product . . . they couldn't make it any more clear. AT&T exclusive.
    USA only. Long-time Microsoft watchers read these words and know exactly what they mean.
  • Um, it's also available on T-Mobile
  • Whether or not I get one really depends on the development of Microsoft Launcher in the coming weeks and it's ability to work more elegantly with my V60's second screen. But, it wouldn't replace my V60. It would replace the Galaxy Tab I take notes with.