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Quick look: Surface Duo Ember and Ice bumpers — how do they stack up?

Surface Duo Bumpers Boxes
Surface Duo Bumpers Boxes (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft began selling the admittedly very expensive Surface Duo bumpers this week in various colors. While everyone who plonks down $1,400 for the Surface Duo itself gets a "free" Glacier white bumper in the box, if you want a different look, it'll cost you $40.

I ordered up the Ember (red) and Ice (blue) versions of the bumper to give them a spin. There's a third color too called Graphite (dark grey) that is also available. Here's what I think with some quality photos.

Surface Duo Ice bumper ❄

Surface Duo Blue Bumper

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

While blue is a trendy color, this one is a much more muted choice. The blue here is more of a very light blue-grey. It is a modest choice that adds just a smidge of flair while also not calling attention to your Surface Duo.

There is nothing wrong with Ice, but it didn't seem all that different to me after installation, compared to Glacier. And a few people who have tried it were left a bit disappointed as expectations were for a more distinct blue.

Basically, Ice is the safe, albeit boring, bet.

Surface Duo Ember bumper 🔥

Surface Duo Red Bumper

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The choice for Ember is radically different than Ice.

Ember is bold, bright, and it calls attention to Surface Duo. Do you often misplace your phone? Don't worry, with this red outline, you'll see Surface Duo from across the room.

Ember is an acquired taste. Not everyone is going to like red, nor how highly visible it makes Surface Duo. But if you're looking for the most jarring shift from Glacier, Ember is the one to get. While I thought Ice would be my choice, I ended up sticking with this vibrant red.

What about Graphite?

Although I did not get the dark-grey Graphite, I feel this one aligns closer to Ice than Ember.

Some photos on reddit show a muted, slightly darker choice for those going with a dark skin, or perhaps want to hide some of the lint the Surface Duo occasionally picks up.

That said, Graphite already seems to be popular, so maybe that is the one to get.

The bigger question about these bumpers is the cost – is it worth it? Considering I spent $80 on a leather case for my Galaxy Z Fold flip (that also sticks on with adhesive), $40 is kind of a bargain. However, this is a costly accessory, and the return in value you get from a different color will vary greatly.

Adding and removing the Surface Duo bumper is easy. But if you remove your Glacier one and want to go back later, you will likely need some new adhesive. I wrote a quick guide on reapplying the Surface Duo bumper for that. Protip – don't use too much tape, as it can be a pain to remove.

And for those wondering about mixing colors between Ice and Ember? Don't. It just looks too goofy.

Microsoft Surface Duo

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Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

7 Comments
  • Hi - just switched over to a graphite bumper from the white one. IT looks a bit less uniform now as the fingerprint reader and charging area kind of jump out being white. You can also see just how good you have attached your skin as the tiny seam is visible. The white does hide things better.
  • Yeah, of all the colors, the white is probably the best. Glad they included that one.
  • With this and the new colors of the Laptop Go, it's really a bit sad how buttoned-up the Surface product line has become. I miss the bold colors of the green and orange phones Microsoft launched with their first Lumias. I miss the vibrant reds, blues, and colors like orange, green, and purple. Sure, Surface is more of a pricey, adult-oriented brand, but it would be nice to see MS move back towards a but of the personal flair they offered. If they can put together the Xbox Design Labs controllers for a premium, imagine what they could do letting people at least get custom key colors on upcharged Type Covers!
  • I don't see what it would hurt.. They can still offer the soft pallet they do now, but throw in a special edition here and there... But, Microsoft never offered colors on Lumia devices. That was Nokia.
  • Microsoft, just like Nokia, bases color decisions on current popular trends in fashion and predictions. I used to talk to the Nokia people about it, it wasn't like some dude just decided it - they did fashion market research. Bold, neon colors are not it for 2020/2021 - softer pastels, "sun-kissed" and lighter colors are. See the latest from Google and its Chromecast line and Pixel 5. This stuff is no secret. Articles are written about it all the time for the coming year.
  • What you're saying doesn't really speak against my point. I don't just mean that we need neon, but when you yourself mention that Ice feels almost redundant with the Glacier, that's disappointing. Look at what Apple put out with their most recent iPhones--no neon, but you get white, black, purple, green, and yellow. Look at Samsung's latest devices--purple, red, dark blue, and green on the S20FE and black, white, green, and rose gold on the Note 20 lineup. I think that, if MS is going to be limited in their options, then having them be more distinct would be nice. They don't need to be neon, but they don't have to all feel like they're trying to blend in together either.
  • May be just my monitor, but it looks like you have an ice blue Surface Duo there. The blue bumper looks almost indistinguishable from the Duo it is on.