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


Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.