Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover that recharges the Slim Pen 2 costs $64.99, arrives November 15

Surface Duo 2 White Case Pen
Surface Duo 2 White Case Pen (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover has a landing spot at the Microsoft Store.
  • It has a "Coming soon" placeholder for now.
  • It comes in Glacier White or Obsidian black colorways and is in three parts.
  • It goes on sale on October 21 November 15 for $64.99.

Update: Windows Central has now heard that the release date for this cover is November 15 and not October 21 as originally reported to us by Microsoft due to a PR mix-up.

One of the most intriguing accessories for Surface Duo 2 is the new Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover, but details, so far, have been thin. Luckily, we can see the cover listed on Microsoft's website, and the company has gotten back to us with pricing and availability.

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

The Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover clips to the front of Surface Duo 2 and lets you stick Surface Slim Pen 2 to the cover and wirelessly recharge the pen as well. Additionally, two "soft-touch" bumpers fit on the rear panel similar to existing Surface Bumpers.

Windows Central understands the Surface Bumper materials are stiffer and don't pick lint up as easily this time.

Microsoft has a store listing for the Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover, but it is just a placeholder until the company is ready to sell it. Microsoft confirms with Windows Central that the cover will cost $64.99 and be available the same day as Surface Duo 2 on October 21 November 15.

We can learn a few other things from the landing page. For one, the cover works with either the new Surface Slim Pen 2 or the older Surface Slim Pen. That should include charging as it is presumed both pens recharge similarly, but we're not 100 percent certain.

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

Surface Slim Pen 2 is not included with the cover either, so that users can buy it for extra protection. Microsoft could also release other colors later to help give a more custom feel to Surface Duo 2.

Surface Slim Pen 2 also brings haptic feedback to simulate writing on paper. That has been confirmed to work with Surface Pro 8 and the new Surface Laptop Studio so far. However, we have heard Surface Duo 2 may get an update to enable the haptics, although Microsoft has not publicly confirmed that information.

In our brief time with the Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover, we were impressed with it. It has a textured feel and seems more resistant to fingerprints (making it ideal for the Obsidian Surface Duo 2). When installed, it made Surface Duo 2 feel more substantial and easier to handle while also blending in nicely with the device's curves. The pen sticks very firmly to the cover, making it likely to survive being put into your pockets, which is ideal.

It should be noted you won't need the cover for the pen to stick to the Surface Duo 2, only to stick and recharge while offering more protection.

We'll have more on Surface Duo 2, Slim Pen 2, and this new Pen Cover closer to release in our forthcoming review. Stay tuned.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, 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 for some reason, watches. 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.

  • About the Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover. Does the Pen only load with this cover? How is this done? I thought the charging hardware would be built into the Duo 2.
  • "Does the Pen only load with this cover?"
    By "load" you mean charge? Correct. When you buy the pen, you get a charging dock for it. So you can charge the pen manually at the end of the day. Or just use this. See our FCC article where the device has some wireless charging ability. But it needs a cover to complete the circuit.
  • Thanks Daniel. Yes, I meant "charge". So if I understand you right then a recharge without cover is not possible with only the Pen and Duo itself?
  • That is correct. You'd need to recharge the pen with the external cradle (that comes with the Pen).
  • The listing I saw on Microsoft for the Slim Pen 2 does NOT come with a charging cradle. I think it is being sold as a separate accessory this time around. I might have saw a more expensive version that comes with the charging cradle but I think the cheaper one does not.
  • How does the cover complete the circuit? This seems to be the biggest mystery to me of why one would need this expensive charging cover.
  • So they raised the price of the device, took out the included bumper, and have raised the price of the (admittedly improved) bumper by more than 50%? Seems like nonsense when other OEMs are doing things like throwing in free headphones or giving discounts when you buy their devices at launch.
  • "and have raised the price of the (admittedly improved) bumper "
    Not entirely true. They still sell the regular bumper, but new for Surface Duo 2 (different material, stiffer, won't pick up lint) for the same $39.99 with updated colors.
  • So they didn't refresh the other colors from last time (the blue and red)? Oh, well, I wasn't that fond of them. Still, that they included a bumper with the first-gen and are taking it out this time is still a crappy move when they're already raising the price.
  • "So they didn't refresh the other colors from last time (the blue and red)?"
    The new blue is basically the same, but not Ice Blue, just Light Blue. Ember (bright red) has been replaced by a lighter, orangey Tangerine.
  • I know that covers are much cheaper than replacing an entire phone, but the price for bumpers/covers still seems outrageous.
  • It's no doubt expensive, but I'd attribute that to this having some circuitry in it for wireless charging, plus some hefty overhead for profit/recoup the investment in designing Duo 2. TBF, Samsung charges $80 for a leather cover with no extra features and $70 for its Aramid Cover. This is a business, after all.
  • It seems hard to believe that the Duo 2's engineering costs would equate to Samsung's, especially when Samsung probably throws a LOT more marketing funding behind the product. With that in mind, the "need to recoup project costs" doesn't seem like it makes much sense. Rather, it seems like they just want to squeeze maximum profit out of the smaller market because they won't get the same volume of sales, not because they're selling these things at a loss and needing the accessory market to keep the business afloat like consoles and their accompanying games/services.
  • Just look at the Apple accessories. Just a big mark up because they can, because sheeps will keep buying it.
  • Sounds like you think you know more than the purposely educated bean counters that were hired to make decisions at Microsoft.
  • Dude, this is capitalism and a business. It's all about making a profit and as much money as they can. I'm not sure what you're opining about here. We do this every time with Surface and people debating about price and "is it worth it."
  • Why does it seem hard to believe that it would cost as much to engineer the Duo as it would to engineer a Samsung phone? What does the cost of marketing have to do with the cost of engineering? Samsung are going to sell a lot more phones than Microsoft are, so logic would dictate that Microsoft would want to make even more per unit in order to recoup their costs. I have to agree with Dan that your complaints don't seem to make much sense. Your comparison to Samsung doesn't really work and the rest just seems to be an issue with capitalism. We'd all like things to be cheaper but it is what it is.
  • As a Samsung customer I can tell you this is a very normal price for an OEM accessory for a high-end phone. Unfortunately.
  • How does it make an electrical connection to get power to charge the pen? Since it does not look like it plugs into the charging port, is there a coil in the Duo 2? If so, is there hope for Qi charging and reverse charging (with the latter being how it seems the case get power to charge the pen)?
  • Likely similar to how we got wireless charging on the Lumia 925 by adding a "shell" to the back of it.
    "If so, is there hope for Qi charging and reverse charging "
    I've seen nor heard anything that suggests that is going to happen and would not bet on it.
  • Yes! We are getting somewhere. There were pogo pins on the back of the 925 for the shell to connect to. Those brought the power from the coil in the shell to the phone. This would be the other way, but you still need to connect what is in the shell to some power source, physically. Unless you want to believe there is some coil in the DUO that induces power into the case, which induces power into the pen.
    My second question is, does the original Slim Pen stick to the DUO 2, with or without case?
  • Completely shooting from the hip here but I'm guessing the pen needs a very small charging coil to charge it's very small battery. To charge the phone you would need a much larger coil which doesn't fit inside yet. But then, why an extra cover? What is powering the cover?
    Could the cover possibly amplify a very small induction charger in the phone? Enough to charge a pen?
    Frankly I'm baffled why this cover is needed if there are no flush contact points on the phone that would connect to pogo pins in the back of this case.
  • I'll probably mostly use the pen with the Laptop Studio and charge it there. However, if the cover feels good it's worth the added protection and having the ability to charge the pen on the phone.
    The big question will be what that means for battery life of the Duo 2.
  • "The big question will be what that means for battery life of the Duo 2."
    Going to say not much. The pen does not require much to keep a charge. Maybe if you ran it down to 0% and then put it on, but congrats on using a pen for 15 hours straight, you probably killed the phone hours earlier.
  • Great point. I'm really digging what Microsoft did there.
  • This is a great deal, compared to the stylus I had to buy for my Galaxy Note...oh wait, it was included. Well, it's a great deal for the cover at least since my Galaxy Note didn't have a place to put the stylus...oh wait, the storage slot was included. Well at least you don't have to store it inside where it wouldn't get knocked around, or forgotten...oh wait...
  • Note 20’s “stick” is a joke compared to this.
  • I beg to differ. The Note "stick" is an EMR device, with a great nib, that provides for effortless and precise inking without ever needing charging. The feel on glass is superior to any hard nibbed device, regardless of make or model. It is not something I would want to sit in class (or meetings) taking notes all day long, but it is fine for shorter tasks (which is more common), needs no holster or magnets, and is always with you, not left sitting behind on your desk or somewhere in the bottom of a bag where it fell off the phone.
  • It's convinient. Also, terrible for writing/drawing for more than a few minutes, which is why Samsung makes a beefier pen for these smartphones now.
  • Effortless and precise inking... except for ten minutes into class when your fingers get tired gripping that tiny thing taking notes in class. You backed up Daniel's comment while trying to disagree.
  • try drawing diagonal lines with both, slowly
  • The Note's 'stick' is indeed a stick. But it also fits into the phone. And if you want a larger pen, you can buy one from Samsung, Wacom and esteemed stationery brands such as Staedtler, LAMY, and Mitsubishi. The LAMY even has a clip unlike new Surface pens. And that's not even getting into Wacom EMR being better than MPP (N-trig). I trust you knew all that though, Dear Daniel.
  • Considering I reviewed the Note 20 Ultra, yes, I know all of that, Dear Tams80, but I appreciate the condescension.
  • Well, take that into account and mention it next time. I do believe doing so is your job.
  • No, his job is not reviewing a Samsung phone in the comments on an article about the Duo.
  • Having owned both the Lamy EMR pen and the Surface pen, give me the latter any day. Better and more buttons, magnets and better nib choice. And clips are prone to break and are not always useful (depends on the clothing).
  • The "stick" is too small to be comfortable, true, but it's convenient (as you say) and the actual pen tech is superior to MPP. I've used both for years and it's just no contest. I'm happy with MPP on my Surface device for what I do, but the Samsung pen experience is really excellent (twigginess aside).
  • But this is all for a 2019 phone. The Fold has it as extra this year
  • Seems like a lot of accessories just becoming optional over time. No headphones, bumper, or charging brick. Like airlines. No free luggage, no meal, seat upgrade needed just to get a window seat etc.
  • Interestingly the reverse is happening with some laptops, where you now get a free silo'd pen.
  • The case looks good and I'll probably get it. Was on the fence about getting the slim pen 2 (I already have the slim pen 1) but I'm not going to bother until haptics with it actually work with the Duo 2.
  • That's probably a smart move. Even if the haptics come it will be app-dependent, which raises a lot of questions about how many apps really leverage it. Could be a process.
  • > The pen sticks very firmly to the cover, making it likely to survive being put into your pockets, which is ideal. I'm sure it's pretty secure for magetic fastening, but I'm calling bull on that. Sorry, but unless you make magnets annoying (and possibly dangerous strong), they are not a secure attachment mechanism for something that is going to be jostled a lot. But going by the tone of the rest of this article, I think it's safe to say you're sucking up to Microsoft quite a bit.
  • But going by the tone of the rest of this article, I think it's safe to say you're sucking up to Microsoft quite a bit.
    Your post was fine up until here. No need to be a jerk. I've handled the device and put it in my jacket pocket with the pen for that brief test. You have conjecture and guessing. We'll see for the review, but my only point was the magnets are very strong for the pen and it sticks very securely. You want to morph that into some personal attack, that won't be tolerated around here. It's unnecessary.
  • Eh, it's just Tams80's way of appearing "edgy" and "cool". Everything a 13-year old aspires to be...
  • I wonder whether there's potential to charge the Duo itself wirelessly via a cover like this. If it's not possible in the generation and they still can't fit wireless charging into the device come the next generation, I hope that they would consider something like that. I had a Lumia 925 with the wireless charging back cover and I'd be OK with something like that again, especially if I was likely to get such a case anyway.
  • "I wonder whether there's potential to charge the Duo itself wirelessly via a cover like this."
    It's still be odd as the connector for this is on the front of the device, not the rear. I think that may be the issue. The pen has wireless for the front, but they'd need a Qi module for the rear.
  • I'm not sure that it would matter whether it was on the front or the back for the Duo. With a conventional phone, you obviously need it on the back but I don't see that with the Duo. If the device is open and either up against a stand or lying flat on a plate, it doesn't really matter which side is against the charging coil. If the device is closed then you can't see a screen anyway so it doesn't really matter which way up it is. In fact, it might even be more convenient if it was front down because then you would be grabbing the back to lift it, so it's already in the correct orientation. I guess the only issue might be that peek strip, so that would have to be visible and the right way up when the phone was lying closed and front down.
  • Why is everyone so pissed off? As if they all are gonna buy this device and they don't like the price.
  • Somewhere Sir Jony Ive is throwing up in his mouth a little. Surface Kludge v2?
  • Bringing Apple into this, which is notorious for overcharging for a cable ($30 for Type-C to Lightning; $35 Lightning to 3.5 mm Audio Cable) is a bit rich, imo.
  • Don't you remember that first-party iPhone charging case with a prominent, rectangular bump in the back? And it existed only because iPhones had terrible battery life ...
  • Can I ask an honest question? As a day one owner of the Surface Duo as my daily driver, why isn't Microsoft pushing this product more? Back in the days of Windows Phone, I couldn't tell you how many tv shows and movies I watched where it pop up. They signed NFL deals for Surface tablets and so on, but the Duo doesn't seem to be getting that big push. I'm not the type of person that thinks Microsoft should just give me everything without paying something for it, but when you're coming into the game from behind, wouldn't you want to do everything in your power to get this thing into peoples' hands? Why not sell it at loss for $1000, include this charging case and pen for maybe $1100 total and while they're at it, throw in a free 6 month sub to Game Pass and Microsoft 365 to get people into it. If they can sell the xbox as a hardware to get people really onto their software (game pass), why not do something similar with the Duo? I can't tell you how many people have stopped me and asked me about my Duo when they see me using it, and there is real interest, but the marketing is awful for it. I know practically giving it away seems nuts, but Microsoft has the money and ability to play the long game just like they did when they first entered into the world of gaming systems. I understand why the Surface tablets and laptops are priced the way they are, because they don't want to undercut their business partners and other OEMs and be the only game in town, so Surface devices are basically for people that want a Microsoft branded device. But when it comes to the Duo, they don't have that problem. There's no one to make mad at them by lowering the cost of their device or throwing in a bunch of subs for free. Even though I will probably get the Duo 2, I still don't feel like Microsoft is taking it as seriously as they do their other Surface products, and I really would like to see the Duo line succeed.
  • Windows phone was a mainstream product with tough competition. Prices were cheaper & often discounted but still didn't succeed. This is a niche product still so if there's any marketing, than more for branding than trying to get high volume sales. And in that case it's better spent on Go and Pro models. Also xbox like playstation is sold at a loss in first few years since they can recoup that with game profits. Not so much here. That said, we might see decent deals later. Perhaps black friday and you still have trade-in offer if you are in the US.
  • It's a good point when it comes to intent. I know with the first one, it wasn't necessarily being marketed as a phone, but it seems like this one is. And maybe they don't have any expectations beyond it being niche, but I feel like dual screen phones and foldables will be a bigger category in the coming years, and they have an opportunity to be in the forefront now instead of trying to play catch up later. That's where I thought maybe they can recoup costs by offering six-month subs to game pass and Microsoft 365. Seems like if they highlighted that experience on the Duo and made games and 365 apps that really make use of the form factor, then you can bring in the gaming community and the business community with the Duo. Yeah, I was planning on (trying) to wait until Black Friday. I'm on ATT and can upgrade my phone right now to the Duo 2, but I'm thinking it will probably be better to wait and see if there are any deals.
  • As a Gen 1 Duo owner, I guess here's to hoping that some third-party company sees the Duo 2 case and thinks "You know, we could make this inexpensively, without the circuitry, and release versions for both the Duo and Duo 2." I know, a pipe dream, but I'm kind of tired of relying on a dbrand skin and luck to keep my Duo safe (since the "Glacial White" bumper stained ridiculously quickly and my "Ember" bumper kept peeling off...).
  • I have a bunch of those cheap plastic slide on "cases" for $12 that I just attach powerbanks, slim pen cradles, pen loops, etc. I also use the left-side of one of those cases in my tablet car mount so I can just slide it in & out without having to use two hands.
  • You can find lot of 3rd party accesories for Surface on Amazon. Pens, covers incl. cheap cases for Duo (starting as low as $12). Don't know if they are any good but certainly cheap:-).
  • I don't care too much for the pen support. Would have been nice if this case covered the back of both sides for better protection of the whole phone.
  • without the haptic feedback being on the phone what benefit does the charged pen give?
  • It's an active pen, like the S Pen on the Samsung Note and Fold. It's not just a stylus, so it's going to be far more accurate and be able to support things like pressure sensitivity.
  • None, over the slim pen that already exists for the DUO and Surface Pro X. The current slim pen does not have haptic feedback and works on all recent Surface devices. The current Surface pens also work on the Duo. The slim pen just makes sense for the Duo because of its size.
  • "The pen sticks very firmly to the cover, making it likely to survive being put into your pockets, which is ideal.", this would make it a nice portable package, love how the flatpen is being put more in the highlights.
  • err still says coming soon I would like to order it for when my phone actually gets here