Surface Duo 2 sails through FCC with 5G and some type of wireless charging

Surface Duo 2 Unofficial Render
Surface Duo 2 Unofficial Render (Image credit: WindowsUnited)

What you need to know

  • New FCC documents cleared on September 17 filed by Microsoft are likely for Surface Duo 2.
  • The documents confirm 5G, NFC, UWB, Wi-Fi 6, and a "Wireless Power Transfer."
  • While it could be Qi wireless, it is more likely inductive charging for a Surface Pen.

On September 22, Microsoft is expected to reveal Surface Duo 2 — the follow up device to its unique dual-screen theory of pocketable computing.

New FCC documents released on September 17 reveal some more details about the upcoming device, although photos, schematics, and in-depth descriptions are withheld until January 2022.

Source: FCC (Image credit: Source: FCC)

While most of the data, filed under C3K1995 (C3K is the grantee code for Microsoft, 1995 is the FCC product code), are drab test results, there are a few details that confirm this is Surface Duo 2.

For one, it's referred to as a "portable handset" throughout the documents. There are multiple references to various "postures" for testing the device, including "flip and flat." The device has 4G and 5G capabilities. Testing was performed for hearing aid use — a requirement for "digital wireless phones." Even the build number of the firmware — 2021.728.20 — matches the format used by Surface Duo.

Source: WindowsUnited (Image credit: Source: WindowsUnited)

Besides confirmation of Wi-Fi 8021.11b/g/n/ax (aka Wi-Fi 6), Multi-band 5G, NFC, and Ultra-wideband (UWB, likely for accessories and rapid file transfers like Nearby Share), there is also mention of "Wireless Power Transfer," aka fancy FCC speak for wireless charging.

While it's easy to jump to Qi-wireless as the reference, our sources, so far, have yet to confirm any native Qi wireless charging for Surface Duo 2. Indeed, the device is so thin that putting the Qi coil in and mitigating the heat generated could be too difficult to implement.

An alternative theory to Qi wireless charging is that Surface Duo 2 may support inductive charging for a Surface Pen akin to how Apple's iPads can recharge the Apple Pencil with it magnetically sticking to the device. Admittedly, the support for Surface Pen and Surface Duo 2 is not something widely reported on yet in terms of actual abilities like haptic feedback, storage, and support in Android leaving it all a bit of a mystery.

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CategorySurface Duo 2
Operating SystemAndroid 11
Display5.8-inch each, High-Refresh Rate, 2754 x 1896 (Opened)
SoCSnapdragon 888
Memory8GB RAM
Storage128GB, 256GB
Expandable StorageNo
Rear CameraWide (12MP)
Telephoto (12MP)
Ultrawide (16MP)
Front Camera12MP
SecurityFingerprint Reader
Connectivity5G, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
Ports1x USB-C
AudioStereo Speakers
Battery4,400mAh (rounded down)
DimensionsUnknown
WeightUnknown
ColorsWhite, Black

Besides the above information, much about Surface Duo 2 is already known. The device should feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 8GB of RAM, larger 5.8-inch high-refresh displays that curve inward, three rear cameras, Bluetooth 5.1, a larger 4,400 mAh battery, white or black colorways, and Android 11 (with Android 12 expected first half of 2022).

More details about Surface Duo 2 should be revealed on Wednesday, September 22 at 11 AM ET in a #MicrosoftEvent live stream. In addition to the Surface Duo 2, other devices like Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro X, Surface Go 3, and a "Surface Book 4" are also expected to be unveiled.

Thanks, Javid M., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

134 Comments
  • Missing on Qi would be a drag, but I think that's easily the easiest omission to excuse. There's a direct alternative solution to charging (the cable), where as losing NFC would leave you without mobile payment. I've got a wireless charger, but I've found myself never using it these days. It's convenient to "set it and forget it," but it's so common that I need to do something on my phone while it's charging that the cable is ultimately more convenient...and faster. If the Duo embraces the Slim Pen with wireless charging, then I hope they REALLY support it with the chassis design. Renders showing the pen on the inside of the device look really smart. Have the camera bump match the thickness of the Slim Pen and let the pen be a secondary source of support for the screen when folded back against the camera. It'd make the device more stable overall and let the whole package gel in a great way. You still have to worry about having the pen fall off the back, especially going into or out of a pocket, but that's always a concern.
  • Yeah, wireless charging is great if you a car with one, but for regular use it's meh, specially now with phones with incredible fast charging capabilities like the new Xiaomi phone that can charge from 0 to 100% in 20 minutes.
  • Car wireless charging is even worse than home, IMO. I'm more likely to leave a phone on a table or nightstand that want to put it on a car's wireless charger. Those are usually min-spec (5W) and have no upgrade path long-term. With as often as people use map and music apps while driving, a cable and dash mount is a much better solution, IMO.
  • Even with it, i'd never use... I had a charger with nothing on it burn to the glass table underneath it once. No idea how the heck that happened, but nope. Not trusting anything near those anytime soon.
  • My Qi charger in my car (sadly, now just a holder for my Duo, because the Duo doesn't support Qi) is 10 watts, which charges faster than the old micro-USB charges pre-QuickCharge of just a few years ago (1.5A x 5v = 7.5watts). Qi chargers can go up to 15 watts, but I don't think any phones support that rate yet.
  • Goncalo Duarte1, but that 0 to 100% in 20 minutes kills the overall life of the battery. When you see reported stats on # of possible recharges for Li-Ion and Li-Polymer, they show a median number of full recharges of something like 400-500 full discharges and re-charges. What they don't clarify is that a 50% recharge isn't half as bad is a full recharge, it's only about 25% as bad, and a 25% recharge is about 1/12 as destructive -- the closer to 0% the battery gets, the more damage done as a simple limit of the chemistry of the batteries. Also, while QuickCharge 3+ has excellent technology to prevent overheating and extreme damage to the battery (remember the Samsung fires from QuickCharge 2?), the high amperage still is harder on the battery than a slower charge. This means that those "convenient" quick charges from a nearly fully drained battery are also all shortening the life of your device. Given that the batteries are not intended to be replaced, this is the critical downside to QuickCharge, and a core advantage to wireless charging. By more slowly charging and keeping the battery from draining, you massively extend the life of the battery. Combine that with a USB-C cable for the occasional QuickCharge in an emergency (like when traveling and only have a few minutes at the airport to recharge) and you get the best of both worlds.
  • Xiaomi claims 800 charge cycles before the battery drops below 80% capacity. They addressed that issue directly.
  • I don't dispute this. That's why a phone can generally be used for a couple of years and sometimes longer. However, keep in mind these are bell curves. So "800 cycles before battery drops below 80%" really means for some % of phones -- is that half? One standard deviation? That important data point is missing (understandably -- that's not a level of detail you'd expect to find in promotional material). Certainly, there will be many phones that are on the losing end of that curve. And for those, is their batter completely dead? Probably not, but is it at half the life? An eighth? And what about after those 800 cycles, how quickly does the battery start to die after that? Point is that taking steps to preserve battery life can allow your phone to last longer than the norm, or increase the likelihood that you reach it, when you might otherwise have a battery with shorter life. Clearly that doesn't matter to everyone, but if it's a concern you have, maybe because you plan to use your phone for longer than 3+years or, like me, you just hate the idea of your battery life shrinking with age, then Qi charging provides advantages over USB-C cable and QuickCharge.
  • Yeah, lacking Qi Wireless Charging is a bummer for me as well, especially when docking this on my car. But at least not having one isn't a total loss of functionality, since wired charging exist and faster. NFC though, not having one means not having mobile payment, public transports, NFC pairing and other potential functions that only having NFC can provide. NFC is pretty much necessary on many other countries for mobile payments and especially on countries with very good public transport that uses them. This was a futuristic that became reality, and it was shame Duo 1 didn't have it. Even let's say, it wasn't meant to be a "smartphone" at first. At least that got addressed with Duo 2. I still hope one Duo 3, they can fit Qi Charging. This tech is already becoming more popular and there are new cars that came with it. Also it's pretty cheap to get one for any existing car as a mount. Helps to reduce wear and tear to the USB-C port.
  • I really don't get the 'can't use while charging wirelessly.' If it on a wireless charger, pick it up and use it. Do you do stuff that lasts so long it dramatically affects the charge? I have had to force myself to lay my phone down off a charger so it actually uses battery, and isn't just full all the time. With a corded charge setup, when you need to pick up the phone, you drag that cable with it, potentially knocking things off the desk. If you need to go get some information from somewhere out of cable radius you have to disconnect and reconnect when you get back. I typically charge fully at night, and it makes it through the day anyway. If you have a phone that doesn't make it to lunchtime, and you need it to quick charge to make it to dinner, that's a whole different issue. It's a personal choice, but there is nothing inconvenient about wireless charging.
  • If you have a phone that doesn't make it to lunch time, you either need to use it less and if that isn't the problem, you need a new phone!
  • If the Duo 2 had Qi then I think I would definitely get one. Without it, it's still a maybe but I think that I'll definitely be waiting to hear what people's experiences with the camera is like. I can certainly see the logic behind the camera as it is but I fear that using it will be awkward.
  • Not been this excited about a Microsoft reveal for years... Really hope they have made major updates to the software...
  • Not excited at all.
    The design isn't practical to be used as a phone with a single screen. This form factor all together proved to be failure during the last few years, especially after the launch of foldable screen phones. I know people here love Microsoft products (me either), and they were fighting with me when I expected the failure of the first Surface Duo before its release. Believe me, this is the last Surface Duo. Microsoft will throw the towel after the miserable sales numbers (as usual with their initial insane prices). Please, don't compare this situation with other Surface products history.
    This is a phone. Call it whateveryou like, but it is still a phone, and everyone knows Microsoft legendary history with phones.
  • "Believe me, this is the last Surface Duo"
    It's not and you should really not pretend to have knowledge or insight that you don't possess.
    "This form factor all together proved to be failure during the last few years, "
    Duo 1 is only one year old this month.
    "The design isn't practical to be used as a phone with a single screen."
    You haven't tried it yet. You're assuming based on photos and imagining how it operates. The phone still reverse folds and has one-screen mode. Let's wait until the reviews from people who have used it to see what they say vs. people presuming experiences in their heads.
  • Why the heck would it NOT be the last? It makes no sense whatsoever for Microsoft to brunt ongoing engineering costs of supporting this random Android fork when nothing else in the product portfolio uses it. The Surface Neo is completely dead and even if it wasn’t, it was never intended to run Android as the OS. This launch seems to only have a couple goals. One is to get even a modest ROI on mostly a boondoggle of dual screen hardware. The other is to use the customer base of the Duo devices to gather data on what one-off features are resonating and which aren’t. That data will be crucial to adjusting their Android app strategy as well as long term hardware plans. Microsoft is not betting on Duo and it’s really delusional to think it stands any chance of being much of a success in the overly crowded mobile device market. Hell, if Google actually is releasing a folding Pixel phone, Microsoft might as well pack it up on the hardware front for phones after 2 decades of failing repeatedly. You should probably recognize just how much fanboyism is in your reply. It doesn’t take a genius to know that the width of the device when folded is a massive problem for widespread success. The Galaxy Fold learned that lesson while their previous versions were still smaller width, but when they brought it in just a bit more on the 3rd generation, it has been a HUGE success. I’m very pro-Surface in general and a longtime fan of so many Microsoft products, but it’s absurd to keep waiting on Microsoft to get it right with a phone. The Duo running Android addressed the app gap that doomed Windows Phone, but it doesn’t make Android “better”. It just introduces the “potential” for dual screen apps… that will never come from non-Microsoft apps as there is no way to justify the additional app engineering cost for it to have any ROI
  • I think it is fair for you to just leave this device alone if it's is so offensive and disturbing to you. I don't think anyone is forcing you to participate in this discussion. What's the point of being here?
  • Why wouldn't he have the right to have is opinion? Only praise is permitted? Who are you to tell others that they should not express their vision of things?
  • "It doesn’t take a genius to know that the width of the device when folded is a massive problem for widespread success. The Galaxy Fold learned that lesson while their previous versions were still smaller width,", the width of the Duo is a pro since the whole device focuses more on work (note taking, reading, emails / documents etc) than on consumption like other phones do. Also the Fold has to have low width since its so thick (otherwise it would not fit in your pockets, the Duo does not share this issue). "but it’s absurd to keep waiting on Microsoft to get it right with a phone." , they only just released 1 Duo and you expect that to be immediately your perfect dream device? I remember how the 1st Fold also had a ton of design quirks and issues (and that device is even more expensive than the Duo 🙄).
  • You may not be using in an Enterprise environment, where you're not an IT person. The form factor is fantastic for work.
  • So they will sell several to some IT folks who are also Microsoft fanboys. That doesn’t make a market.
  • OK so you agree that the Surface Duo is a Gen1 product and that Samsung only got the Galaxy Fold properly right on the third try. I don't recall Microsoft killing a product of this scale on the first try. Only the Studio in recent memory has seemingly stalled at a Gen2. The product was beloved but didn't get sufficient traction due to some limitations (non-upgradeable) and so the ball is still up in the air about it. but the concept and engineering is undeniable by those who have used. it. Let's see the response and take-up of the Gen2 Surface Duo before we come to a more definitive forecast of what may or may not happen.
  • Roy, where to start. If MSFT purely used ROI to justify the investment, then they would cancel the entire Surface line. There is no way Surface has margins anywhere near the margins of Office 365/Windows/Azure. MSFT MUST develop apps for Android. Android runs over 70% of all mobile phones. Even if they do not have a device that runs Android, you can bet most of their apps and software will run on Android. How they go about integrating Office 365 between Windows, Android, and iOS (Axure/cloud/ etc.) is above my paygrade. But you can assume that the executive committee talks about this often, which explains why Panos is now on the committee. Surface Pro went through 4 generations before they developed a strong ecosystem. You can also assume that MSFT knows who buys their Surface Pro device (and various other devices and form factors). I have bought the Go and the first mini-Surface (forgot its name). I bought the Surface Pro 5 and 7. Surface Headphones and many former Lumia Phones. They know the same about millions of customers. I did not buy the Surface Duo, and I will wait until next year before I think about a Surface Duo 2. Why? Because I put a lot of faith in the Lumia line of phones (MSFT was willing to pay billions and invest billion more for a failed attempt to deve