Surface Duo 2 receives first major update, 'improves system stability'

Surface Duo 2 Yelp Googlemaps
Surface Duo 2 Yelp Googlemaps (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A new system update is rolling out to Surface Duo 2.
  • The update is 228MB in size and addresses "system stability."
  • The patch bumps the build from 2021.824.206 to 2021.827.34.

After being out for just a day, Microsoft is already pushing out a new system update for Surface Duo 2. The update is strictly bug fixes as the Android security patch is still dated for September 5 and not the latest from October.

The update is around 228MB in size, which is substantial. The official release notes (opens in new tab) are vague, only noting it "improves device stability" and bumps the build from 2021.824.206 to 2021.827.34.

The update is rolling out in waves, meaning not all Surface Duo 2s are getting right now, including our loaner unit, which is still on the older 2021.824.206 build used for the review. Microsoft notes "Surface updates are release in stages—not every Surface will receive the update at the same time, but it'll be delivered to all devices."

It's too early to tell just how much has been fixed or what has improved. Some of the early comments, so far, on reddit have been positive.

Unlike last year, there was no "day one" patch for Surface Duo 2. During the out-of-box experience, the latest update (dated back from August) is applied, making today's update technically the second one. Microsoft hasn't yet pushed out any updates to the inboard apps, including Microsoft Launcher, Camera, or Photos.

Surface Duo 2 received many negative to mixed reviews this week, praising the updated hardware but lamenting ongoing software issues, which we detailed in our lengthy review.

Sources have told Windows Central that the Duo team is planning to be more aggressive with updates for the second edition of the $1,500 dual-screen device, though that remains to be seen. Owners of Surface Duo 1 are still awaiting Android 11.

We'll be following the journey of Surface Duo 2 in the coming year to see if (and how) it improves over time.

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.

  • Surface Pro became really good with it's 4th generation. Hope Duo will get to that point too.
  • Interesting. My memory was that SP3 really nailed most things and everything until this years model was iteration
  • Yeah, SP3 is really when it came into its own, whereas SP4 refined and honed it in. It was between SP3/SP4 releases where the perception began to change in press/media.
  • Yes, definitely SP3 was the mold for everything thru SP7. And that was a really good thing. Hope to trade up to an SP8 soon :)
  • Got it this afternoon. Honestly, I wasn't having any real issues in the first place, so it's hard to see what changed.
  • Will be interesting to see if this addresses any the issues identified by reviewers... Still planning to buy the Glacier version 256GB...
  • "Sources have told Windows Central that the Duo team is planning to be more aggressive with updates for the second edition" Daniel, does this mean SD1 will continue to be neglected after Android 11 later this year?
  • The issue with SD1 is, long term, a lot of what holds it back is hardware, not software. That's not to say it won't get any more updates (I'd bet it gets Android 12.1 and skips over 12.0). 12.1 is supposed to do a lot for foldables/dual-screens according to found code/references in Android/Chromium code. Indeed, even for SD2, I'm betting 12.0 gets skipped for 12.1. We'll see.
  • I want to see commitment from the horses mouth.
  • I am with xsikal, I got the update this AM (PST) but only after Daniel wrote about it and I went looking. Thanks for the Reportage, Dan. And like xsikal, was having no real issues other than fumbling fingers and forgetting what apps I wanted and where. I do like the more structurally sound USB C port, the Duo 1 version plastic part cracked and broke similar to Daniel's. The best part is that all phones prior to this 5G Duo 2 gave me 0-1 bars at home, no matter the brand. That is not true, I only have had Windows-type phones and the best was a 950XL alas, and even that with its 3 or 4G, I forgot, was only one bar at home. This 5G is giving me 3-4. Hallalujah!
  • We got our phones yesterday. Updates were installed as part of the setup process, and we're at 827. So far we're loving the phones! I've noticed little things here and there, and will provide feedback to app developers as I come across them. But the two screen layout is wonderful. The finger print reader is flawless. And I like Microsoft's organization of the Settings app. A little more intuitive than what I had on my Samsung A50. So glad we took the leap.
  • Sounds like you and your spouse/partner went for the Duo 2. Nice!
  • "Seems faster" (those were the days)
  • "Unlike last year, there was no "day one" patch for Surface Duo 2"
    I had like a 600 mb update the first day and then the 200 something one.
  • Right, but that update is dated from August and is the same one reviewers had a week earlier. Last year, Microsoft pushed a new update as Duo was launching.
  • Which was unfortunate as most reviews were done before that 'day one' patch, and it was significant as I recall.
  • I came across Lisa Gade's YouTube review today which was petty positive overall and not particularly hard on the software (though she did note some lingering bugs). She seemed to be saying she had received this update. Worth a watch I think.
  • Her review was great!
  • She's one of the best.
  • Yep, Lisa's review was great, as usual. And she commented that the update fixed some problems that "other reviewers" had commented about.
  • I'm not very impressed with it now. Smartphones go anyway. They're going to be replaced with HoloLens 5.
  • If you have problems with $1500 for this, wait till you buy a HoloLens. ;)
  • I love the enthusiasm, but I think we're some way off of a consumer hololens :)
  • Any chance they could aggressively push windows 11 to the device? Specifically, that version of Windows 11 that's currently in beta testing and supports android apps....
  • No chance. Windows 11 is a desktop OS, and Android support comes with a watered down store and no Google services.
  • A man can dream.... Surface SQ 3 processor with 16GB ram, running W11 on Arm.... I don't want a phone with tik tok and snap chat. I want a pocketable laptop with outlook, Edge and teams that has a telephone stack built in :)
  • "I want a pocketable laptop with outlook, Edge and teams that has a telephone stack built in." Isn't that a Duo? It runs outlook, Edge and teams, has a telephone stack built in and can be folded like a little laptop, complete with onscreen keyboard. Maybe there are other Windows apps you are looking for, like Office. Oh yea, got that too. Honestly, though, you do not want an 8" Windows anything. I've owned 7" and 9" Windows devices, and it is frustrating to use. Either too small to see or hit anything, or scaled so there is no room for any useful data. I've said it before, if you think you want something like this, grab a tablet and RDP into a desktop. That's what it would look like. The exception would be if you RDP into a desktop (or VM) and hook the device to a decent sized monitor, and used a BT keyboard and mouse. That works fine. Windows 11 might be a bit easier to navigate, but Windows apps are the same Windows apps, and the desktop is only there to launch them.
  • Not going to happen.
  • Got to admit though, it has merit, particularly if your goal doesn't involve selling a bazillion devices, which I doubt will ever happen with the Duo. Microsoft are being bold with the Duo. Very bold, in fact, when compared to every other mobile device manufacturer that'll stick with candy bar rectangles until the end of time. If it's after dark and you're neck deep in choppy waters, why not go all the way past the shoreline and stick an entirely new OS on an entirely new form factor? It's not like MS will lose millions upon millions of daily Duo users. Come on Microsoft, stop swimming toward the beach. Grab those soft balls between your legs and squeeeeeeze...
  • Windows 11 just doesn't scale for an 8-inch device. It's a UX issue. And emulating Android apps would not be good. It's not even great on Windows 11 right now. Remember, Surface Duo started as a Windows device under Project Andromeda. They couldn't finish the OS, it had problems/issues/missing deadlines. They canceled that OS and put Android on it instead to save the hardware. You're suggesting they go back to what they were trying in 2017 all over again. There's no reason to think they can do it. Neo was going to be the Windows version, but even that is just on permanent hiatus because 10X is no longer a thing. As someone who has used Windows 11 on a foldable PC ... it's not great, in fact, it's just bad.
  • What a shame. I can't imagine it jibes well with Panos & co that they can't get a version of mainstream Windows onto a Surface device. But yes, at least they put the hardware before any sort of internal politics and decided to give it a life outside of the Windows ecosystem. As for Neo, God I would have loved to see that in the wild. It seems that dual screened devices have more of less drifted out of the periphery with the demise of 10X. Daniel, as someone with an acute inside track on this stuff, what's your take; does Windows 11 have a dual screen future? Can it be made dual screen friendly?
  • I'm not Daniel, but yes, Windows has a dual screen future, as did Win 7, 8 & 10. I'm using Win 10 on two screens right now, and have run Win 11 on two. What it doesn't have is a small screen future, and to a lesser extent a touch screen future, on a small screen. To be honest, if you put Windows on the DUO, you wouldn't have to do a darn thing to the software. Windows already understands how to use two displays. Even better if they are the same size. It knows how to full screen an application to one screen, or span across two (this would take a little work). What Windows doesn't know how to do is operate a phone stack or SMS, but I bet that's sort of trivial since they learned how to do that with Windows Phone, and did it very well. Might have repurposed all those engineers though.
  • Find things, back arrows, where back swipe won't, they get lost in the edge. Also icon and actual active buttons are off when tapped. Seems apps don't know or respect screen dimensions. I prefer the D1 rectangle vs edge.
    Images and text get lost in the hinge area, especially spanned apps. I expected Google photos to show image on other screen and not in the middle.
    Taking screenshots now requires two fingers, works better closed in half. Before it was one of options using power button.
    After last 220MB update had some new black screen freeze UPS on one screen but other was active - needed to hit power button off/on to get back. Also rotating from portrait to landscape is much slower and not as responsive.
    Really feel that extra ounce.
    Also that camera bump preventing fully closed when using for just one screen. I could see same form as a lighter less expensive one screen device
    Apps are more fluid. No lag.
    Touch via surface pen leaves more to be desired. I use it instead of using my fingers. And it seems worse than with my D1.
    Still getting use to moving fingerprint reader to power button but has been reliable.
    I was going to trade in my D1 but now may hold onto it. See if I can trade my S21U instead.
    The photos I've taken are good and acceptable. I use Photoshop Express to edit. And reduce size to JPEG.
    Anyone find it hard to read or see the notifications bar? Welcome to bleeding edge. Mainly software related.