Tip: Surface Duo plus any modern smartwatch gets you NFC tap-to-pay

Surface Duo Smartwatch
Surface Duo Smartwatch (Image credit: Windows Central / Microsoft)

Microsoft's Surface Duo shortcomings have been known for almost a year now. No Qi wireless charging, no IP68 rating, and no NFC understandably are deal killers for some. But at least for NFC tap-to-pay there is a simple solution and you may already have one: a smartwatch.

In what may seem obvious, anyone grabbing a Surface Duo and who has a modern wearable gets NFC tap-to-pay as part of the feature set. A simple flick of the wrist makes buying transit fare, homeware at Target, or fast food effortless.

All these Android-supported wearables and tap-to-pay services work on Surface Duo, giving users plenty of options:

Each has its advantages depending on your bank card and preferred style. Google Pay and Samsung Pay are both immensely popular, while Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay less so. With Fitbit, wearables like the $100 Inspire 2 are an excellent option for fitness tracking that also delivers secure mobile contactless payments.

And if you hate wearing things on your wrist, or already have a regular watch, you can get NFC-enabled rings like Token or McLEAR now with contactless payment support too.

While you should not need to buy a wearable to make Surface Duo a better device, modern smartwatches are popular even with regular smartphones. Whether helping to triage calls, notifications, monitoring health, tracking sleep, and enabling NFC payments, there are plenty of reasons to consider getting one in 2020.

If you're already using a newer Fitbit, or have been eying the just-released Galaxy Watch 3, you've already solved the contactless payment issue with Surface Duo. And let's be honest, using a wearable for contactless payments is more natural than pulling out your phone anyway.

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.