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:
- Fitbit Pay: Versa 3, Sense, Versa 2, Inspire 2, Versa Special Edition, Ionic, Charge 4, and new wearables coming in 2020.
- Samsung Pay: Galaxy Active 2, Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Watch 3, etc.
- Google Pay: Fossil 5, Skagen Falster 3
- Garmin Pay: Forerunner 645, fēnix 6x, Venu, vívoactive 4, etc.
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.
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.
It's far from the most exciting wearable you can buy in 2020, but the Fitbit Charge 4 is perfect for what it sets out to do. As a fitness tracker, the Charge 4 logs your workouts, sleep, and overall health with flying colors — and it does so while only needing to be charged once per week. It's essentially identical to the Charge 3, except that it now has Fitbit Pay as a default feature and built-in GPS is included. Even better, Fitbit hasn't increased the price.
The Galaxy Watch 3 offers stunning hardware and a variety of health-focused features, including an ECG and blood pressure sensor.
Two screens are better than one
Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.
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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.