Surface Duo preorders: Price, release date, and where to buy

Surface Duo Press Hero Pen Surface Earbuds
Surface Duo Press Hero Pen Surface Earbuds (Image credit: Microsoft)

The Microsoft Surface Duo launches this September, marking a return ahead of schedule for the experimental foldable device. The company returns to the smartphone space with a dual-screen flagship, retaining many existing Surface family signatures, while embracing Android for the first time. You may have some questions, and we have all the answers.

Here's what you need to know about Surface Duo preorders, including its release date, price, and where you'll be able to buy it.

Microsoft Surface Duo preorders now live

Microsoft Surface Duo is now available for preorder in the U.S. ahead of its formal release date scheduled for September 10, 2020. The ambitious foldable device arrives through three partnered retailers across the nation, with a $1,400 retail price for its entry-level, unlocked model. It will also be available via online retailers, and on physical store shelves, after release.

Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and AT&T preorders are now live in the U.S.

Featuring two 5.6-inch AMOLED displays, 1800x1350 (401 PPI) resolution, and a 360-degree hinge, the Microsoft Surface Duo rides on its dual-screen form factor. The final hardware specifications include the Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB RAM, and up to 256GB storage, which shapes up to be decent, albeit slightly dated. The device also has an 11MP camera, with its hinged design allowing the single sensor to serve as the front- and rear-facing shooter.

One of the best attributes of the Microsoft Surface Duo comes from dual, hinged displays — just 4.8mm each. That's only just thick enough to fit its USB-C port, making an ultra-thin foldable that's easily pocketable when just 9.6mm when closed. Microsoft has also baked in inking for notetaking and sketching, with support for Surface-branded pens out of the box.

But the Surface Duo does have some well-documented limitations, namely forgoing wireless charging, NFC, and 5G support. That helps drive down the cost, even if many features are commonplace on other premium flagships.

Where to buy the Surface Duo Pen

With the Surface Duo also boasting inking capabilities, purchasing an accompanying pen completes that dual-screen experience. But the phone doesn't ship with a pen, supporting existing Surface inking accessories, like the Surface Pen, Surface Slim Pen, and the Surface Hub 2 Pen. However, Microsoft pitches the Surface Slim Pen as the best pen for Surface Duo, given its slimline silhouette that aids portability.

The sleeker revamped pen debuted alongside the Surface Pro X in 2019, since appearing in Surface Duo marketing. The pen is more portable and better suited to the Duo design, leaving others feeling cumbersome in comparison. But the pen is just some of the best Surface Duo accessories out there, with more expected to hit the market later in 2020.

How to demo Surface Duo before launch

Surface Duo

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

While the Microsoft Surface Duo doesn't launch until September 10, you can already experience a preview of the device both online and in-store. These opportunities provide a deeper dive into the dual-screen device, likely to answer the outstanding questions before placing your preorder.

The best comes with by actually getting hands-on, with units now in select physical Best Buy and AT&T stores. The demo allows for a feel of both hardware and software before launch, proving hugely valuable for a new form factor. We recommend calling your local store to check whether a device is on display. However, the Microsoft Store won't provide such experiences, given its recent decision to shutter all brick and mortar locations.

If you have reservations about visiting your local store, online experiences are also on offer given current world events. The Microsoft Store now hosts regular live demo and Q&A sessions, where employees talk through the device, via a live video stream. You can also check our pre-release unboxing from Windows Central's executive editor Daniel Rubino, exploring the out-of-box experience for new buyers.

How much does Surface Duo cost?

Surface Duo Peek Mode

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The Microsoft Surface Duo starts $1,399 with both unlocked and AT&T-bound variants available for purchase. Preorders for the device come via the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and AT&T, before its U.S.-exclusive debut.

The base Duo features 128GB onboard storage, under that $1,399 price tag. Microsoft also provides the option of a secondary 256GB model, priced at $1,499.

You've likely noticed, the Microsoft Surface Duo isn't cheap. The device falls firmly within the premium smartphone bracket, outpacing rival flagships from Apple, Samsung, and more. It's easy to find an equally capable device in a traditional form factor for a lot less, including the new, top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra at $1,299.

But the Duo's premium price comes from its distinct design, pioneering an experimental dual-screen setup. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 comes in at $2,000, although with a price further inflated by that single, folding screen technology. But it's the expected cost for an early adopter of such devices.

What's in the box with Surface Duo?

Surface Duo Unboxing

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft Surface Duo ships with all the essentials, with the box containing the dual-screen device itself, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and the power adaptor. The package also has an included bumper case, which helps protect the edges of its glass screen and rear panels from scuffs and small drops.

While the Surface Duo boasts inking support, Microsoft isn't shipping it with the required pen. Any Microsoft Surface pen will function, whether from an existing device, or purchased separately.

Which countries will Surface Duo be available in?

The Surface Duo launches exclusively in the U.S. for now, but Microsoft hasn't ruled out additional regions with time. The company's roots guaranteed the U.S. release, but its overseas absence is likely to disappoint more than a few budding buyers.

We know Microsoft has additional markets on the roadmap, with past international documentation suggesting it's not exclusively U.S.-bound. The device's model number has popped up at both Canada's UL LLC and Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, with launches in further regions expected.

Launching a phone in new markets has its unique challenges, including consideration for popular cellular bands, and navigating local carriers. Expect more to come in the months ahead, as Surface Duo clears its U.S. arrival.

Which Surface Duo colors will be available?

While Microsoft's Surface family is famed for the brushed-platinum finish, other options such as burgundy, blue, gold, and black have emerged in time. However, with the Surface Duo, launch only offers a light-grey colorway dubbed "Glacier."

We know Microsoft has experimented with various dual-screen form factors over the years, including a black prototype in the hands of Microsoft Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay. But as with other Surface products, don't rule out the potential for additional colors with time — maybe for Surface Duo 2?

Which carriers will Surface Duo come to?

Microsoft has confirmed the Surface Duo will support all major carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless in the United States. The unlocked model from Microsoft and Best Buy will likely work with your existing plan, while devices from AT&T will be tied up with the service. The broad range of supported bands suggests that the Surface Duo will function overseas, allowing for a seamless transition into new markets.

Microsoft Surface Duo


Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.