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Surface Duo users report that the April update has caused lots of issues

Surface Duo Nov2020 Blackberry
Surface Duo Nov2020 Blackberry (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Surface Duo's April update arrived on April 20.
  • Since then, users have been having issues with the Duo.
  • Problems include one screen randomly turning off, crashes, and more.

Much like how gamers have been unhappily reporting that Microsoft effectively nuked the Steam port of its very own Forza Horizon 4 via a recent patch, it seems another Microsoft product is now in a worse state post-update. This time around it's the Surface Duo, which has been reported to have more issues after its April 2021 update than it had before it.

Over on Reddit, /u/13104598210 started a thread entitled "Is anyone else having more bugs and glitches lately?" wherein they discussed problems they've been encountering with their Surface Duo over the past few days. The Redditor cited issues including:

  • when folded for the purpose of using just one screen, both stay active
  • one screen stays black in book mode
  • constant camera crashing

Dozens of comments on the thread cite similar headaches, ranging from the aforementioned screen issues to crashing, and even other items such as touch sensitivity problems.

As with any thread where users mention serious issues with a device, there are a few commenters who have reported that they're not experiencing these problems. Still, for the many who are suffering from stability and performance issues, the situation seems serious. Multiple people in the thread are citing this update in particular as the tipping point for them to justify abandoning the Surface Duo altogether.

Windows Central's very own Executive Editor Daniel Rubino and Senior Editor Zac Bowden have both experienced the bug where one Surface Duo screen stays black, so the April update's problems seem widespread. With any luck, a future patch will clean up these issues.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

15 Comments
  • Hard to see how they can manage a successor device with stable software if their updates are breaking things so badly. I'd think Microsoft would want to avoid releasing the second-gen Duo if they are still having major issues with basic functionality. Back-to-back launches with software this unreliable seems like it could kill any willingness by consumers to buy into the product line in the future.
  • I haven't used the Duo a lot since the AT&T update the other day. Wonder if the people having the issues have the unlocked version or AT&T version or both?
  • I have an unlocked Duo and have seen the same issues. It's minor but noticeable.
  • I tried to replicate the issues noted above with my AT&T version and could not. Hope it stays that way.
  • I have the AT&T version. The latest update is giving me all kinds of stability issues I didn't experience before.
  • The black bug screen is driving me crazy. I can handle some bugs. Been used it it since I got my duo... But the black screen is really annoying.
  • They can't even consistently make a good product if they control the hardware and software.
  • yeah, my rear facing screen seems to always be on since the AT&T update. but hey the camera works a little better.
  • Was listening to Spotify today and my Duo rebooted. Thats new. General stability has degraded a little but not enough to impact me much. But enough to say nothing got better after the update.
  • Hmm, I haven't had any of these problems since the update. I did have problems with the launch version, but I've been pretty good since the first or second update. The only issues I have that seem software based: 1. The ads in some games are upside down. I assume this is because they don't understand the dual screens and somehow get the orientation wrong, but it's only the ads in the games and only some ads. Games themselves are fine. 2. Since launch there is an annoying lag when you rotate the phone between portrait and landscape while using the camera. It pauses for a fraction of a second (maybe .5s - .75s) while the screen rotates and the text orientation changes. I don't hear a lot of complaints about this, but it drives me crazy. You can't take a picture if the camera video freezes while you're trying to line it up. 3. The camera display seems to always be on the wrong screen. Make it easier to switch screens! When I'm trying to use it like a front facing camera, the display is facing away from me (opposite the camera) and when I'm trying to take a distant shot, the display is often on the other side (same side as the camera). If they would just leave the screen on with the double-tap to switch when using camera, this would solve the problem. Of course, due to hardware limitations of the camera, #2 and #3 are arguably just part of helping not use the poor camera to take pictures with the Duo...
  • Honestly, I've been taking pictures with it, and I haven't really noticed a huge degradation. Granted, I'm not taking professional photos with it and it's clearly steps down from my OnePlus 7 Pro camera, but the Duo camera isn't as bad as people make it out to be. I haven't tried taking pictures in low light. Most of my photos are outdoors, so that could be part of the reason.
  • My camera got super slow. Up to 5 seconds between press and picture being taken. Random black screens. I'll try a reset.
  • No real issues experienced with my launch device but this latest update introduced multiple bugs that it didn't have previously.
  • These latest bugs are definitely frustrating. Not giving up yet.
  • I too have experienced this bug, so hopefully the May update fixes it.