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See the magic inside Microsoft Surface Duo's ground-breaking hardware

Duo Inside
Duo Inside

What you need to know

  • A new video shows Surface Duo's internal hardware.
  • Interviews with Panos Panay and his team talk about the ideas behind Surface Duo.
  • See a working model of how the hinge works and Surface Duo in action.

Microsoft's Surface Duo is garnering a lot of interest from the tech community, if only because it is a breath of fresh air compared to the cycle release of current smartphones. Conceived nearly five years ago, it has been a long road for Surface Due to finally land in customer's hands early next month.

CNET managed to get a non-working Surface Duo prototype from Microsoft that reveals all the dual-screen Android devices' inner workings. The prop is a 1:1 to replica of Surface Duo, including all the Corning Gorilla Glass (both sides), and those captivating working hinges.

But the real charm comes from seeing the inside of Surface Duo, including all the custom components used to make those dual screens happen. As Microsoft's chief product officer Panos Panay detailed in the official Surface Duo Press Briefing, a lot of thought went into not only making Surface Duo functional, but also "elegant" as Panay notes, or "it goes away quick."

Duo Inside

Source: CNET (Image credit: Source: CNET)

Indeed, the 4.8mm thinness (when opened) of Surface Duo is quite remarkable. In the CNET video, Scott Stein shows how the device handles, flips, and folds, giving a new perspective on how it works. The footage also interjects some interviews with Panay and his team on the philosophy of Surface Duo.

After watching the eight-minute video, you'll likely come away with a new appreciation of Surface Duo's engineering achievements. Unlike LG's more cost-effective Velvet, Surface Duo is built from the ground up for dual displays, but also to represent the pinnacle of modern engineering.

If you want to see more of the innards of Surface Duo, CNET posted some high-quality photos to go along with the video that is worth a look too.

Microsoft Surface Duo

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Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

20 Comments
  • Very cool insights! I'm always blown away at how they can cram so much tech into such a small space.
  • See! There is room for NFC! 😜
  • There are rooms for NFC, Qi and other missing features, but MS could not handle implementing those to avoid further embarrassment for a four-year in-design device, the longest in history...!
  • Ah, yes, words of wisdom from the non-engineer who didn't work on this device. Thanks for the hot take!
  • Donald, is that you? I never took you for a tech enthusiast.
  • I don't think it was ever a question of room when it came to NFC capabilities. Microsoft wanted to include the features that would maximize expressing the vision the Duo is supposed to showcase. NFC is a secondary or even a tertiary feature.
  • In my country significantly more people use NFC than don't.
  • But Duo 1 is sold only in US, where literally only 1% uses it as primary payment option. (about 10% uses it sporadically). Of course in regions like NY this percentage is higher.
  • I would say thats hard to believe, but i think I see more people use tap to pay on TV than in real life. I use it all the time, especially now that I have Samsung pay.
  • Explain why almost NONE of the Motorolla Android Phones have NFC then? This is a marketing decision, and a supply chain decision. You need not only the NFC chip (and to pay for the license) you also need room for the NFC antenna. Same reason it does not have Qi charging, even though it is all glass. Those batteries take up a lot of room, as do the screen and hinge connectors. Anyway, nobody is holding a gun to your head to buy it. Go out and pick up a Samsung NOTE S20 5G if you want all those things. No one is stopping you.
  • <Large tech company makes a see-through mockup of mobile product> "Weird? Yeah!" <Apple does the same thing the following year> "THIS IS REVOLUTIONARY!!!!!"
  • If I had to choose between Android and iOS I'd still use W10M but alas this isn't an option anymore so iOS it is which already puts a nail in the coffin of purchasing this bugger but even then the lack of Qi charging for a 1'400.- device is outrageous in 2020 - ESPECIALLY since it's not even limited by the materials used for the shell! Guess I'll be waiting for a W10X OS Hack and the 2-3 Generation of it and see where it goes from there...
  • So NFC is the deal breaker, but running a “hacked version” of a non-officially supported OS on a communications and productivity device is what’s going to make this product “usable,” for you? Well then...
  • "then the lack of Qi charging for a 1'400.- device is outrageous in 2020 - ESPECIALLY since it's not even limited by the materials used for the shell!", metal usage for body does limit Qi charging to an extent I believe. See this quote: "A phone can absolutely be made of metal and have wireless charging… just not all metal, and ideally, not much metal around the wireless hardware. Metal reacts to magnetic fields and attenuates electrical fields."
    https://www.quora.com/Why-cant-phones-that-are-made-of-metal-have-wirele... When you look at the Duo it does not have non-metal lines like that Iphone and also not 2 different materials used in the back. Whatever the case, Qi charging is a nice to have and so is NFC but they are not mandatory for many users (as in also counting not us techies/power users).
  • "Guess I'll be waiting for a W10X OS Hack" True. I think Microsoft is too milk toast in the Nadella era to try anything resembling a phone again. What I really hope is that someone/anyone, perhaps an OEM, or perhaps someone crowdfunded, like Eve V, has the courage to give fans what they really want. But we need Win10x to drop first.
  • Microsoft ruined the impending Jerryrig Everything video.
  • Surely that won't stop him though. People watch his video than just a tear down.
  • Looks very tempting. I'll wait for v2.
  • I'm just going to save my money and get the Surface Neo.
  • Looking forward to Neo too, just hope it will have a real entry version in contrary to the Duo.