Dual-screen Surface Duo marks Microsoft's return to smartphones
Four years after abandoning the realm of smartphones, Microsoft has thrown its hat back into the ring. This time the company is gunning for a piece of that double-screen pie with the Surface Duo, a hinged phone that has a focus on multitasking.
Originally announced almost a year ago, we now have more solid details on the Surface Duo. It’s made up of a pair of 5.6-in AMOLED displays that, when open, add up to a massive 8.1-in display (measured diagonally) with a combined resolution of 2,700 x 1,800 pixels.
Perhaps most importantly, these screens are connected by a hinge, like the flip-phones of old (or the LG G8X of late). That allows Microsoft to conveniently skirt around Samsung’s teething problems with the first Galaxy Fold phones, which had bendable screens that wore out very quickly.
The other advantage of the hinge is that it can open in a full 360-degree range of motion. It closes in a clamshell design that protects the screen, and can operate partway open like a book, flat like a tablet, bent backwards like a tent, or even folded right back on itself with each screen facing outwards.
To make the most of that extra screen real estate, the Surface Duo can display any two apps side by side. That could come in handy to, for instance, message friends while watching a video, take notes while reading, compare two products while shopping online, or flick through a presentation while on a video call.
Or one app can be stretched over two displays. That could give you more viewing area for scrolling through websites or photos, let you read an ebook more like a real one, or use the bottom screen as a keyboard, laptop-style.
As for other specs, it comes with an 11-MP camera with the usual range of photo and video modes, 128 or 256 GB of storage space, and dual batteries with capacities of 3,577 mAh each. Microsoft has wisely ditched its Mobile Windows platform and opted for the Android 10 operating system instead.
Preorders for the Surface Duo are now open, and the device is due to launch in the US on September 10. Prices start at US$1,399.
Check it out in action in the video below.