We know the core of the product – an Android phone () doubles essentially your screen space until . Although we have to wait until "vacation 2020" to meet the Duo, Microsoft has certainly created a sense of hype by jumping back in the game at a time when phones doubling the available screen space .
A quick flash of the Surface Duo from a manager's pocket, a 2-minute video and a few minutes with a non-functioning prototype were our only glimpse of the device. The well-orchestrated teaser from Microsoft only gives us snippets of detail, making us wonder if the Duo will come together as a device that could adopt truly foldable phones such as the Galaxy Fold and the upcoming. (Scroll to the end for all specifications that we know.)
How much does the Surface Duo cost?
Foldable telephones are not expected to be cheap. Samsung sells its Galaxy Fold for $ 1,980, and the (delayed) Huawei Mate X goes for the equivalent of $ 2,600.
Although the Surface Duo will not be a folding phone, it achieves roughly the same goal by doubling the given screen space that you have to work with for viewing videos, reading, typing and playing games.
This extra screen space is the real advantage, and the Galaxy Fold proves what a convenience it is. It is a convenience that you are also expected to pay.
The logic is that a dual-screen device such as the Surface Duo (which connects two 5.6-inch screens with a hinge) is a true hybrid phone / tablet that maximizes your productivity and entertainment – so prepare for pony & # 39; s.
I expect the Duo to sell for at least $ 1500, or in the collection of foldable phones with a similar screen area (the Duo gives you 8.3 inches versus the 7.3-inch span of the Galaxy Fold).
Will the Surface Duo have 5G?
Despite the protests from Microsoft, the Surface Duo is a telephone. There's a call incoming. What we don't know is whether the Duo we see in 2020 will reach a top speed of 4G or is suitable for 5G.
The Surface Duo that Microsoft teased works on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, which works with 5G if the device also has the right modem to connect to the faster next-gen network. But a year is long and Microsoft can also exchange the next chip from Qualcomm, which is expected to directly support 5G. This can also increase the price.
Because every premium phone is expected to run 5G by this time next year, I put my money on a 5G Surface Duo. Microsoft would struggle to compete with more mature folding devices with only 4G.
Where will it sell?
Microsoft has a history of strong carrier relationships from its Windows phone days, but it is unclear whether those. It is a good guess that part of the technology giant's goal of spreading the word Surface Duo early was to make carriers and bulk packers perk up. is doomed if it is only sold through Microsoft stores. And while there are dozens of Microsoft Stores in the US, there are only ten international locations.
How well the Full Screen mode works for all apps
The Microsoft Demo video of the Surface Duo shows a slender finger that easily drags apps onto both screens and view them in a split screen view to easily do two different things at once in the same app to do.
That will certainly be the case for some native apps, especially apps that already have tablet support, but it is not clear how an app will behave if it is not optimized for display on two screens.
We also did not see what the middle seam will look like when you play a video or game with the Duo fully open. Microsoft clearly expects you to put the device in landscape mode and use only one screen to view the action.
Microsoft called on developers to join in – it's a good bet that we see major developers redecorating their apps to work with foldable and dual-screen phones.
If it will be comfortable to hold for a long time
I held the Galaxy Fold a lot – to watch hours of movies on an airplane, take hours of notes and read article after article in bed. Guess? At 9.7 ounces, it became pretty tough pretty fast. That is why I am curious what the Microsoft design will look like.
Both phones have a lot of glass, but in the Surface Duo case most of the inner screens protect, while the Galaxy Fold has a plastic Infinity Flex display on the inside and Gorilla Glass on the outside (along with a 4.6 -inch outer screen).
Will a heavy phone scare buyers off? Probably not, but drop half a pound in your pocket or bag and you'll notice it immediately.
Will the Surface Duo only have one camera?
Microsoft has shown us a Surface Duo with one camera – it appears on the right screen when you open it. Compare that with the six cameras & # 39; s from the Galaxy Fold (three in the back, two in the middle, one in the front) and the Duo may seem to be missing. We know nothing at all about camera technology.
But Microsoft seems to believe that one camera should be enough to take any photo you want – turn it one way for a selfie and the other for a portrait. The problem is this: image quality is one of the most important functions that buyers care about in a phone and every top device is expected to have at least two cameras on the back.
Even Google & # 39; s Pixel ($ 218 at Amazon) phone, which has stood the trend with a very excellent rear camera, will get a pair of lenses .
When Microsoft solves the water resistance problem
The lack of water resistance only makes or breaks a telephone when it hits a wall of water. Until now, foldable telephones do not repel water and dust in the same way as the rectangular handsets that we have come to know and love.
That is a problem for the Galaxy Fold, whose plastic screen extends over and is already susceptible to damage. But the glass displays of the Surface Duo stop at the hinge, which can surpass the durability of the Galaxy Fold in more than one way.
Everything we know about the Surface Duo
- A 360-degree hinge means that you can fold one screen flat against another to hold it like a notepad.
- You get 8.3 inch screen real estate in total.
- There is no outer screen – you must fully open the device to use it.
- Phone calls come in on the right screen of the Duo.
- It supports the Surface pen, which you may need to purchase separately.
- The Surface Duo has thick screen edges, but that can help prevent you from accidentally tapping while holding it.
- You can drag and drop items, such as a phone number, from one screen to another.  It appears to have a digital cursor (although that may just be a visual aid in the video).
Surface Duo specifications
- Two 5.6-inch screens (resolution and display technology unknown)
- 8.3-inch total property screen
- Snapdragon 855
- 4.8 mm thin
- Fingerprint reader
- USB-C charger