Microsoft Surface Duo: All you need to know about the new Surface Phone

The Surface Duo is out in the US and will debut elsewhere in 2021. Here's all the latest on the phone-tablet hybrid.

Microsoft Surface Duo: All you need to know about the new Surface Phone

Microsoft Surface Duo: All you need to know about the new Surface Phone

The Surface Duo is here. That is everything you need to know about the phone-tablet hybrid – a Surface Phone in all however title.

Microsoft has been rumoured to be engaged on a Surface Phone – since no less than 2016. Microsoft Surface Duo is that system and Microsoft did counsel to Pocket-lint it has been in improvement for fairly a while. It is a dual-screen, foldable Android-based system. As such it is a completely different proposition to current foldable phones and straight-up mini-tablets just like the iPad mini.

Surface Duo is an thrilling system in idea, however the evaluations have been blended, although Time known as it “one of the best inventions of 2020”.

Here is everything we all know about the Surface Duo.

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What’s Surface Duo?

  • Foldable tablet that can be used as a phone
  • Based around Android

At its 2019 Surface release occasion, Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay demonstrated how Duo can do everything you’d count on from a contemporary smartphone and pill.

As an example, you need to use it to play with apps and make calls, and it will possibly even slot in your pocket. Nevertheless, Panay stated the corporate would not view the brand new Surface Duo as a smartphone regardless of its skill for use for calls.

In a publish to release Surface Duo, Panay added some extra background to the creation of Surface Duo. “After we created Surface seven years in the past, we needed to problem conference by redefining expectations for what a productiveness system ought to be, and what it ought to do. Put merely, we needed to support individuals get issues carried out.

“We didn’t got down to mix two current gadgets – the pill and the laptop computer. We had a imaginative and prescient for a way we may take the most effective components of every to create one thing totally new. To search out that excellent intersection of {hardware} and software that unlocks a extra intuitive strategy to work and create.”

Yep, Microsoft desires this to be a wholly new kind of system, able to giving one thing completely different to the person than the corporate’s current 2-in-1 Surface gadgets. The concept is to attraction to those that wish to be productive on their smartphones, however who battle to finish advanced duties away from a laptop computer – the Samsung Galaxy Be aware crowd, in different phrases.

Microsoft is clearly apprehensive to pitch this as a telephone as a consequence of its struggles in that market. Whereas Surface laptops and tablets are profitable, Microsoft’s forays into cellular gadgets have been disastrous.

Microsoft did not make successful of its personal cellular working system, and its buy of Nokia in 2013 was one of many Best company fails in historical past, inflicting Microsoft to jot down off $7.6 billion. It lastly stopped its Home windows Phone effort in 2017.

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Surface Duo price and release date

  • Available from AT&T, Microsoft Store and Best Buy in the US
  • Coming to the UK, Canada, France and Germany in 2021

As we talked about, Microsoft revealed the Surface Duo in October 2019 however with the warning that it would not be on sale for a while to return. That point has come – it is out there from AT&T, Microsoft Store and Best Buy in the US and Microsoft has now introduced it is going to be coming to the UK, Canada, France and Germany in early 2021.

Nevertheless, whereas the US price is $1,399, there is no indication of price for the opposite territories at current. The price is excessive, however is not ridiculous in comparison with high-capacity variations of rivals such because the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy Be aware 20 Extremely.

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Surface Duo software

  • Android with a light skin based on Android 10
  • Development now in house

Surface Duo runs Android, albeit a closely skinned model of Google’s cellular working system that truly reminds us of Home windows 10 X that will probably be coming to another dual-screen Home windows gadgets. It gives customary Android apps (by way of the Google Play Store) and you may place or settle for calls.

Microsoft says it’s persevering with to enhance the software, saying that – by way of App Annie knowledge – it’s now the third-largest developer for the Android ecosystem globally.

The transfer to Android is, in fact, fascinating. Whereas Home windows Cellular limped alongside for many of its life till it was put out of its distress, the “new Microsoft” has taken a vastly completely different strategy to the world’s thirst for smartphones since CEO Satya Nadella took over the lead of Microsoft from Steve Ballmer in 2014.

As an alternative – alongside its Home windows 10 effort – it has centered on creating cellular apps that work nicely on iOS and Android. It has partnered with Apple beforehand to carry Workplace to the iPad as a part of Apple’s iPad Pro drive and now it has teamed up with Google for this system. Sure, there is a Google search bar on the house display.

Microsoft says it desires to support form the dual-screen class “by offering consistency in the best way prospects expertise it and builders design apps.” And Panay made it clear Microsoft is working with Google so as to add options to Android to allow this to work extra seamlessly.

You possibly can create your individual App Teams to robotically open your most popular suite of apps and Microsoft says that over 1,000 completely different distinctive teams have thus far been created. “We’ve heard from prospects who open their Surface Duo as quickly as they get of their automotive,” says Pete Kyriacou, vice chairman of Microsoft Gadgets “with Spotify taking part in on one display whereas Google Maps guides them to their vacation spot on the opposite. There are quite a few potentialities for personalizing your Surface Duo expertise.”

Some apps have been customised particularly for Surface Duo – in addition to Microsoft Workplace, TikTok and Spotify will present you movies or allow you to play music on one display when you browse on the opposite, whereas the Amazon Kindle app allows you to learn off the dual-screen similar to a ebook.

Apparently, Microsoft is now operating the Android improvement itself after initially contracting the work elsewhere via a 3rd social gathering known as Movial. In July 2020, Microsoft acquired Movial so has been working to carry lots of its staff in home.

Panay suggests a number of different methods to make use of Surface Duo: “Place Surface Duo’s display like a tent and watch video hands-free. Use Surface Duo in Compose mode to rapidly reply to an e-mail, or tilt it into portrait for a extra immersive strategy to scroll via net pages or images. Pair your Surface Duo with a supported Bluetooth controller to play video games on Xbox Recreation Move Final. Or simply take notes with the Surface Slim Pen, offered individually.”

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Surface Duo displays

  • Dual 5.6-inch 1,800 x 1,350 OLED displays with 4:3 aspect ratio
  • Can work separately or as an 8.1-inch single 2,700 x 1,800 3:2 screen (albeit with a bezel in the middle)
  • No external display
  • Surface Pen support

The Surface Duo appears to be like loads like Microsoft’s bigger dual-screen (and MIA) Home windows 10X-powered Surface Neo, nevertheless it’s extra pocketable. It options two 5.6-inch screens calibrated collectively for color and luminance. It rotates on a bespoke 360-degree hinge in order that it really works as an 8.1-inch pill with a 3:2 facet ratio. Individually, the displays have a 4:Three facet ratio.

The display is 4.8mm thick so folded collectively it will be 9.6mm. Whereas that is thicker than most flagship phones, it is nonetheless first rate. Nevertheless, we are able to see some criticism on the horizon for the thick bezels on the high and backside of the screens.

The system can fold collectively to guard the screens, or open up in order that each screens might be concurrently used. You possibly can even have the system closed with one display going through out, like a telephone. Corning’s Gorilla Glass is used however there will probably be a canopy in the field.

As we talked about, every show can run two completely different apps on the similar time. You possibly can even use one of many displays as a keyboard – the most definitely state of affairs – or recreation controller.

The “peek” characteristic reveals you notifications, which seem on the correct aspect of the show so you may cope with them with out having to fully open the system. For calls, you can even open the Surface Duo totally to simply accept an incoming name.

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Surface Duo hardware

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • It’s a 4G device, no 5G
  • 6GB of memory and 64 and up to 256GB storage

The Surface Duo prototype featured a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and whereas we believed it will use the newer Snapdragon 865 in the remaining model. Nevertheless, it should release with 855 which – like most of the different key specs – is disappointing for the hefty price ticket.

There will probably be no 5G model – however it will certainly change sooner or later. There is a bodily SIM slot somewhat than being eSIM solely.

The system has 6GB of reminiscence and 64/256GB storage sizes. Charging and knowledge connectivity is by way of USB-C. We imagine there’s a fingerprint reader, too.

As with different foldable gadgets there are two batteries supplying you with 3,577mAh in complete which is disappointing contemplating the 4,380mAh in the Galaxy Fold. There is not stellar battery life consequently – particularly since there are two separate screens. Microsoft has beforehand stated that you will get all-day battery life, however we predict the jury may be very a lot out on that.

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Surface Duo camera

  • Single 11 megapixel camera
  • Video support up to 4K

As with different tablets (with the notable exception of the iPad Pro) the cameras aren’t best-in-class however ought to nonetheless present a good expertise. There’s an 11 megapixel f/2.zero lens that helps 4K and Full HD video at 60fps – there is not one on the skin. It additionally options picture stabilisation (digital not optical) plus a 7x zoom and HDR support.