Microsoft announces the Surface Duo 2

Microsoft’s Surface event brought a lot of new eye catching hardware, including the much improved Surface Pro 8 and the jaw dropping Surface Laptop Studio. The device I was most interested in seeing however was the Surface Duo 2. This is easily the most improved device in 2021 and that’s just on a hardware level. Software wise…we’ll see, but let’s talk.

The Surface Duo 2 in the new “Obsidian” colour

The first iteration seemed like a bit of a strange companion device that tried to be a phone but wasn’t a very good one. It was plagued by poor software support and still to this day hasn’t had an update to Android 11. I’m aware this doesn’t instil much confidence in those potentially looking at purchasing this phone. And yes, Microsoft actually called it a phone this time!

The first Surface Duo

Then there was the issue of the cameras, more accurately the lack of cameras. It ran a single selfie camera on the inside and that was your lot. This made it difficult for people to run as their only device. As I said earlier the Duo was first intended as more of a companion device to a regular phone. In fact it was initially designed to be a Windows device, its bigger brother of which was cancelled altogether.

It definitely seems like Microsoft were mostly testing the waters with the original Duo and to work out which direction to take the product going forward. It seems that with the Duo 2 they have for the most part worked out those kinks.

First off when it comes to specs MS has definitely stepped it up for the Duo 2:

  • Snapdragon 888 w/5G support
  • 8gb RAM
  • Dual AMOLED 90hz, 800nits displays with Gorilla Glass Victus
  • 4450mah battery
  • Triple Camera Setup (12mp wide, 16mp ultrawide, 12mp telephoto)
  • Up to 512GB of storage

The backs of the Duo 2 are covered in Gorilla Glass 5 which ideally could have been better and the frame is still the same material as the original Duo which is plastic, however the body is a little thicker this time, which should hopefully prevent any of the cracked USB-C ports we saw on the original and also make the rest of the device feel sturdier, at the cost of a little weight of course.

One of the coolest surprises of the presentation was seeing the notifications light up and ping along the spine of the phone. They have essentially curved the glass around into the area where the screens meet, so when it is closed you can see that edge. Perfect for quickly glancing the time and notifications. Super cool.

My reaction was “Oooooooooooh”

The Surface Duo 2 will release on October 21st starting at £1429 for the 128GB model here in the UK and at $1499 (plus sales tax) in the US. That’s a pricey proposition for a phone that has questionable software. Not to mention the additional accessories like bumper cases and the Surface Pen. No freebies here like what Samsung gave out with the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

From the demos shown and hands on videos from various YouTubers and outlets it seems the software is definitely improved and people seem very happy with the hardware.

The Surface Pen is optional at £129 😬

My advice for those interested would be to wait a month or two after release to see how the early adopters find it and then weigh up if it’s a device that would work well for you. I have to say though I’m highly interested myself. It’s great to see some differentiation in this market for the first time in a long while.

Let me know what your early impressions of the Duo 2 are. Is it something you can see as being your only phone? Do you think Microsoft are taking the sequel much more seriously?

I feel ready to step up my productivity game.

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GroundedTech - Dan

GroundedTech - Dan

Mobile, gaming and content creation tech write ups in addition to my YouTube channel.