Microsoft announced its first foldable in October of 2019, but did not ship the phone until almost a year later. The end result was not too groundbreaking, but Redmond is trying again with the Surface Duo 2.
The industrial design is mostly unchanged, with Microsoft opting for two separate displays instead of a single flexible screen. They both measure 5.8-inch (in a slight increase from 5.6″) and notably feature a high-refresh-rate of 90Hz with Gorilla Glass Victus. It combines for 8.3-inches (2688×1892), while the edges bordering the hinge are curved. When closed, the hinge (“Glance bar”) shows notifications, battery status, and time.
Notetaking and drawing also get a boost with the updated Surface Slim Pen 2 that can be wirelessly charged by the Duo 2 when you attach a Microsoft case accessory (“Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover”). One physical change sees the button no longer on the edge but rather the flat side of the pen, while the tip is sharper. On Windows, you get tiny mechanical vibrations to mimic the feel of pen on paper, but not with Android. It sends “tactile signals through the touch receptors in your fingertips.”
The top and bottom bezels are still sizable, while the other big hardware change is a dedicated rear camera. This tri-lens system is comprised of a wide (12-megapixel, f/1.7 with OIS), ultrawide (16MP, f/2.2), and telephoto (12MP, f/2.4 with OIS), as well as a TOF sensor. Microsoft built its own camera app that leverages both screens by providing an image preview on the left.
As a result of the significant camera bump, the device cannot lay flat on a table or be fully closed for a ‘phone mode’ where you have screens on the front and back. Other changes include a new black (“Obsidian”) color to complement silver (“Glacier”), while the USB-C port has been centered on the right half. A fingerprint sensor is also on that half’s edge and is now integrated into the power button – rather than being located just underneath.
It’s driven by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM. On the connectivity front, there’s Bluetooth 5.1 and 5G connectivity, while NFC is now available to allow for contactless payments. Everything is powered by a 4,449mAh battery and Android 11.
Pricing starts at $1,499.99 for 128GB, with 256GB ($1,599.99) and 512GB ($1,799.99) variants also available. Pre-orders open today, with Microsoft shipping the Surface Duo 2 on October 21 in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan.
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