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Surface Duo 2 Vs. Surface Duo: Is Microsoft’s Second Phone Worth It?
Microsoft has launched the Surface Duo 2, its second-generation dual-screen foldable phone that packs a ton of improvements such as a faster 90Hz display, a clever design that mimics a secondary screen on the hinge, a top-of-the-line Qualcomm processor, triple rear cameras, 5G support, and new software tricks. The company’s first attempt at the concept was not the best, despite rocking a beautiful build. In addition, while the software offered great promise, it was ultimately burdened with way too many bugs.
Things under the Surface Duo hood also left a lot to be desired. The Surface Duo came armed with the Snapdragon 855 series chip inside, which was almost two-years-old by the time a wide release happened. The sole camera on the inner side was far from the performance level expected from a phone with a handsome $1,399 price tag. The lack of 5G support was a sore point as well, while the productivity-focused UI tricks couldn’t compete with the deep customization that rivals like Samsung offer with their foldable phones.
With the Surface Duo 2, Microsoft is trying to fix all of these problems at once. The design language is familiar, but the bezels are narrower to accommodate a slightly bigger display. Interestingly, one half of the screen now slopes alongside the hinge. In doing so, it gives users access to a thin strip of screen that can show the date, time, volume adjustment controls, battery charging status, and a few app notifications when the Surface Duo 2 is closed.
Given the screen real estate available, app support will be extremely limited here, not unlike the first-gen Galaxy Z Flip. The phone comes in two color options — a familiar Glacier white trim and the new Obsidian color that flaunts a glossy finish on top.
Microsoft’s Latest Foldable Might Finally Justify Its Asking Price
Microsoft has armed the device with a slightly larger 8.3-inch Dual PixelSense display with a resolution of 2688 x 1892, 800 nits of peak brightness, and Corning’s best Gorilla Glass Victus on top for protection. The biggest upgrade, however, is the refresh rate, as both the screen halves now offer a 90Hz refresh rate for a smooth experience. The Surface Duo 2 is also equipped with Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 SoC paired with 8 gigs of LPDDR5 RAM. The phone will be offered in three storage configurations — 128GB priced at $1,499, 256GB for $,1599, and a 512GB version that will set buyers back by a cool $1,799 — matching the asking price of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3.
In the camera department, Microsoft has executed a huge leap. There are three snappers on the back and a single 12-megapixel front camera above the inner display. The main 12-megapixel wide camera is optically stabilized and capable of 4K video capture at up to 60 FPS. It sits alongside a 16-megapixel ultra-wide shooter and an optically stabilized 12-megapixel telephoto camera that offers 2X optical zoom output.
Camera tricks include a dedicated low-light mode for night photography, portrait mode with adjustable depth control for the wide and telephoto camera, and the ability to click stills while recording videos. Just like Apple and its latest iPhone 13, Microsoft doesn’t appear to be chasing the megapixel count here, but is instead focusing on software-backed image optimization.
Battery capacity is roughly 4,450 mAh, but the charger won’t come bundled. Dual-SIM support is part of the parcel, NFC (absent on its predecessor) has also been included, but wireless charging support remains missing. Microsoft claims that the Surface Duo 2 is the thinnest 5G phone on the planet. A heavily skinned version of Android 11 preloaded with Microsoft apps, such as Teams and Outlook, will take care of the software side of things.
The phone is now up for pre-order from Microsoft’s official online store and will be available to buy starting from next month. For those enamored by the sleek build and productivity-focused tricks offered by Microsoft, the Surface Duo 2 appears to be a good foldable phone and a much better purchase than the original Surface Duo.