Discover Surface Duo 2 – Microsoft’s New Folding Cell Phone

I have always been intrigued by the concept of folding smartphones. Being able to use two separate screens at the same time and fold them together to create a single unit reminds me of the good old days of flip phones and how they used to be cool back then.

The recent launch of Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 folding smartphone piqued my interest so I did some digging on the tech giant’s latest device. My expectations were low because of the negative feedback its predecessor received last year but this one has been better.

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In this article, I’ll share everything I learned about the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 folding smartphone, its design, its specs and features, its battery and performance, as well as its pricing. If you want to know more about the Surface Duo 2, continue reading below.

  • Microsoft’s Latest Folding Smartphone – the Surface Duo 2
  • Surface Duo 2’s Color Schemes and Design
  • Examining the Dimensions and Display Size of the Surface Duo 2
  • The Surface Duo 2’s Two Displays
  • Introducing the Triple Camera System of the Microsoft Surface Duo 2
  • Other Specs of the Surface Duo 2
Discover Surface Duo 2 - Microsoft's New Folding Cell Phone
Image Source: PCWorld

Microsoft’s Latest Folding Smartphone – the Surface Duo 2

Microsoft announced the Surface Duo 2 on September 22, 2021, and officially released it to the market on October 21. As the name suggests, this is the second reiteration of the Surface Duo which was introduced over a year ago.

Discover Surface Duo 2 - Microsoft's New Folding Cell Phone
Image Source: MSPoweruser

The company made several upgrades to the phone, including a more powerful processor, bigger RAM, larger displays, and a triple camera setup.

Just like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3, Microsoft emphasized productivity when coming up with the Surface Duo 2. 

Multitasking with Microsoft 365 apps and better support for video calls are some of its productivity features.

Pricing of the Microsoft Surface Duo 2

The cost of buying a Microsoft Surface Duo 2 smartphone depends on the storage capacity you will choose. 

The pricing starts at $1,499 for the 128 GB storage unit, which was $100 higher than the original Duo.

The 256 GB capacity unit sells for $1,599.99 while the highest storage capacity unit has 512 GB of storage and is priced at $1,799.99. The 512 GB version was not previously available with the Surface Duo.

Surface Duo 2’s Color Schemes and Design

When it comes to design, Microsoft opted to retain its overall design, which is basically two full-size but thin smartphones joined together by a hinge that can move 360 degrees.

Discover Surface Duo 2 - Microsoft's New Folding Cell Phone
Image Source: Engadget

Despite the flaws of the first Surface Duo, I actually liked how it looks and I think that it’s a conversation starter with how cool-looking it is. I applaud Microsoft for bringing the design back.

However, the company decided this time to not only bring back the glacier white color scheme but also to offer the device in Obsidian black, which some people prefer.

Other Changes to the Original Design

Aside from the black color scheme, the Surface Duo 2 also has slightly thicker sides compared to the previous edition, but still remains very thin compared with other smartphones.

The additional thickness allowed Microsoft to increase the battery from 3,577 mAh in the original to 4,449 mAh in the new model.

The hinge is firm yet flexible, making it easy to switch from one position to another. The spine can even display notifications, including incoming calls and messages, as well as battery level when charging.

Examining the Dimensions and Basic Features of the Surface Duo 2

While the Surface Duo 2 uses very thin panels, its width of 3.6 inches may bring a little bit of discomfort to some who keep it in their pants’ pockets. It may be better stored inside a jacket pocket or a bag.

Discover Surface Duo 2 - Microsoft's New Folding Cell Phone
Image Source: Windows Latest

And because it weighs 10 ounces, keeping it in a bag rather than a pocket might be your best bet. It also has a more noticeable bump than the original due to the new triple camera setup at the back.

You will find the power button on the right edge, just beneath the volume rockers. This is also where the fingerprint sensor is located. Tapping the power button will trigger the notification display on the spine.

Other Features of this Phone

At the bottom of the device is a USB-C port, which can be used for both charging and connecting wired USB-C-type headphones. This is compatible with any headphones of the same input.

When you buy the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, you will get a data cable but the box will not contain any earbuds or power adapter.

The break between the two halves has become smaller compared with the original because of the new curved screens but it’s still noticeable when viewing full screen using both sides.

The Surface Duo 2’s Two Displays

The Duo 2’s screens are now slightly larger than that of the Duo, at 5.8 inches compared to the Duo’s 5.6 inches. When used as a combined screen, it effectively becomes 8.3 inches.

Discover Surface Duo 2 - Microsoft's New Folding Cell Phone
Image Source: IGN

Each individual screen is a marvel to look at, with a resolution of 1892×1344 pixels. Images are sharp because the screens have 401 pixels per inch.

The displays of the Surface Duo 2 also feature 800 nits of maximum brightness and a refresh rate of 90 Hz. 

The bezels above and below the screens have also been reduced in size, making them less noticeable.

Working with Microsoft’s Surface Pens

The Surface Duo 2 folding phone is compatible with different Surface Pens, which are sold separately. While the latest Surface Pen Slim 2 works with it, its haptics isn’t supported.

However, writing on the phone using the Surface Pen Slim 2 feels much better than the previous models. You can even buy a case that enables you to charge the Slim Pen and Slim Pen 2 via magnetic attachment.

I also wanted to mention that the pen input works best with Microsoft apps such as OneNote and Sticky Notes because palm rejection and inking are not as good when used in other apps like Evernote.

Introducing the Triple Camera System of the Microsoft Surface Duo 2

One of the biggest upgrades in the Duo 2 is the triple camera system located at the back of the right half. The original only had an 11 MP front-facing camera.

Discover Surface Duo 2 - Microsoft's New Folding Cell Phone
Image Source: PCMag

The Duo 2 not only has a 12 MP front-facing lens, but it also now has a 12 MP f/1.7 wide-angle camera, a 12 MP f/2.4 2x telephoto camera, and a 16MP, f/2.2 110-degree ultrawide camera.

The triple camera system has a night mode and a portrait mode. It lets you shoot HDR videos in 4K resolution at 30 fps and 60 fps. 

You can view the captured image on the left while looking at the framing on the right at the same time.

Physical Features of the Camera System

Like any other phone camera, the new camera housing for the triple camera system on the Surface Duo 2 sticks out from the back of the right display.

This could get in the way when trying to fold back the left half to only use the right screen. 

To address this, Microsoft angled the housing so the left screen could sit flush against it when folded this way. It may not lay flat as the original one but it at least brings a bit of comfort.

Other Specs of the Surface Duo 2

In terms of hardware upgrades from the Duo, the Surface Duo 2 now sports a louder and clearer dual-speaker system compared with the original’s single speaker. This makes watching videos more enjoyable.

Discover Surface Duo 2 - Microsoft's New Folding Cell Phone
Image Source: Stevivor

Of course, the most important upgrade can be found inside the device. The Duo 2 now uses the new Snapdragon 888 with 5G, a significant jump from the Snapdragon 855 used in the original.

The CPU upgrade means faster core performance and graphics speed, coupled with better battery efficiency. 

Software Details and Apps

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 runs on Android 11 and has numerous Google and Microsoft apps pre-installed, including Google Assistant, Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft Office.

It can also serve as a great gaming device since you can use it to access Xbox Game Pass. 

You can even connect a Bluetooth controller and use table-tent mode for a more relaxing gaming experience.

Conclusion

Overall, I found the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 folding smartphone to be one cool-looking device that caters to my productivity needs. As someone who’s always on the go, the Surface Duo 2 phone would be a perfect companion.

While it may not be very comfortable to hold and store, its other functionalities more than compensate. I recommend this smartphone to anyone who wants to have a folding phone that can take your productivity to the next level.  

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