Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Everything we know so far (Updated: September 21)

Microsoft Surface Duo open in hand screen

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

It’s been a year since Microsoft shocked the tech world and revealed the Surface Duo. The device was a different take on the foldable, offering two separate screens and software that would take advantage of the form factor. Now we are getting ready for the sequel, tentatively known as the Microsoft Surface Duo 2.

Unfortunately for Microsoft and consumers, the original Surface Duo was an unpolished, expensive mess. The actual software was wildly buggy as our initial review showed, while the $1,400 price tag was steep for what you actually got.

Nevertheless, we are quite confident Microsoft is working on a Surface Duo 2. So what are the rumors and leaks saying? Here’s what we know about the second-generation device so far.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Name and release date

Microsoft Surface Duo closed in hand against backdrop

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

It seems like a no-brainer that Microsoft would opt for the Surface Duo 2 name. It is almost certainly keeping the Surface branding even if the “Duo” bit is actually a little tarnished by the original model’s release.

As for a release date, Windows Central previously reported the new model will be revealed in fall 2021. One suggestion is that Microsoft could reveal the Surface Duo 2 at its Surface event on September 22, but dependable German outlet WinFuture has refuted this.

Either way, it looks like a successor is definitely coming in the next month or two at the very least.

Design

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 Leak

Credit: YouTube

The original Surface Duo offered two screens in a book-like form factor. Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold series, there isn’t another display on the outside so you can keep using it while closed. This was an all-or-nothing affair. It looks like the successor will continue this approach.

Probably the biggest leak regarding the Microsoft Surface Duo 2’s design came via relatively unknown YouTuber Tech Rat. They posted an image (seen above) showing what appears to be the back of an opened Surface Duo 2. This image showed a design that was very similar to the original model, bar the inclusion of a giant camera bump hosting three cameras. The 2020 model lacked rear cameras entirely.

Read more: The best foldable phones you can get

Windows Central has also chimed in regarding the new model’s design, saying you can expect “slightly bigger” screens (5.8-inches each), rounded corners, thinner bezels, and the same aspect ratio as before.

In other words, if you’re hoping for a traditional phone or even a device with a foldable display, you will likely be disappointed. This seems to be an evolution rather than something different altogether.

Specs and features

Microsoft Surface Duo reading Kindle

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

One of the biggest issues with last year’s Surface Duo was the anemic spec sheet. It featured a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC that was a year old back in 2020. It also had a 3,577mAh battery that’s pretty small for even a traditional smartphone, and no 5G, wireless charging, or NFC. But Microsoft still thought it was a good idea to launch at $1,400.

It looks like the Surface Duo 2 could be a step in the right direction. Windows Central previously reported that it could offer a Snapdragon 888 series chipset, 8GB of RAM (up from 6GB), a 4,400mAh battery, 5G, and NFC. It’s also believed that the new screens will have a high refresh rate.

Moving to the camera side of things, the original model only shipped with one camera (a front-facing 11MP sensor). Thankfully, Windows Central and a previous image leak show that Microsoft is offering a proper rear camera setup. More specifically, it’s believed that Microsoft will offer a 12MP main camera, a 12MP telephoto lens, and a 16MP ultra-wide camera. This is in addition to a 12MP front-facing snapper.

Will this triple camera system actually take great photos though? Well, former Android Authority reviewer David Imel felt that the original device’s solitary camera took good shots, but bemoaned the major shutter lag and inconsistent exposure performance. Microsoft will need to address these issues while also making sure that ultra-wide and zoom quality is respectable. The bar for the latter in particular has been raised in recent years, so the firm will have a major challenge on its hands.

One encouraging move in this regard is Microsoft’s decision to recruit a former Nokia and Apple camera bigwig to the Surface imaging team. It wasn’t clear whether this hire would work on the Surface Duo line, Windows-powered Surface devices, or both. But it came at around the same time that Microsoft posted a job listing for a camera architect focused on Android-powered Surface devices.

What about the software?

Microsoft Surface Duo using single app spanned

Spanned Outlook
Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

We could excuse underwhelming specs and a super-high price tag if the device actually works well. Unfortunately, the Surface Duo was a disaster at launch. Among the bugs David experienced at the time included the screens turning black for no reason, gestures not working, apps spanning incorrectly with missing UI elements as a result, and single taps registering as a long press.

Microsoft did issue a couple of significant updates since then to address these bugs. However, the fact that so many issues were around at launch (and even after the first major update) was discouraging. It also doesn’t help that the original model still hasn’t received an update to Android 11. Presumably, this update is coming alongside the Surface Duo 2 launch.

More Microsoft coverage: Did you know — The Surface Duo wasn’t Microsoft’s first dual-screen foldable

In other words, we don’t have high hopes for the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 in terms of software. It’s presumably launching with Android 11, but you shouldn’t hold your breath for a speedy upgrade to Android 12.

In saying so, we are expecting Microsoft to refine the dual-screen features it debuted on the original Surface Duo. These features include app pairs (letting you quickly launch two apps in one go), and spanning one app across both displays. Here’s hoping we see more apps take advantage of the latter.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Price and availability

Microsoft Surface Duo typing in flipped mode

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The original model came in at $1,400, so it stands to reason that the Surface Duo 2 will offer a similar price tag. We’re not really expecting a significant price drop for the new device, especially when Microsoft is poised to offer a host of hardware upgrades.

One ray of hope is the fact that the 2020 model quickly saw a steep price drop a few months after launch. In fact, this device can now be had for $700 from Microsoft’s website. So there’s still a chance that the device sees a steep price drop in the months after its release.

The Surface Duo originally launched in the US in August 2020. It then took its sweet time coming to Canada and Europe in early 2021. We hope the company speeds up its international release timeline for the Surface Duo 2. But one potential bottleneck could be the global chip shortage, which has already resulted in phone delays and canceled releases. So you might have to import the device if you’re not in the US.


That’s all we know about the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 for now. What do you want to see from the new dual-screen device? Let us know below.

Author: Hadlee Simons

Source: Hadlee Simons.” Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Everything we know so far (Updated: September 21)”. Retrieved From https://www.androidauthority.com/microsoft-surface-duo-2-1154511/

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