Microsoft launches the Surface Duo 2

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Started as Project Andromeda with (an evolution of) Windows 10 Mobile, of course, the Surface Duo is now a year old and seemed the whole time like an experiment. Not least because its hardware design and internals were never really appropriate for use in a well-rounded smartphone - instead, the Duo had its roots in a productivity-centric pocket computer. But we now have the Surface Duo 2, ramping up the componentry to be competitive with the rest of the 2021 smartphone market.

Surface Duo 2

Surface Duo 2 curved inside screens

From today's launch, the new Surface Duo 2 comes with:

  • Twin 5.8" AMOLED 1344p displays, adding up to an effective 8.3" diagonal, at 90Hz refresh rate. Now with hinge-side curved (as we saw on the earliest Andromeda concepts) Gorilla Glass Victus, so that the centre hinge bezel is very small, plus the curved edges give limited display space when the Duo 2 is closed, allowing for notifications and indicators (e.g. battery charge left)
  • 5G connectivity
  • Snapdragon 888 chipset
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128/256/512GB storage variants
  • 12MP f/1.7 main camera with OIS
  • Time of flight depth sensor
  • 12MP f/2.4 telephoto camera with OIS
  • 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera
  • 12MP f/2.0 internal camera (mainly for selfies and video calls)
  • Stereo speakers
  • Capacitive fingerprint sensor in the side power button

Surface Duo 2

There's also:

  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Ultra-wideband (UWB) chip (though I'm not sure what this is for)
  • NFC for Google Pay
  • 4400mAh battery, with (up to) 23W Type C charging
  • Comes with Android 11, with an update to Android 12 in 2022
  • 284g
  • Available in white and black

Which, overall, is a lot more competitive than the original device, though with the compromise that it can't be folded completely flat in the 'open' (call taking) position. Which is an acceptable compromise for those cameras, I think, especially given that user will likely have a protective 'bumper' on, and these will match the camera glass bump and almost compensate.

Duo 2 glance bar from screen edges

In terms of pricing, it starts at $1500 ($100 more than the original Duo) - perhaps unsurprisingly. And £1349 in the UK, pre-orders are live now. The Duo 2 is also available right now for preorder in Canada, France, Germany, and Japan.

I've approached the usual PR channels for a review loan, but don't hold your breath. Availability is October 21st.

As usual, there's a promo/sizzle video:


CNet already has a hands-on video up:


Interesting to see the (Slim Pen 2) pen-friendly case option there, very Galaxy Note-ish.

Lots of USA media were at a physical event for their hands-on, so you'll find these across YouTube over the next 24 hours. And no, there wasn't a corresponding UK event.

The official Microsoft press release includes:

Designed to showcase the power of Microsoft 365 in your pocket, Surface Duo brings dual-screen productivity and entertainment with you wherever you go.

When Surface Duo launched last year, we pushed the boundaries of what a mobile device could be. With Surface Duo 2, we’re pushing that vision even further while offering the core capabilities people expect from a modern premium smartphone.

Surface Duo 2 is much more than a phone. From the integration with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, to entertainment scenarios like TikTok, Kindle and gaming, Duo 2 enables countless app pairings and unmatched multitasking capabilities. Use any two Android apps simultaneously and check out new app experiences tuned for dual screen, like Gameloft’s Asphalt 9: Legends.

Featuring larger, 8.3" PixelSense Fusion displays, the Snapdragon® 888 5G Mobile Platform, a dynamic triple-lens camera, stereo audio, NFC for contactless payments and an array of new accessories that add special features and extra protection, Duo 2 represents a major upgrade.