Since I started writing about mobile technology 21 years ago, I’ve been passionate about those pushing the boundaries of smartphone design and technology. While Apple’s new iPhones have longer battery life and fantastic cameras, the same old design doesn’t excite me. I’m excited about my new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, but the new Surface Duo 2 is interesting enough that I already pre-ordered it.
I bought the original Surface Duo and later returned it, mostly due to the fact that Microsoft had been using years of internal specs, had a single bad camera, didn’t include NFC to support Google Pay, and there was too much on the table. We then saw prices go down over the past few months with the duo for less than $ 500.
Also: Microsoft Surface Duo Review: Buy for dual display use, not the old specs
Despite the shortcomings of the original Microsoft Surface Duo, it offered a form factor for optimal productivity with two large screens designed to get the job done. Microsoft offered unique software experiences, especially when it came to Office 365 applications. It was not designed for someone looking for a simple smartphone, but for people who work on the go, where a large tablet was too big and a standard smartphone too limited.
There are several reasons to consider upgrading from the Surface Duo to the Surface Duo 2 or getting a Surface Duo 2 for the first time. These include:
- Triple rear view camera system: There was a single internal camera on the original Surface Duo designed for teams and video calls. Other than these uses, the camera was terrible. This year we still have an internal video conference camera, but we also find three cameras on the back that are supposed to compete with other smartphones.
- 5G and NFC: Sub-6 and mmWave 5G radios can be found in Duo 2, a major upgrade from LTE radios. NFC is now also in place to support Google Pay. Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities have also been updated.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor: The Surface Duo uses a processor from 2019 so it’s nice to see the latest Snapdragon 888 powering the Duo 2.
- 90Hz refresh rate: Once you’re using a display with a refresh rate greater than 60Hz, it’s difficult to come back. While 120 Hz is the standard for today’s flagships, 90 Hz is a welcome addition on both large displays.
- Bigger displays: While there are still significant bezels on the Duo 2, we see an increase from two 5.6 “displays to two 5.8” displays with the same PPI. We are also seeing an upgrade in the Victus glass material.
- Eye bar: Although there is no external display on the Surface Duo 2, Microsoft is making some innovations with the part of the display that is visible between the hinges. Clear notifications are provided in this section and we look forward to evaluating their usefulness.
- Improved pen support: Samsung couldn’t find a way to simply take the S Pen with you on the new Z Fold 3, but Microsoft offers a solution for the Surface Slim Pen 2 where it is magnetically attached to the Surface Duo 2. It’s not a safe silo, but it’s better than nothing.
Unfortunately, all of these improvements start at $ 100 more than last year. Microsoft now also offers three internal storage capacity options of 128GB / 256GB / 512GB with the same 8GB of RAM available in all three models.
Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: room for improvement
Specifications for Microsoft Surface Duo 2
- processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
- To sue: Two 5.8 inch, 1892 x 1344 pixel resolution (401 ppi) AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Displays
- operating system: Android 11
- R.A.M.: 8GB LPDDR5
- storage: 128/256/512 GB internal storage, UFS 3.0
- Cameras: 12 MP wide angle, 12 MP 2x telephoto and 16 MP ultra wide angle, 110 degree rear view camera set. 12 MP f / 2.0 indoor front camera
- Connectivity: WiFi-5 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac / ax (2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.1,, NFC, GPS / Galileo / GLONASS / Beidou / QZSS
- Sensors: Dual accelerometer, dual gyroscope, dual magnetometer, hall sensor, fingerprint sensor, proximity sensor, dual ambient light sensor
- battery: 4449 mAh non-removable
- Dimensions (open): 145.2 x 184.5 x 5.5 mm
- Dimensions (closed): 145.2 x 92.1 x 11 mm
- weight: 284g
If we quickly look at the Surface Duo 2 compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, we see no dust or water resistance on the Duo 2, no wireless or reverse wireless charging, the Duo 2 displays are limited to 90Hz while the Z Fold 3 has refresh rates of 120Hz, and Microsoft’s trade-in offerings are clearly not as generous as what Samsung is offering. Software extensions for dual and split screen operation are offered in both devices.
While I am very much enjoying and exploring everything my Galaxy Z Fold 3 has to offer, I look forward to trying out the new Surface Duo 2. I can’t justify keeping these two expensive devices on innovative smartphones.