Microsoft released its first Android phone back in 2020, the Surface Duo. It's the only modern Android device with two side-by-side displays (not counting the add-on cases for various LG phone), and even though it's still a questionable buy at its new $999 retail price, Microsoft plans to sell it in more regions this year, starting with Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany on February 18.
Sitting on the cutting edge of novelty gets real expensive, real fast. Take the Surface Duo — software from Google, hardware and some integrations from Microsoft. It's a remarkable dual-display device, but costs too much and, furthermore, is difficult to finance. But if you're able to plop a chunk of change down for it, the Duo is available on Amazon for $400 off right now.
Microsoft's first Android phone is the Surface Duo, a dual-screen device released last month. It was an extremely tough sell for anyone but the most die-hard Surface fans, but now it has dropped to a slightly-better price of $1,199.99, a $200 discount from the original MSRP.
Over the past few years, smartphones have stopped evolving at a rapid pace and settled into iterative, yawn-inducing update cycles. Just like how a desktop PC from eight years ago can still handle basic productivity tasks in 2020, a flagship smartphone from two or three years ago isn't radically different from what you can buy today, and there’s only so much room for innovation in the flat glass slab form factor. This has sent some manufacturers to go back to the drawing board in search of something more radical and exciting. Samsung has released severalfoldablephones, LG is developing a dual-screen device, and now Microsoft has the Surface Duo.
The Surface Duo is Microsoft's first smartphone since the collapse of Windows Mobile, and it's no ordinary phone either. The dual-screen form factor is designed to improve productivity, but it also introduced some software problems that Microsoft hasn't entirely solved. The hardware was also a common point of criticism, as there are more than a few missing features compared to other premium Android devices.
There's a lot that can be improved with the Surface Duo, and now that a second model is in development, here are some aspects of the phone that definitely need to be changed in future revisions.
We got our hands on Microsoft's Surface Duo last month, but we weren't allowed to give it the ol' bend test. Now that the device has been released into the wild, YouTuber Zack JerryRigEverything Nelson tried it out in one of his infamous durability videos — and the results are a little surprising.
The Surface Duo is one of the few recent examples of a new form factor in smartphones. Although it shares similarities (and some use cases) with foldable phones, such as the Galaxy Z Fold2, the choice to use two individual displays comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. That begs the question: is the Duo best used as a primary phone, or a secondary device to compliment an existing phone?
The Surface Duo is the first modern Android device with integrated dual screens, and Microsoft had to make some changes to Android to properly support the functionality. We already talked abut the Duo extensively in our review, but it's worth talking more about how the phone's version of Android differs from what we're all used to. While it may not look too different on the surface (pun intended), there are some notable changes lurking underneath.
After much anticipation, Microsoft launched its very first Android device last month. In Corbin's review, he called it a phone for enthusiasts, and that's something Microsoft seems to be embracing. Microsoft has released the Surface Duo's kernel source, which will assist third-party developers in building custom ROMs and kernels for the unique device.
A year after the phone was first revealed, the Surface Duo is finally available in stores. Microsoft's dual-screen invention is now available at a handful of stores, and pre-orders for the Duo are starting to arrive at buyers' doors.