Microsoft Surface Duo's first impressions: Underpowered and overpriced foldable phone
Microsoft is set to launch its novel dual-screened smartphone, the Surface Duo, on September 10. The pre-orders for the Android-powered device are currently live for an astronomical price of $1,400. Sure, we don't have an exhaustive idea about the experience of the Surface Duo, but the official specifications sheet gives us the impression that it is an underpowered and overpriced foldable phone. Here's why.
Two identical screens and a 360-degree hinge
The Surface Duo features two high-resolution 5.6-inch Full-HD+ OLED screens that are joined by a 360-degree hinge. There is no fancy, fragile, flexible screen here. When opened, you get an 8.1-inch tablet-like form-factor with thick bezels on the top and bottom, and in the closed state, it is almost 15cm tall and just over 9cm wide. By no stretch of imagination, it is pocket-friendly.
No external screen: Answering calls will be tedious
Viewing notifications and answering calls on the Surface Dup looks like a task. Since there is no external screen, you will have to open the device, preview notifications, and then take the required action. For calls, it is even worse. You will have to open the phone, stack the screens together, and then talk because there is only one receiver above the right screen.
And, where are the cameras?
At first glance, you'd wonder if the Surface Duo has any cameras. But there is an 11MP (f/2.0) sensor concealed above the right screen. Clicking selfies shouldn't be a problem but for shooting anything else, you might have to tinker a lot. Apropos, Microsoft's product commercial shows you everything except how to click photos on the Duo. Also, forget zoom, ultra-wide, and macro shots.
Under the hood
The Microsoft Surface Duo is powered by a nearly two-year-old Snapdragon 855 chipset, coupled with 6GB of RAM, and 128GB/256GB of non-expandable storage. For a $1,400 flagship Android phone releasing in 2020, it's rather dated and inadequate hardware. You will have access to Android and Microsoft's apps, an optimized UI for multitasking, but the hardware seems to be lacking luster, at least on paper.
Is the Surface Duo apt for you?
At $1,400, the Surface Duo seems pretty underwhelming. Plus, the kind of experience it aims to offer isn't for everyone. The design is far from being simple, the hardware is below par, and there is nothing extraordinary for an enthusiast smartphone photographer. With the Surface Duo, we can sense the future Microsoft is envisaging, but it needs some advancements, especially on the hardware side.