At today’s Surface event, Microsoft unveiled the second generation of its Surface Duo device, called the Microsoft Surface Duo 2. It’s the “world’s thinnest 5G device,” according to Microsoft, which is quite a claim to make.
The updated hardware carries over a few aspects of the first edition including the ultra-slim build, dual screens, and a 360-degree hinge capable of all the postures of its predecessor. This generation bumps up every other specification to what you’d expect to see in a 2021 flagship.
The new Duo features a Snapdragon 888 processor and 5G (mmWave and sub-6) connectivity. Along with that comes a 90Hz refresh rate on both screens, which measure 5.8 inches each. That’s not as good as the 120Hz refresh panel on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but it’s a nice improvement over the 60Hz from the original.
The Surface Duo 2 can be configured in 128GB, 256GB, and a new 512GB capacity, all with 8GB of LPDDR5 memory. Other improvements include the addition of NFC and almost 25% more battery at 4,449mAh. The Microsoft Duo will not ship with a charger in the box, joining the rest of the market in that unfortunate trend. Microsoft is selling a 23-watt fast charger separately.
One particularly notable improvement comes in the form of the triple-lens rear-facing camera system. You get a 12-megapixel main sensor at f/1.7 aperture with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 16MP ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture and 110-degree field of view, and a 12MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, f/2.4 aperture, and OIS.
The phone also has a 12MP, f/2.0 aperture front-facing camera. The main camera is capable of 4K video capture at 60 frames per second. This is a major improvement over the original Duo’s single 11MP camera.
The Surface Duo adds a Glance Bar to the hinge mechanism that can show you notifications without opening the device. The glance bar’s notification icons are color-coded, so you can see the notifications waiting for you and how many.
Of course, like the original Duo, the idea here is that you’ll be able to run two apps side-by-side, and some apps will be optimized to use both screens at once. The software was a major downfall of the original Duo, so we will wait for our full review to evaluate that part. Overall, this is a significant step in the right direction for Microsoft and the Surface Duo 2.
The new Surface Duo 2 will be available in two colors: Glacier, and Obsidian Black. Pricing starts at $1,499 and it is available for pre-order starting today, with availability on October 5. For more on what gets announced at the Surface event, you can watch live and follow our coverage.
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