Microsoft Surface Duo 2 Review
This is the microsoft surface duo 2.. This is a handheld pc, slash android phone now running android 11, with a redesign same basic premise: sort of like a passport foldy design displays fold in displays fold out, but last years model was expensive at 13.99 and it was lacking in specs. Clearly, the specs were set two years before the device ever released, so what microsoft did is they remedy that? But what about the software and other things were going to find out now? So the bad news is this year. It starts at 100 more. It starts at 14.99 for the gig model. You can also get it with 256 or 512 gigs youve got a price increase with each 100, so this is an expensive phone as to whether or not theres gon na be fire. Sales like there were with the original duo within six months of its release. Well, i cant say it depends on how well it does and all that sort of thing. What i can tell you is the basic design may look the same, but one of the differences is obviously you can now get it in black as well as the original white and yes, the black does show fingerprints and well show you some shots of just how Nasty can look just handling it for 10 minutes, but still it looks kind of good in black, so thats cool in terms of the specs changing its all for the better.
This is modern flagship. It should be because well its 1500 bloody dollars right. So we have the snapdragon 888 processor, which is currently the top of the line available for android phones, and you have eight gigs of ram, which is fine and im already talking to you about the storage options there. Now we have a 90 hertz refresh rate for the dual oled displays as again. This is two oled displays. They are a little bit bigger, so the total spanning diagonal measurement is 8.3 inches. Each one of them is 5.8 inches and ill talk about the displays in detail later, but thats good to see a fast refresh and its a variable, refresh theres, no user control over that it just does its own thing. Instead of the interior selfie camera, which you flip the phone, the other way to use as a world facing camera, this time we have dedicated triple rear cameras. So youve got your main camera, your ultrawide and your telephoto, which is a 2x telephoto thats, something a lot of people want and even i feel like it was a hurt. I mean i was bullish on surface duo and i liked a lot about it. The versatility for multitasking and stuff, but, having a i mean seriously, potato camera was just not a viable option. So now these are passable cameras, but well talk a little bit more about the cameras so thats good to see. We have nfc on board and no you dont have to open it up and hold it like a book to use it.
You can have it in the folded smartphone position to use it too theres still no water resistance here, so that even hurts more. When you get fingerprints all over and im sure that some of you will be de brand skinning it and all that sort of thing or you can wipe it with a damn cloth, its fine, i think technically its ipx one, which is probably damp cloth, safe and Thats about it, its got gorilla glass on the outside and gorilla glass invictus for the inner displays, which is currently the strongest gorilla glass available. Thats, probably a good thing for those who do leave it in phone mode with the displays facing out when you put it down on the desk youre, not going to worry as much so. Those are some good improvements. There weve got wi fi, ax, bluetooth, 5.1 and, of course, 5g, including millimeter wave for those of you, mostly who are in the united states right now, where we have more of it deployed, but still not enough and its sold unlocked in the united states. Its not sold by carrier, so it will work on any carrier. The major carrier that you wish in the united states and data speeds and reception on it were just fine. So those are the good things there now. Microsoft was very good about listening to feedback and all that sort of thing and part of the problem with the device was microsoft, glacial development speed, so something that they designed two years before release was already outdated, but also at first they were going to have this Run a windows mobile version of the operating system right just like the neo, also which never came to fruition.
So at the last minute they had to switch everything to android and make it more phone centric when clearly, this is still more of a handheld pc, laptop replacement for multitaskers, given that you have two screens and now with android 11, better support for dual screens and Multiple windows running and all that sort of thing, but in some cases i can see why they did what they did in the first generation and almost wish that they hadnt, but they had no choice for the second. What do i mean by that? The cameras on the rear: now we have a camera bump, whereas before you can fold it with the screens facing outside, and it would fold completely flat and still be reasonably slim honestly enough. Well now, the camera bump keeps the two planes of the phone separated which looks a little weird. It doesnt feel bad hand. In fact, a wedge is a little bit easier to hold on to but yeah i can see aesthetically speaking and ergonomically. They might have thought. Well, we dont want to do that. It was more nifty when you could just flip it inside out and switch the cameras, but we have no choice now doing with that. The fingerprint scanner is now embedded in the power button, which makes a lot more sense and its very good, very fast, theres, no facial recognition whatsoever on this phone now. The overall use case for the phone hasnt changed, like i said its gotten better with android 11.
Since there actually is dual screen support, but this is the alternative to something like the samsung galaxy z fold, three, which has a literal folding flexible display for those of you who are worried about the durability of that cracks right at the crease. All those sorts of things and, of course, the z flip too, though thats in a different price bracket right, but for those of you who see the utility and having two apps running at once, which often is really handy. For example, i use onenote to do my review, crib notes and i want to have a web browser open in the other screen to actually look at data information about the product that im reviewing or, if youre doing something like a microsoft teams or a zoom caller. Whatever it is oftentimes i need to have a document open and just that fact alone means a single screen phone isnt, so great, even if it has split screen mode. I mean youre talking little bits easier. So as a business phone doing those sorts of things, it makes a lot of sense and its kind of really delightful honestly, even if youre watching for fun stuff instead of business, stuff, youre, watching a game play through in youtube and on the other side, youve got Discord open so youre talking about the game. There are a lot of things that make this really delightful to use and different, and, of course, if youre using ebook readers, weve got amazon, modified version of kindle available and pre loaded on this google play book supports it.
You can actually have facing pages if youre holding like a little mini book, its kind of cute, its kind of fun, it kind of – is delightful to do the bad part about this is it is a wide phone now i have really big hands, but i have Borked a tendon in my wrist, so i can really feel the weight and the twerking on this sort of thing, its, not the easiest hold for doing things like taking photos now the other drawback, and why microsoft initially tried to just stick with the interior camera? Is you have to actually open up the phone to take pictures with the rear cameras which is kind of weird, but then again its kind of ergonomic, too sort of like using a galaxy z, flip? So im holding it like this, and this is pretty stable right and ive got my photo viewer down below. So i can see the pictures that ive taken, but its not as bad as it sounds, but then this is a little more unwieldy than just pulling a phone out of your pocket and going a snap snap snap right not to mention again. Did i say that this is quite a wide foam, its also gotten heavier too, i mean youre, adding triple cameras on here, a faster processor which no doubt requires a bigger heat, sink all that sort of thing 5g radios, so its heavier actually than a galaxy z. Fold its pretty well balanced its easy to hold.
It feels nice in the hand, but this one will weigh your pockets down too so its a compromised device ergonomically, certainly for those who are looking to use this as a substitute for any candy bar design, android phone or an iphone like all trendy, expensive phones. You do not get the charger in the box anymore, it supports fast wire charging. There is still no wireless charging, which is really too bad. The phone gets pretty toasty on the back and right to the side of the camera cluster. So i dont know if there will be heat, dissipation issues or just making the phone thicker, but its not there. Battery capacity is increased as well, not that the original duo had bad battery life, but they are adding 5g and a faster refresh display. So its 44 49 milliamp per hour battery, which is a pretty good size capacity, battery and ive, had no problem getting this to last me through the day running both screens, which is nice speaking of both screens, you do want to stick to multitasking. Yes, you can use apps by spanning them, some of them actually natively support it, like obviously microsofts own camera application does kindle does and that sort of thing you can. You can span youtube across the screens and its not a good experience. You still have those bezels theyre a little bit smaller, but youve got that divide right down the center of the screen, which is usually where your most important content is.
So this isnt really for those who want to watch videos on a big screen all day. Thats, a galaxy z fold or a tablet, or what have you speaking of the space between those displays, theres a little curve now to the glass actually front and back glass? Has that and that little bit of a curve is there to try to show you rudimentary information. So it shows the clock and itll show little notification counters for text missed calls that sort of thing. If the phone rings youll see a little blue bar going if youre charging it youll see a little charging bar. If you happen to wake it up or move it or something like that, its super tiny, it really is hard to read so its a nice idea, but its not exactly like samsung once did with the note edge, where its big and bold and useful. Once again, we have pen support and also supports the new slim pen too, which, as you know for my surface laptop and pro reviews its better than ever its very good stuff. So for those who are into natural feeling, note taking and responsive doodling and all that sort of thing you can load artrage on here or whatever art app you like, or use onenote or any other application. You want for note taking on this and thats pretty delightful too, especially because it feels like a little mini moleskine sort of thing, so its not unique.
Obviously, samsung galaxy products are available with s pens as well, but its a nice touch and its a form factor where that starts to make sense. Now, when it comes to the software, you know android 11, so better support for the dual screens, not nearly as buggy as the original duo was, which was pretty darn, buggy and bulky. At times this has been responsive now out of the box youre going to get an update thats like 638 megabytes. So there are a lot of things that microsoft obviously addressed for launch dates. So if you saw some pre release reviews of this, where folks said it was absolutely terrible, it got better its not that bad in terms of the gestures and you do want to stick with gesture based navigation, because you can do things like take your app from One screen and throw it towards the middle to get it to span two screens or, if youd rather have the app be on the other screen, you can just throw it over there. Those gestures require big gestures, its not like a little kind of thing. Youve got to do a big old swipe from the bezel going up. If you want to open the app drawer thats, a smaller kind of swipe, you get the feel of it honestly, its not so different or worse than any android phone in terms of responsiveness. Once a while, there are mistaps, which i saw on the original duo as well, but not nearly as much but once while you tap nothing happens, you tap again and im, not touching the other screen, because i thought maybe its because of confusing it or something.
But overall they did a good job with the software. Here you get microsofts own news app and you get microsoft edge on board. The news app is its okay. You know i prefer googles news feed to be honest, but its there. If you wish to use it, you can ignore it. Otherwise, and chrome is pre loaded as well. The standard for android phones, the rest of the stuffs, pretty normal android on board here, where the software does need. Some help is with the cameras, the camera, application and processing. We have a 12 megapixel main a 12 megapixel 2x telephoto lens and a 16 megapixel ultra wide and a 12 megapixel selfie camera. You can see the specs on screen for those and that hardware should be fine. I mean look iphones roll with 12 megapixel, sensors and people dont, say boo. It look because they take really good pictures and samsung has done the same. You dont always have to have super high megapixel ratings, but the image processing on this it was pretty responsive after the software update every once in a while, i did see shutter lag if youve got a an infant there, a little two year old that you want To take pictures of our cat with the zoomies, you might miss some shots there, but its not terrible by any means, but its the image processing here that it could be better in terms of dynamic range, for example, theres, an outdoor sunlit shots.
You can see some overexposure in the sunny spots on the grass. The portrait mode actually works pretty. Well, though – and it does a nice fake bokeh for the background there just overall, they could do better its, not a potato camera anymore, though i think a lot of people who are just looking for average everyday shots will be like this is just fine for me. You know that sort of thing uh, the video is really poor – yeah and the sample is 4k video taken at 30 frames per. Second, you can go up to 60 frames per second, if you wish, and a slow motion to all those usual bells and whistles, but it doesnt have great stabilization, even though it has oas built into the main camera yeah. Well, it doesnt look too stable its noisy. The exposure isnt well controlled, this sort of stuff can really be fixed with the software update. I dont know that microsoft has the engineers that they need to do the job, given that this is how theyve released the cameras for now so theyre passable theyre. Okay before we couldnt say that with the original duo, so thats good and the 12 megapixel selfie camera slash webcam is its fine. Oh one last thing: youd get stereo speakers now, instead of the mono speaker, always appreciated to me that wasnt a deal breaker before and the usual usbc its 3.2. If you want to know the version number for that, so overall thats microsoft, surface duo too.
Im still glad theyre trying to do this. You know i mean these days almost every phone, except for samsungs folding phones are everyday candy bar phones, where not a lot is going on and for those of you who are avid multitaskers just want something that can feel like a notebook literally a written notebook, not A pc notebook in your hand, but then sort of like a pc notebook. I mean this has its charm and it is unique and im always like dying to keep one and to use it because theres enough going on here that someday it could be destined for maybe not greatness, but very goodness. Im lisa from mobile tech review be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel for more cool tech videos and hit the notification bell.