Microsoft's first attempt at a dual-screen Android device wasn't exactly a success. Middling hardware and consistently buggy software held back what could have been a compelling experience. But with the Surface Duo 2, the company wants to change all that with a device that focuses on addressing the shortcomings of its predecessor.
Take one look at the Surface Duo 2, and you’ll notice it has a substantial camera bump. That might not seem like much of an upgrade, but it is because it means the Surface Duo 2 comes with a far more capable and versatile camera system than its predecessor. The original featured a single 11-megapixel above its right display. That meant you had to use that one camera for both selfies and regular shots. Add some imprecise software for switching between camera modes and the Surface Duo was never great at capturing snapshots.
With the addition of three new cameras, the Surface Duo 2 should at the very least allow you to capture a greater variety of shots. The triple rear camera array consists of a 12-megapixel wide-angle, a 12-megapixel telephoto and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide. The primary and telephoto cameras feature f/1.7 and f/2.4 aperture lenses, phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilization.
Less noticeable, but welcome all the same, are the tweaks Microsoft has made to Duo’s signature dual PixelSense displays. The new model features slightly larger 5.8-inch AMOLED screens that combine into a single 8.3-inch display. They’re also brighter and feature a variable refresh rate of up to 90Hz for smoother scrolling.
Other notable features include a new sound system Microsoft says delivers stereo sound no matter how you hold or position the Surface Duo 2. On the side of the device, you’ll find a nifty ambient display that shows things like how much battery life you have. Oh, there’s also a new Obsidian black that is quite attractive, and you can attach a Surface Pen magnetically to the device.
Internally, the Surface Duo features a Snapdragon 888 processor supported by 8GB of RAM. That’s a significant upgrade from the Snapdragon 855 the Surface Duo featured, which was already showing its age when the device came out in 2020. Moreover, with the move to Qualcomm’s latest silicon, the Surface Duo 2 adds 5G connectivity. In the US, Microsoft will sell a mmWave variant that will work with Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network. Powering everything is a 4,449mAh cell Microsoft claims provides all-day battery life. One thing to note is the Surface Duo 2 won’t come with a charger included in the box. You’ll either need to supply your own or buy the recommended 23W USB-C power adapter separately.
Pre-orders for the Surface Duo 2 open today, with general availability to follow on October 21st. The device will start at $1,499.99 in the US for the 128GB model. Microsoft will also sell 256GB and 512GB variants, which will cost $1,599.99 and $1,799.99, respectively. The device will also make its way to Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland and the UK.
Follow all of the news from Microsoft's fall Surface event right here.