Microsoft Surface Duo 2 launches with a huge glow-up

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Last year, the Microsoft Surface Duo felt like a concept device. With our hands-on, we suggested it required a lot of improvements. One year later, the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 addresses most of the flaws its predecessor had.

Design refinement

The Surface Duo 2 retains an ultra-thin and flexible design at 284g with the same look and feel as last year. In its closed form factor, it is 11mm with it opening to a thin 5.5mm profile. On the exterior, the Duo 2 sports Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection with its displays coated in Gorilla Glass Victus. However, you still get a plastic frame around the device which is not the most reassuring when it comes to durability. Moreover, there is no official IP-rating on the Duo 2.

The design of the Surface Duo 2 is quite familiar

One large change the Duo 2 incorporates when it comes to design is the Glance Bar. This is not a separate display but rather, uses a curved display design to enable the inner displays to meet at the hinge. The result is a strip for glancing at your notifications among other things when the device is folded shut.

Display

Opening up the book style Duo 2, you find one 90Hz OLED display split into two. On its own, a single display is diagonally 5.8-inches in size with a 1,344 x 1,892 resolution and a 13:9 aspect ratio. When combined, both these displays give you an 8.3-inch display size at 2,688 x 1,892 resolution.

The Surface Duo 2 is designed for multi-app or single app use

With this design, you can have two separate applications on each display or have one application span to take the entire canvas. With this, you open up a new way to multitask which we assume is similar to last year. You can use this for boosted productivity, gaming or multimedia consumption. Complimenting this setup is a stereo speaker experience.

Hardware and software

Inside, the Surface Duo 2 packs the latest processing power. You find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, 8GB of RAM and storage options including 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. The flagship chip also enables 5G performance, which is a big selling point of the Surface Duo 2.

You can take full advantage of the Surface Duo 2’s internals and form factor when gaming

One stand-out omission from last year was NFC. But with this upgrade, it too makes it to the Surface Duo 2. But unfortunately, wireless charging is still missing with the 4,449mAh battery only capable of wired charging albeit at a quick 23W. The camera layout of the Surface Duo also sees a massive upgrade, with a triple-lens configuration. Here, you find a 12MP wide, 12MP telephoto with 2x optical zoom and a 16MP ultra-wide setup. Of the three cameras, both the wide and telephoto ones also support optical image stabilisation (OIS). Topping it off, there is also a 12MP front camera for selfies.

Microsoft’s software optimisation will define how successful Microsoft’s new flagship is

As good as the hardware package is, software is also crucial. Microsoft claims it has worked on improving this aspect of the experience and we hope we can see for ourselves. The Surface Duo 2 comes with a clean Android 11 skin with a hefty selection of Microsoft applications pre-installed.

Pricing and availability

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 is available to pre-order starting at $1,499 (Dh5,505.83) and will be available from October 21. We will keep you updated on local pricing and availability as we learn more.

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