Surface Duo 2 hands-on: Just about everything gets upgraded


The Floor Duo 2 has new rear cameras, 5G and a brand new processor, arriving this fall.


Microsoft’s Floor Duo 2, introduced at the moment on the firm’s virtual Surface event, appears to be like prefer it’s addressed a whole lot of the previous Duo’s shortcomings: generally sluggish efficiency, one digicam and an absence of 5G. Whether or not it might compete with the Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 stays to be seen, however the Duo lastly has 5G, more cameras, a sooner processor and even a facet show. The Duo 2 begins at $1,499 and is available for preorder with an Oct. 5 launch date. Here is what it’s worthwhile to find out about Microsoft’s new Android telephone and the way it goals to compete. Will its performance finally feel better?

Read here for all of the methods it is improved in comparison with the primary Duo, extra about all of the Duo 2 camera upgrades, the brand new Surface Slim Pen 2, Surface Pro 8, Surface Go 3, Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Adaptive Kit

Floor Duo 2 design: A brand new Look Bar on the hinge

The Duo 2 appears to be like the identical, at first. It is like a folding all-glass Moleskine guide, with two separate screens linked by a hinge, versus one steady bendable show just like the Galaxy Fold 3 and Z Flip 3. It folds again right into a tent mode and may speak in confidence to see each screens directly, or flip again to make use of only one display screen. Glass covers the back and front panels, similar to earlier than.


A brand new edge show alongside the hinge exhibits notifications now.


The twin 5.8-inch AMOLED are a bit bigger than the 5.6-inch screens had been. They speak in confidence to about 8.3 inches of complete area, with 1,892×1,344-pixel decision per show. The glass protecting the shows is now Gorilla Glass Victus, which Microsoft guarantees might be extra sturdy. Additionally, the shows at the moment are barely curved in on the hinge, which appears to be like prefer it means much less of a niche between shows and a extra fluid look. The shows are 90Hz this time, too.

There’s one massive new characteristic: A Look Bar strip working down the facet of the Duo 2’s hinge that may present battery life and notifications, form of like edge shows different telephones have had. Contemplating the folded-up Duo 2 does not have an outer display screen on the opposite facet, this could possibly be helpful for incoming calls. 

The Look Bar lights up once you’re receiving a telephone name, and you’ll in any other case press the Floor Duo’s facet button to see whether or not you could have any notifications. You will positively should unfold the telephone to see any significant info. However the Look Bar appears to ship precisely what its identify implies: a glanceable view of what you may be lacking whereas your telephone is closed.  


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Floor Duo 2: Microsoft’s two-screen surprise will get one other…


Microsoft beefs up the Floor Duo’s processor and storage

The Duo 2 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor this time, similar to the Z Fold 3. The step up from the final Duo’s Snapdragon 855 chip ought to assist the telephone really feel extra fluid than the unique, which felt laggy. The telephone runs Android, just like earlier than, with Microsoft’s personal customized apps and a few interface touches within the OS which are optimized for these particular shows and the Pen stylus. The storage choices vary from 128GB to 512GB, and there is 8GB of RAM on the Duo 2. 

Throughout my transient hands-on with the gadget, the Floor Duo 2’s efficiency principally felt snappy. The software program usually saved up with my actions as I switched orientations and shifted between tent mode, the laptop-like place proven beneath, and one-handed mode. There have been a couple of cases during which there was a slight pause earlier than the software program adjusted to the telephone’s new place. However we have not spent sufficient time with the Floor Duo 2 to know what the constant efficiency is like.

The Floor Duo 2 appears well-positioned as a handheld gaming gadget, as long as builders proceed to optimize their titles for it. One of many first supported video games is Gameloft’s Asphalt 9 racing recreation, which felt fluid and quick on the Floor Duo 2 throughout my transient time with it. 

You possibly can maintain the Floor Duo 2 sideways and dedicate the complete high display screen to gameplay, just like a Nintendo 3DS. The underside display screen turns into a touchscreen controller and shows different helpful parts like the sport’s map. That definitely looks as if a compelling proposition for many who play a whole lot of cellular video games, nevertheless it additionally makes me wonder if the Floor Duo 2 continues to be destined to be a distinct segment gadget. Asphalt 9 is the one native Android recreation optimized for this expertise that Microsoft is speaking about at the moment. However greater than 50 video games on Microsoft’s Xbox GamePass Final streaming service additionally assist related controls. 


Microsoft’s new Pen magnetically prices and has vibrating haptics.


Microsoft’s Slim Pen 2 works with the Floor Duo 2

Microsoft’s still-stubby new Slim Pen 2 appears to be like attention-grabbing: It has vibrating haptics this time, which promise a extra tactile really feel when writing, and a “Zero-Pressure inking” characteristic that may write while not having to press on the show with the Pen tip. The brand new Pen prices magnetically with the Duo 2 when it is in a Duo 2 cost case.

Floor Duo 2 will get triple rear cameras

There’s now an exterior digicam on the Duo 2 — three of them, in reality: a f/1.7 12-megapixel telephoto lens, a f/2.4 12MP vast lens, and a 3rd 16MP ultrawide digicam, with optical picture stabilization. There is a night time mode, portrait mode, HDR and it might document at 4K as much as 60 frames per second plus document slow-mo. It seems like an entire package deal, particularly contemplating the final Duo solely had one internal digicam. The cameras even have a time of flight sensor for serving to with focus. 

The digicam package deal sounds extraordinarily promising, particularly in comparison with the earlier Duo’s lack of rear cameras. The digicam app Microsoft has on the Duo 2 additionally lets one show work as a viewfinder whereas the opposite can present earlier pictures for comparability: This could possibly be actually useful for attempting to make a shot higher.

The Floor Duo 2’s screens might additionally come in useful for many who continuously edit pictures on their telephones after taking pictures them. The 2 screens present some separation between modifying controls and the picture itself — once more providing you with a greater view with out having to obscure elements of the picture together with your fingers as you faucet.

The Duo 2’s inside digicam appears to be like just like earlier than: It is 12 megapixels. I am inquisitive about how properly it would deal with Zoom calls.


The twin-screen design continues to be largely the identical, though the shows are barely greater.


5G involves the Floor Duo, lastly (and NFC)

5G is now included within the Floor Duo, in contrast to final yr’s LTE-equipped Duo. The telephone helps mmWave and Sub-6 frequencies and likewise has Wi-Fi 6. The shortage of 5G on final yr’s Duo was considered one of its key lacking options for a supposedly premium work telephone. Additionally, onboard NFC (which was additionally lacking from the unique Duo) which ought to assist with tap-to-connect on a regular basis makes use of.

Will Microsoft’s Floor Duo 2 lastly really feel good to make use of?

The final Floor Duo did not win me over with its software program or really feel straightforward to multitask on. I like the thought of what it represents, however will Microsoft have the software program higher polished and optimized this time round? The {hardware} appears completely refreshed and really a lot able to compete with different premium units. The subsequent half is nailing the execution of all of it and exhibiting us we’d like a two-screen telephone within the first place. 

There’s potential within the Floor Duo 2, particularly for avid gamers, photographers, and people who love to look at video or learn on their cellular gadget. However we’ll should see if Microsoft can ship that have with out the compromises of its predecessor. | Floor Duo 2 hands-on: Nearly all the pieces will get upgraded


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