On one hand, the original Microsoft Surface Duo was Microsoft flexing its design prowess with one of the most beautiful devices we’ve ever laid eyes on. But there were way too many frustrations and shortcomings for it to be a recommendation, short of being a true Microsoft believer. The company is now trying to right those wrongs as it has introduced the Microsoft Surface Duo 2.
As expected, the Surface Duo 2 includes dual 5.8-inch PixelSense displays, both of which are equipped with a 90Hz adaptive refresh rate. Even with the new camera hump on the back, you can still use these displays independently of one another, or combined for an 8.3-inch PixelSense Fusion display.
We still have the same gorgeous and stunning hinge that is buttery smooth to operate when you’re opening and closing the Duo 2. But Microsoft has also added a new feature it’s calling the “Glance Bar”. Now, you can see what notifications are coming through, even if the Surface Duo 2 is closed. This is similar to the “Peek Mode” available on the original Surface Duo, although that still required you to slightly unfold the device to see what notifications were awaiting you.
Moving to the cameras, Microsoft is swinging for the fences here. At least compared to the Surface Duo. Gone is the single 11MP camera that was only found on the inside display. In its place, the selfie camera has been upgraded to a 12MP sensor. But the real fun comes when you flip over the Surface Duo 2. Microsoft has included a triple-camera array, headlined by a 12MP wide-angle camera, 16MP ultra-wide lens, and a 12MP telephoto sensor capable of 2x optical zoom.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to fold the two displays back on each other, providing a flat surface for enjoying content, or jotting down notes. Instead, you’ll have to contend with the camera hump that puts the phone at an angle when the device is folded “completely” open.
Another disappointment with the original Surface Duo was the battery life. The Surface Duo 2 aims to fix that too, thanks to the larger 4,449mAh battery. Microsoft has even included fast-charging capabilities with support for up to 23W. However, Microsoft has decided to go the Apple and Samsung route, ditching the included charging brick in the box.
Going hand-in-hand with subpar battery life was software. The Surface Duo was released with Android 10, and one year later, that’s still the case as there’s no indication as to when or if the Surface Duo will get an update. Luckily, we won’t have to be too frustrated with Microsoft this go-’round, as the Surface Duo 2 is shipping with Android 11. We’ll just be keeping our fingers crossed that the Android 12 update comes sooner rather than later.
It was never confirmed as an “official” feature, but being able to use the Surface Pen with the Surface Duo turned it into a fantastic portable notebook. With the Surface Duo 2, Microsoft has announced a new Surface Slim Pen that is compatible with the Duo 2 and attaches magnetically to Microsoft’s new Bumper Case. And instead of needing to worry about owning a Surface Pro to charge the pen, you can now just attach the Slim Pen to your Surface Duo 2 and it will begin charging.
The real-damning factor about the original Microsoft Surface Duo was its exorbitant price tag, despite featuring outdated specs. As for the Surface Duo 2, pricing starts at $1,499, and the device is available in either Glacier White or Obsidian Black. If you want to pre-order the Surface Duo 2, you can do so starting today and units will begin arriving on October 21.