Microsoft is busy testing the upcoming Surface Duo internally, a device that has two screens on two equal sides, with a 360-degree hinge between them. So while neither display panel is foldable, that hinge gives you plenty of use case flexibility.
The Surface Duo will be just 4.8mm thin when opened, and thus 9.6mm thick when shut. A bunch of specs of the device have been leaked today, so here’s what we should expect.
The Surface Duo’s screens will be identical – 5.6″ each, AMOLED, with 1800×1350 resolution and huge bezels. The device will run Android 10, with a planned update to Android 11 hitting very soon after launch. Support for the Surface Pen is built-in.
The chipset at the helm is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 from last year, which is a very odd choice, let’s not forget that iconic devices that arrive on the market with yesterday’s flagship SoC have never done well, sales-wise. The reason for this move apparently has to do with the fact that Microsoft had finalized the Surface Duo’s internal design way before the Snapdragon 865 was a thing, and there’s simply no room inside for the X55 5G modem that Qualcomm requires companies use in tandem with the 865.
The device has 6GB of RAM, which may still be okay for Google, but is mid-ranger level in the very competitive Android smartphone market, where flagships now start at 8GB and go up to 16GB. Anyway, there will be 256GB of storage too, and it’s not expandable. The camera (singular) will be an 11 MP f/2.0 snapper with 1.12um pixel size, which once again feels like a blast from the past (aside from the odd resolution).
A fingerprint scanner will take care of biometric authentication, and the battery capacity for the Surface Duo is said to be… 3,460 mAh. That’s small, no matter how you look at it. The only comparison in which it doesn’t come up short is with the Pixel 4, but that phone has appalling battery life for a reason.
There’s no NFC and no wireless charging, and no 5G either. All of Microsoft’s pre-installed apps will support working across both screens with drag and drop between two different apps where applicable, but not all third-party apps will be capable of this. It’s going to be up to developers to add such functionality, and we all know how well that went for Android tablets having UIs that aren’t just a phone’s but scaled up.
The Surface Duo may be “almost ready” to launch, despite Microsoft claiming that it would only arrive in stores towards the end of this year. Plans could have changed in the meantime.