Microsoft launches the Surface Duo 2, a dual-screen device you'll actually want to buy

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 Hinge
Microsoft Surface Duo 2 Hinge (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has announced the new Surface Duo 2 at a launch event on Wednesday.
  • The device features a modern chipset, 5G connectivity, and a new Glance Bar to display notifications when the device is closed.
  • Available colors include Glacier white and Obsidian black, and the Surface Duo 2 is available to preorder now for $1500.

Microsoft has finally taken the wraps off of the new Surface Duo 2, the company's second-generation dual-screen Android smartphone mobile device, at a launch event on Wednesday. The Duo 2 was among several new Surface devices that Microsoft announced at the event.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Android Central)

While the original Surface Duo didn't exactly live up to the hype, Microsoft seems determined to address those shortcomings with the sequel. While the design is essentially unchanged from the original, the most notable difference can be seen on the outer chassis; the Surface Duo 2 is equipped with a rear triple camera setup.

It features a 12MP primary sensor, a 12MP telephoto lens with 2X optical zoom, and a 16MP ultrawide camera, along with a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor. It may sound a bit paltry compared to some of the best Android phones on the market, but it's a huge step up from having zero rear cameras and the unfortunate 11MP sensor on the original. Speaking of, that front-facing camera has received a slight upgrade to 12MP.

On the inside, the device features two 5.8-inch PixelSense AMOLED displays that "combine" to provide an 8.3-inch 2688x1892 PixelSense Fusion display with a 90Hz adaptive refresh rate. Similar to the first model, those displays can be used in tandem or separately for multitasking and in various configurations. Microsoft has even equipped the displays with a new trick called Glance Bar that allows them to show notifications when the Surface Duo 2 is closed, thanks to the slight curve at the end of each panel.

While it doesn't necessarily make up for the lack of an external display like what's found on the best foldable phones from Samsung, it's a step in the right direction and a neat way to get around slapping a third panel onto the 5.5mm chassis. Users should be happy to know that the inner displays are also covered with Gorilla Glass Victus for added durability.

There are quite a few notable upgrades internally as well. The Surface Duo 2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, which sees Microsoft equipping its foldable with a modern chipset instead of settling for the previous year's model as was done with the original Duo. It also means that it gets 5G connectivity, with support for both sub-6 and mmWave, at least in the U.S.

Other notable upgrades include Wi-Fi 6, NFC, and stereo speakers. The battery capacity has increased to 4449mAh for "all-day battery life" with slightly faster charging at 23W, although you won't find a charger in the box. RAM has also been increased to 8GB, which should handle multitasking and gaming better, and there's now a 512GB storage option.

Surface Duo 2 Game Gameloft

Source: Daniel Rubino / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Android Central)

So with all these upgrades, what's missing? As far as we can tell, Microsoft made no mention of any official IP rating, which is unfortunate given the work Samsung has done to make the Galaxy Z Fold 3 more durable in that respect. There's also no way to wirelessly charge the device, to the dismay of those who are fans of the feature.

The Surface Duo 2 comes in the same Glacier white as its predecessor and a new Obsidian black. It's available for preorder now and retails in select countries for $1500. It will ship on October 21 with Android 11, although hopefully, it will get Android 12 sooner rather than later.

Microsoft also announced the new Surface Slim Pen 2 which can be used with the Surface Duo 2 and attaches magnetically thanks to a new bumper case. While it's attached, the Duo 2 will wirelessly charge the pen.

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Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.