The Surface Duo is frustrating to both Windows and Android users, and that's a good thing

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

If you've been reading the tech internet this week, you've probably been unable to escape the barrage of coverage and commentary surrounding what might be described as Microsoft's most anticipated "product" since Windows 95 — the Surface Duo.

Microsoft Surface Duo

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

For those who've been living under a rock, the Surface Duo is Microsoft's "phone but not a phone" device that leverages the company's successful Surface hardware line and brings it to a much more mobile-friendly form factor. It is much smaller than other Surface devices, it supports the Surface Pen and Bluetooth keyboard accessories, and what else? Oh right, it freaking runs Android!

As soon as the device was confirmed earlier this this week, and prices and availability were announced, a whole new news cycle was created around the staggering starting price of $1,400. Our colleagues over at Windows Central created a poll (which we shared with our readers), asking the following question.

Will you buy a Surface Duo for $1,400?

AC/WC Surface Duo poll 8-12-20

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

I don't know about you, but the initial response after less than a day surprised me a little bit. Don't get me wrong; I'm not at all surprised that the majority of participants said that they would not purchase this device at that price. But I was surprised at the disparity.

Over three-quarters of poll participants were opposed to picking up a Surface Duo for that steep asking price. Now, these results may be affected by Android users' participation (in other words, if it were a poll of just Windows Central users and Surface stans, perhaps the numbers would be different.

Even still, there were some interesting and informative comments from both camps on the price of the device, as well as other factors that would affect their purchase decision.

The readers at Windows Central had a range of feelings on the subject, but on the whole, tended to sound a bit more open to the idea of the Duo.

I think it's worth it. I'm definitely buying it - Siegfried GredingI understand why they priced it where they did. I just wish they would have acted in good faith and bundled in some Earbuds and/or a pen. At $1400-1500, they do need to deliver on the experience, and I imagine that the experience is improved by those two accessories." - IndistinguishableI just went off a few days ago about the price of phones getting ridiculous after the Samsung presentation. Like 13/14/15 - 20 hundred is way to much for ANY mobile device. THESE MANUFACTURERS ARE TRIPPING!!! I'm getting this day 1 😏 - Mister Burns

Here on Android Central our readers had some strong opinions, as you might expect, and not many of them were favorable.

I desperately want this device but $1400 is a bitter pill for 6GB of RAM and an 18 month old chip (based on when the Samsung Galaxy 10 came out with an 855 chip in 2019). I have a sense that I'll be waiting for v2. - adamleonardAs a Galaxy Note fan who has been disappointed by what Samsung is doing to the series, I was so looking forward to this. Any company that will seriously compete with the Note series has my wallet's vote. Unfortunately, this isn't that competition. Microsoft had a whole year to figure this out, and they release this crap. How will their hype man Panos Panay spin this? I won't dive into the other notable omissions, but No NFC?!?!? That's the basic. I know 2020 has been a not so great year, but no NFC in 2020? Ok, so they don't want to patronize Google with GPay, how about lease the MST tech then from Samsung and add Samsung Pay. Aren't they buddies with Samsung? Then there's the Price. What exactly is $1399? The hinge? The Microsoft name? - JesseMacocoIntriguing device, love the design and the specs are good, but no. Not interested. It's simply put, too expensive. Speaking for myself, as just an average consumer, the entry to mid-range level devices is where I'm at. I've never missed any of the (supposed) extra bells and whistles on the premium or flagship phones. This too rich for my taste... PS Plus the Duo name is already used by the Google app...LOL... - adonesc76

As you can see from the poll numbers and post comments, the majority of our Android Central and Windows Central readers seem to believe that $1,400 is, in fact, too high a price to pay for the Surface Duo. But that wasn't the only interesting takeaway from this poll.

Folks in both camps and on both sites also lamented the lack of NFC support for payments, the seemingly lackluster "potato" camera, older SOC, low amount of RAM, and the unpocketability of this hybrid foldable. Let's also not forget that the Surface Duo is only optimized to work in the U.S. at this point. Several commenters mentioned that they thought the product would (need to) get markedly better in V2, just as the Galaxy Fold seems to have done, before they'd consider buying it, regardless of price.

As a newly declared mid-ranger champion, I was particularly heartened by the number of comments from people who said that they wouldn't buy any phone at that price range, whether it be a Galaxy Note Ultra, Galaxy Fold 2, iPhone 11 Pro Max, or Surface Duo.

So what about you, fellow Android user. Are you going to pick up a first-generation Surface Duo? Why or why not? Let me know what you think about the value proposition in the comments below.

Jeramy Johnson

Jeramy was the Editor-in-Chief of Android Central. He is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand.