Foldable devices have been getting a ton of spotlight over the last year or so, but the Surface Duo has always been one of the more intriguing devices – and folks can finally preorder it.
Microsoft is claiming that the Surface Duo will revolutionize the way creatives and professionals work on the go, by providing a dual-screen solution in a mobile device – one that resembles a multi-monitor setup that you might see with a desktop PC. It’s a unique solution, and one that will definitely appeal to the right kind of user, and luckily folks can preorder it today, with the device arriving later on September 10.
Because of the unique dual-screen configuration of the Surface Duo, users can basically use the device as they would with two Android phones glued together. For instance, one of the ways we see ourselves using the device a lot is having something like Twitter open on one screen while pretending to be “online” in Slack on the other. Microsoft is basically enabling us to distract ourselves, but we can definitely see a ton of actually useful use cases for the device.
However, with a device that is both as beautiful as the Surface Duo is, along with the obvious benefits to productivity, Microsoft is asking for a steep $1,399 (about £1,070, AU$1,960). Surface devices over in the computing world have always carried a high premium, as they are basically the purest version of Windows 10 in a mobile computer. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s first foray into in-house mobile phone design pays off in the same way.
All about the hardware
With the Surface Duo’s focus on hyper-productivity, the hardware behind the device is critically important. To that end, the Surface Duo is rocking last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, which will likely be a huge disappointment to some of the phone hardware enthusiasts out there.
However, because it’s Microsoft, the Redmond giant was able to work with Qualcomm to optimize the processor to better work with this dual-screen setup. We haven’t had a chance to get our hands on the device quite yet, but from what Microsoft showed us virtually, the hardware is more than capable of doing some pretty heavy multitasking across both displays.
When you pair that older chipset with the fact that the Surface Duo is only rocking 6GB of memory, it kind of seems that the Surface Duo has been in development for too long, and mobile hardware has advanced past what will be featured in this supposedly cutting-edge device.
We did reach out to Microsoft for comment as to why this older hardware was chosen, and this is what it had to say:
“The Snapdragon 855 is time-tested and rock-solid, designed to meet the needs of the demanding, productivity-based experiences Surface Duo was created to deliver. It harnesses the best in 4G connectivity, delivering the fastest 4G speeds available today. For both connectivity and computational graphics, the Snapdragon 855 simultaneously drives 2 PixelSense displays. It’s a fast processor with great power management for all-day battery life.
In setting out to design and manufacture Surface Duo, much of the innovation is in the OLED display technology, the dynamic hinge, system integration, the interaction model, and software development. In order to start development of these advanced technologies and also qualify a mobile device, with multiple postures, we developed on an existing platform that allowed for long lead submittals and qualifications during the advanced technology development.
The Snapdragon 855 was the perfect solution when Surface Duo was first in development more than 2 years ago, and the stability of the platform and performance in the market allowed us to get to market in a timely manner, delivering the productivity-focused performance that our customers are looking for.”
At the end of the day, this older hardware likely won’t mean much on a day-to-day basis, but with the ultra-high $1,399 (about £1,070, AU$1,960) price tag, it may be a hard sell for anyone that justifiably wants the latest and greatest hardware in such an expensive device.
Still, with how well the device supposedly works with Office and the ability to multitask between displays, lacking the latest hardware might not be a dealbreaker for potential buyers – we know we’re still intrigued to see a Surface Phone.