Surface Duo 2: Everything we know about Microsoft’s next dual-screen phone

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In 2020, Microsoft released the Surface Duo, and it didn’t become as popular as the company had hoped. Reviewers and early adopters of the device noted problems with the software, cameras, and even the display.

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A year later, Microsoft is apparently working on a follow-up to the device, code-named Zeta — and there are even photos of a supposed prototype circling the internet. This is believed to solve a lot of problems from the first Surface Duo and may arrive later this year. Here’s a look at everything we know about the device so far.

Price and release date

Peak Mode on Surface Duo
Jeremy Kaplan/Nerdshala

Microsoft has been pretty quiet about the Surface Duo 2, and there’s no official word yet on when to expect it. However, since Microsoft usually releases new Surface hardware in the fall, you can expect Surface Duo 2 around the same time the original Surface Duo issued. It will be around the end of October, just in time for the holiday season. However, the pandemic has had an impact on the mobile phone chip industry, and this could lead to a delay in Duo 2.

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Microsoft also has a “flash sale” on the Duo at the moment, selling it for more than half that, suggesting a new model may be released soon. When it comes to pricing on the Duo 2, however, we expect Microsoft to keep the same price range as the original Surface Duo. Many had said that the device was initially too expensive, but coming from the Surface range, it will again be a costly undertaking. You can expect the Duo 2 to be around $1,400.

design

Surface Duo 2 now in black
Tech Rat / YouTube

One of the biggest rumors about the Surface Duo 2 are photos of the alleged prototype seen in a video on youtube. Photos show a dual-screen foldable that looks completely different from the original Surface Duo.

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Looking at the pictures in the video, which Windows Central Claims Legitimate, there are some major changes. The first of them is a new angled camera hump at the back, which may affect how much the device can fold on its own. A second change is the overall color, as it looks like Microsoft may introduce a black version of the device for the lineup alongside the Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 4.

The third change includes the fingerprint reader, which has been removed from the center of the device and possibly integrated into the power button. Finally, there’s the USB-C port, which has now been moved so that it’s centered on the bottom right of the screen.

There is even a chance that Microsoft’s Duo 2 could go the way of the Surface Pro lineup. Microsoft had filed a patent As for the kickstand on hinged devices, which is the case with the Duo. The term wasn’t mentioned in the patent — instead “integrated support” was mentioned — suggesting it might not actually be for the Duo.

camera

Surface Duo sitting on the beach.
Jeremy Kaplan/Nerdshala

Looking at the images shown above, the Surface Duo 2 may feature a camera system similar to that seen on other smartphones. It is believed that the new camera hump on the back of the Duo 2 could house three different lenses, all for world-facing photos. This will address one of the biggest complaints of the original version.

Of those three lenses, one is an ultrawide lens, one is a telephoto lens, and the third is a standard lens. We don’t know much about megapixels or sensor quality, but having three lenses really expands the Surface Duo’s photography possibilities.

Coming in at 11 megapixels, the camera on the original Duo isn’t necessarily bad, but performance in low light conditions made it difficult for some to use. The fact that a world-facing photo requires the camera to rotate the screen every time also complicates things. Sometimes, the software was buggy, and the camera or screen would not activate.

With a dedicated camera hump on the rear, the Duo 2 might sell more like a traditional phone, where you can use the external camera for your photos around the world instead of relying on your selfie camera for everything. This is significant at a time when other phone makers are including dual-, triple- or even quad-camera setups on their devices.

Glasses & Display

Some apps on Surface Duo 2 screen.
Jeremy Kaplan/Nerdshala

One of the biggest criticisms of the original Surface Duo was the fact that it had “last year’s” Qualcomm Snapdragon processor under the hood. It also lacked many features like NFC, rear-facing camera and wireless charging. Much of this is expected to change Surface Duo 2, according to Rumors from Windows Central.

Surface Duo 2 could come with “latest flagships from 2021”. If this is true, then it will most likely be the Snapdragon 888 processor, which can be found in other phones like the Galaxy S21 5G. This means that the Duo will eventually get 5G support for faster internet connectivity. It will also take support for NFC, allowing for contactless payments at subways, restaurants and other locations – a feature that is becoming increasingly common to use during the pandemic.

You can also expect the same amount of basic RAM and storage. These include 6GB of RAM as well as 128GB or 256GB of storage on the original Duo. A jump in RAM would be respectable, but it’s unlikely at the moment.

But the jump in processors also won’t be too bad. Since the Surface Duo has two screens and is all about multitasking, a new processor can help boost the responsiveness of the device. Simultaneous opening of the app will be even faster and you will get more space to play. Even gaming may see some growth, especially since Microsoft have worked to improve Xbox Game Pass for Duo allows you to use a second screen as a controller.

Software

The Surface Duo 2 folds up in tent mode.
Jeremy Kaplan/Nerdshala

As far as the software is concerned, you can expect the Duo 2 to ship with Android 11. The original Surface Duo came with Android 10, and, as of writing, still hasn’t received the Android 11 update. The reason for the delay could be the fact that Microsoft is working with Google to tweak Android on the Duo 2 first. But this is just a rumour.

Android 11 comes with improvements for dual-screen devices and foldables, so don’t count it out for the Duo 2. Other dual-screen phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 have already received the Android 11 update, and Google is already working on it. Beta testing Android 12 on Pixel phones. So even if the Duo 2 launches with Android 11, it may still be a year old. However, Microsoft said it was committed It’s three years’ worth of updates to the original Duo, so if the phone comes with Android 11, it will eventually get Android 12 as well.




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