We’ve been living for about seven months on Microsoft’s very first own-brand Android phone, the Microsoft Surface Duo, and that means it’s time for fire sales! Microsoft’s dual-screen device is now selling for 50 percent off its original $1,400 sticker price for $699. The Surface Duo has never projected itself as a strong seller — the device had a $$ drop in price just a month after launch. 200 – but this is easily the lowest price ever for the device.
Microsoft tried something different with the Surface Duo, creating an ultra-slim dual-screen Android device that lets you run two apps side by side or flip the 360 hinge into single-screen mode. However, the device was not rated well, thanks to its clunky form factor, buggy software, stratospheric price and weird spec decisions.
The nicest thing you can say about the Surface Duo is that it is an absolutely beautiful device. It is probably the thinnest Android device of all time at just 4.8mm thick when open. Two perfectly flat, uninterrupted sheets of glass form the front and back of each half of the device, giving the whole thing a nice minimalist notebook vibe.
The spec sheet is interesting. Inside are two 5.6-inch 1800×1350 screens with an ultra-thick 4:3 aspect ratio. The Snapdragon 855 SoC was a year old at launch and even older now. 6 GB of RAM for a device with two apps at once is also quite suspicious. The device lacks NFC, some form of water resistance, and wireless charging. And those 5.6-inch displays both run at 60Hz, a far cry from the ultra-smooth 120Hz displays found in most phones in this price range (even this new, lower price range included).
Not sure if I want to get a Surface Duo for half
Even at 50 percent off, I can’t enthusiastically recommend a Surface Duo, which says a lot about Microsoft’s original package. If you’ve been drooling over a Surface Duo for months, definitely go for it. But for people who value functionality over novelty, the Duo has a lot of problems.
Whatever the price, the Duo is just a clunky, uncomfortable device. Folded into single-screen mode, the 93.3mm device is one of the widest Android phones ever. The phone doesn’t even come close to the realm of “big” or “normal” – the next high-profile device to be that wide was the Nexus 6, at 83mm wide, and manufacturers quickly backed out of that width. because it was so uncomfortable to hold or put in your pocket. This device is a whopping 10mm wider than a phone that was previously considered too wide.
Android apps scale with screen width, so every app on the Surface Duo is large and doesn’t display a lot of content. Android is designed for super-sized phones, not extra-wide 4:3 screens, and it shows here. Rumor has it that the phone was originally designed for a canceled version of Windows, which explains why it seems so inappropriate for Android.
Microsoft wants the Surface Duo to be your primary device, but it’s terrible at quick, casual interactions like checking a notification or answering a text, making it a bad phone at any price. It is almost impossible to use with one hand. The device lacks the outer screen seen on many foldables; This feature allows users to see notifications and messages without having to open the phone. Since there’s no outer screen on the Surface Duo, you’ll need to use two hands whenever you want to use the device, as you’ll need to open the thing to get started. Once open, the Duo is still a two-handed affair, as the screen is so wide that you can’t hold the device and tap the screen at the same time.
Microsoft solved at least one major problem in November, when the company finally got a split keyboard for the Surface Duo via a SwiftKey update. Previously, you couldn’t type with both hands in book mode. Presumably, some bugs of the device have also been fixed by now. Microsoft has done a good job sending out monthly security updates, and an extremely slow update to Android 11 is set to arrive this summer. Microsoft promises three years of updates, so you’ve got a lot of support runway if you want to dive into a half-off Duo.