The $1,400 price tag for the Microsoft Surface Duo is highway robbery
Foldable phones are all the rage right now, but the Microsoft Surface Duo is a big miss.
When Microsoft announced its highly anticipated Surface Duo today, I had to do a double-take looking at my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. I was gobsmacked to find out this was the new foldable phone that everyone was hyping up for the past few weeks. But here we are, in August, with this abomination in front of us.
Microsoft is pushing the idea that the Surface Duo rethinks the foldable phone for the future, but it’s hard to look at the device and think it looks like anything but a relic from the past. Everything from the design of the device to the excusable missing features, don’t add up to what a flagship smartphone looks like in 2020.
Foldable? Yes. Pretty? Not especially.
Microsoft’s Surface line has always been about top-notch build quality and design, and while it succeeds in making its Surface laptops look awesome, the Surface Duo doesn’t look like a 2020 flagship phone.
Its large bezels seem like a design choice from three years ago, with a fairly big forehead and chin on both displays, and its size seems to miss the mark on what a foldable phone is supposed to be. A foldable phone is meant to be a phone when it’s folded up, and more of a tablet when its folded out. The Surface Duo just looks like a tablet that unfolds to be a bigger tablet. Just look at how awkward it looks to hold for a phone call in the promo video above. It almost looks like you’re holding an iPad Mini to your face.
The hinge looks good — I’ll give credit where credit is due if it works as well as it does in the video, then kudos to Microsoft for getting the fold in a foldable phone to be less clunky. Oh, wait. It’s actually two separate screens, not one foldable screen, so it’s not even a foldable when you think about it.
Missing essential features for a phone in 2020
Flagship phones are expensive these days, and foldable phones (because of an emerging technology) even more so, but it’s hard to look at some of the key elements and features that the Surface Duo is missing and justify the $1,400 price tag. Although you can potentially save about $700 on the Surface Duo via trade-in, it’s more than likely you’re going to be dishing out a lot of money if you go to buy one.
There’s no wireless charging included, meaning you can only charge by cable, and that Qi charger you have around your home is useless with Surface Duo. Wireless charging has been standard on most flagships and a lot of budget phones for years now, and it seems impossible to fathom why Microsoft would have excluded it.
Do you want to take good pictures? The 11MP camera on the Surface Duo likely won’t help with that. I’ll reserve complete judgment on the actual picture quality until I can see some pictures from the device, but in terms of flagship phone cameras, on paper, the Surface Duo just doesn’t add up.
With only a mono speaker and no IP rating insight, the list of missing features that are included in every other flagship phone on the market is unbelievable. Heck, it’s not even just flagships phones. Every feature I mentioned in the above features is all included in the $399 iPhone SE. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone SE and Surface Duo are very different devices, but these basic features are included in a device that’s a third of the price of the Surface Duo.
Lastly, there are no 5G capabilities. I know 5G isn’t a big deal right now, and it will likely be a couple of years before its widespread, but every other flagship phone launched in 2020 has been looking towards the future, and that’s 5G. In terms of future-proofing the device, Microsoft did a poor job.
Pre-order it if you want
Look, I can understand that there are people out there who may think the Microsoft Surface Duo is a cool first-generation product, with a unique design, and some cool tablet features. If that sounds like you, and you really want to get a hold of a Surface Duo when it comes out, then you can pre-order it right now.
If you want even more details on the Surface Duo before you make your decision, Windows Central has everything you need to know about the new device.
Microsoft Surface Duo
Two screens are better than one.
Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.