The Microsoft Surface Duo is both one of the most interesting devices Microsoft has released in years… and also possibly one of the hardest to justify buying.
With a list price of $1400, it’s a first-generation dual-screen handheld that could eventually pave the way for a new type of computing device. But right now it gets pretty lousy reviews for doing many of the things people expect from a handheld… you know, phone stuff.
But $1400 is still a lot of money to spend on a new type of device that’s something between a tablet, a phone, and… I don’t know, a book maybe? So does a temporary $200 price cut change that?
It’s only been about a month and a half since the Surface Duo began to ship to customers, but Microsoft is already running a $200-off sale that brings the starting price down to $1200, which is… still a lot of money.
Microsoft has apparently been pushing software updates that address some of the bugs encountered by early reviewers. But no amount of software updates are going to make up for the unusual ergonomics when holding this thing in one hand for use as a phone.
That said, if you don’t actually use a phone to make calls all that often, there are a lot of advantages to this type of design over what you get from a typical phone or tablet. It’s designed for viewing two full-screen apps at the same time on its twin 5.6 inch displays, which could make it a great option for multitasking and/or copying and pasting data between two apps without having to switch which is on the screen.
You can use one screen as a sort of kickstand to prop up the phone for watching videos or making video calls. And if you fold the Duo like a laptop, you can use the bottom screen as a keyboard without obscuring your view of the top display.
Only you can decide whether it’s worth paying $1400 (or $1200) for those features. But I can’t help but feel that the price drop isn’t really enough to make the Surface Duo all that much more attractive.
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Keep in mind that this is a gadget with dual displays, two sets of accelerometers, gyroscopes, touch sensors, etc, a super-slim design, and other features that make most of the lower prices in the poll implausible. I’m just curious how much lower the price would have to be for the Surface Duo to be a compelling buy.
Here’s a reminder of the
phone device’s key specs:
|Displays||Dual PixelSense Fusion Displays
Each display: 5.6” AMOLED, 1800×1350 (4:3), 401 PPI
Combined/opened: 8.1” AMOLED, 2700×1800 (3:2), 401 PPI
Display Material: Corning Gorilla Glass
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|Storage||128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage|
|Camera||11MP f/2.0 1.0 µm PDAF and 84 degree FoV
4K video recording at up to 60 fps
|Battery||3577 mAh (Up to 15.5 hours local video playback)|
|Wireless||LTE 4×4 MIMO Cat 18 DL / Cat 5 UL
AT&T, T-Mobile (unlocked)
AT&T, Verizon (locked)
|USB||USB 3.1 Type-C|
|Dimensions||145.2mm x 186.9mm x 4.8mm (open)
145.2mm x 93.3mm x 9.9mm (closed