The Microsoft Surface Duo and Duo 2 are mobile devices that get their name from the dual-screen design that makes the devices unlike just about any other phone or tablet currently on the market.

Shipping with Android software and a bunch of Microsoft apps and services pre-installed, it’s easy to think of them as phones. But what if Microsoft released a Surface Duo without the ability to make calls or connect to the internet over mobile data?

There’s at least some evidence that the company considered making a WiFi-only Surface Duo 2. Software hacker Gustave Monce spotted references to a WiFi-only model in kernel source code for the Surface Duo 2.

And in some ways, the move would make sense. When Microsoft first introduced the original Surface Duo, the company didn’t really call it a phone. Sure, you can use it to make calls, but the dual-screen device isn’t the size or shape of a typical phone. When folded in half and used as a single-screen device, it’s got a 4:3 aspect ratio that’s a bit awkward to hold by your ear. And when unfolded it’s more like a book than a tablet thanks to the line that runs down the middle.

The unusual design allows you to run one app on each screen or place the Duo on a table and use it like a tiny laptop, with a virtual keyboard or other input device on the lower screen and an app running on the top screen. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities.

But the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 were both pretty expensive devices at launch, and it’s unlikely that cutting the cellular modem would shave that much off the price. So it might be hard to justify spending $1000+ on a dual-screen handheld when you could get a much better Android tablet + keyboard combo for a lower price… unless you really want a foldable device that’s small enough to slide into a pocket but versatile enough to use as a phone or tablet-sized device.

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20 replies on “Would you buy a WiFi-only Surface Duo?”

  1. Great idea and it would be just the same at the Gemini pda wifi only model.
    The flip system is perfect for compact smart browing.

  2. I’ve been looking for an 8″ Android tablet to replace my current Lenovo Tab4 8+ for some time. Main use, reading books, secondary surfing but used on my commute so fitting in back pocket dictates size. This would be brilliant! It might still be if I can justify a grand!

  3. As a business tool this could work. Think about retail workers who want a portable device that can be used to perform product look ups and provide a large, clear screen for show and tell with the customer. If a large enough retail giant ordered enough then Microsoft would definitely consider it.

  4. Yes. That’s what I did actually when the 256 dropped in price. Already have a galaxy S22U and iPhone 14PM so my surface duo was an expensive eReader and multitasking media consumption device. Browse the web on one screen, yt the other. But why don’t you get a fold? Screen, not dust resistant and lackluster camera system.

    1. IPhone 13PM…was reading about the iPhone 14 so that was what was on my mind…lulz

  5. If it officially comes with Windows 11 for ARM and continuum capability, and good battery life

  6. Hell, i’d buy one that ran linux, just a laptop i can slip in my pocket for when i get an idea and want to spend a half hour trying to hack an outline of code to the idea on the spot

  7. I currently use my Surface Duo as a WiFi only productivity device, not as a phone, linked to my corporate work account. It works very well in this role.

  8. I’d buy it if it came with Windows 11, and ran on an ARM chip.

    Android was the right OS for it as a Smartphone. But if it’s going to be a wifi-only device, I would prefer Windows.

  9. I voted No, but won’t buy a Surface Duo as a phone either. They’re too expensive for what you get. I’m happy with my tablets.

  10. Yes. My wife wants one to use as an eBook reader and for note taking. She won’t use the cell capabilities. If it makes it cheaper, I’m all for it.

      1. I want a wifi only Duo for the same reason.

        It took a little fiddling with apps and settings, but I got very comfortable reading ebooks on a tablet. I ended up using Coolreader, going with a solid black background (day or night mode), good old ANSI Dark White (#AAAAAA) text for daytime reading, and ANSI Dark Yellow/Brown (#AA5500) for night reading. I did it quite a bit on my Fire HD 6 before the batteries finally stopped holding a charge, and still read that way sometimes on my HD 8.

        It’s definitely not better than reading on E-Ink. But if you’re traveling and limited on how many devices you want to carry, it’s really not as bad as using default Kindle or Google Reader settings.

  11. Well sure, that’s how I use the one I bought (at $400). If it has been cheaper by virtue of not having a modem that’d be even better.
    The cellular modem wastes a lot of power, even in standby, even if there’s no SIM or cellular plan. The standby battery life with it enabled is only about a day, while with it off the device lasts a week. This makes it a pretty nice e-reader. It’s an OK tablet, at the right price.

  12. Nope, you could get a umpc for what you would use a wifi only surface duo. A umpc would be faster, better and cheaper too without being locked into android.

  13. Yes, if the price were right. I have the LG v60 dual screen and there’s definitely use cases where the dual screen beats current tablets. But if it stops being “portable” despite it being pocketable, it couldn’t cost more than normal tablets. It would still be a niche device though

  14. No – Microsoft’s been too slow to update Android on the Surface Duo line. Likewise, the ROM community is fairly inactive.

    Definitely would pickup one if it got official LineageOS support though.

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