There is a lot to say about the Surface Duo. I got mine day one and have been using it as my only mobile device ever since. I have also had the opportunity to try it out in Europe with mobile providers there and I''ve had no issues. I''ll begin this review with the...
There is a lot to say about the Surface Duo. I got mine day one and have been using it as my only mobile device ever since. I have also had the opportunity to try it out in Europe with mobile providers there and I''ve had no issues.
I''ll begin this review with the negatives, even though I feel like there are a lot more positives to the Surface Duo, the negatives are kind of polarizing.
-Lack of NFC. This did not bother me personally, because I only have one debit card that I use regularly, and it’s just as easy to pull my wallet out of a pocket, as it is a phone. And a smartwatch is more convenient than either. But if you rely on NFC, for maybe many different cards, in your day to day, and you don’t have or want a smartwatch, then this may not be for you.
-Lack of wireless charging. Also something that personally did not bother me because wireless charging causes more heat in your device and can shorten your battery’s lifespan, so I avoided it even on my previous devices. But if you are invested and have a dozen wireless chargers around your house, like I have USB cables, then again, this may not be for you.
-Only one camera. Multiple cameras, like a wide angle lens, are something I would like to see in a gen 2. However, I hope that they do not put them on the back and instead just add more cameras in a line to the inside because it allows you to use the best camera for both front and rear pictures/video, as well as keeping the cameras protected.
-Build Quality. Feel wise, this thing is absolutely stunning. It’s clean, it’s thin, and it’s perfectly balanced as all things should be. The hinge has been talked about a lot and for good reason, the hingeneers in Microsoft’s Surface department have perfected their art and it really does feel like a Surface device. It''s also nice to have a folding phone that doesn''t get permanently damaged if I touch it with a fingernail.
-Size. The size of it is a really good balance between usable and pocketable. It’s wider than a normal phone, but it has easily fit in the pockets of all of my pants with no issues. The wider screens make usable in both horizontal and vertical position much better than the 21:9 that most small screens have adopted. I have actually gotten used to using android in a wider format to the point that now when I pick up someone else''s phone, that other phone feels really compressed.
-Software. When it comes to the software, it is much more polished than it apparently was for the pre-launch reviewers. It takes some time to get used to the new gestures, but if you use the Microsoft Launcher on your android phone already, you’ll be able to get used to this pretty quickly. And I honestly have had very few bugs that weren’t normal small glitches that I find on every Android Phone.
-Camera. Now I know that I listed the camera as a negative but putting the camera on the inside protects it and keeps the outside flat and clean. I think that it also makes more sense than putting cameras on every side because doing so wouldn’t add anything to the usability. You have to open it to take a picture anyway, and you’re only going to use one of the screens as a viewfinder, so rotating the other screen all the way is pretty much the same as opening it to both screens. The camera quality is also much better than I thought it would be. I expected a nearly unusable camera, but it can handle taking pictures competently. It’s not anywhere close to the best camera on a phone, but I would say it’s in the running for best front facing camera that I’ve seen. You can see from the pictures I''ve uploaded, they are quite clean.
-Typing. The typing experience on the Surface Duo is really good. I actually wrote a good portion of this review on my Duo in MS Word before copying and pasting it in here. I could easily type faster on the Surface Duo than any smartphone that I’ve used in the past.
-Overall Usability. I don’t have to switch over to my computer nearly as often as I did with my old phone, because I can get more done on the Duo. In the past, if I ever needed to work with two sources, I would always move to my desktop or tablet to get real work done. But now I can use the Surface Duo to have both sources up at once and copy/paste information between them. I can click links in messaging apps, and they open on the other screen so that I don’t lose track of the conversation. I can look things up while talking in a video chat. It makes both work, and fun easier and cleaner. I can also now read the news while fact checking it on the other screen, all from a little device in my pocket.
It is expensive, but I believe that when compared to other devices in this price range, the Surface Duo offers something more, and something better. While I wouldn''t recommend this for everyone, if you’re in the market for a new mobile device right now, you have the money to spend, and the idea of a dual screen pocketable device really entices you, the Microsoft Surface Duo is incredibly well done. I hope to see the Surface Duo live strong in Microsoft''s Surface lineup for years to come.