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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Microsoft Surface Duo FAQ: Your top questions, answered

The Surface Duo is finally here. Here's everything you need to know about Microsoft's dual-screen Android device.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi | Updated: August 27, 2020 8:52:43 am
Surface Duo, Surface Duo price, Surface Duo launch in India, Surface Duo specs, Surface Duo Android, Surface Duo pre-ordersMicrosoft Surface Duo looks like two iPad Mini tablet that are joined together with a 360-degree hinge. (Image credit: Microsoft)

The Surface Duo is finally here, and it’s expensive. The dual-screen Android device costs $1400 and begins shipping on September 10 in the US. Even though Microsoft is yet to announce its plans to launch the Surface Duo in India, there’s already excitement around the dual-screen device.

You have questions about the Surface Duo, and we have answers. Here’s what we know so far about the Surface Duo, a device that belongs to a new product category that doesn’t exist yet.

What is Surface Duo?

The Surface Duo is a pocket-sized, dual-screen device that’s neither a phone nor a tablet. In fact, it’s a cross between a smartphone and tablets. The idea behind the Surface Duo is to increase productivity on a mobile device, something you can’t achieve on your existing smartphone.

Is Surface Duo a phone?

Yes and no.

Look, the Surface Duo is a proper smartphone. That means it can make calls, just like your iPhone 11 and Galaxy S20. It can also send and receive texts. However, the Surface Duo is a dual-screen device, allowing you to run different apps on each of the two screens. The Duo features two 5.6-inch displays that can rotate 360 degrees, thus turning the device into an 8.3-inch tablet. The device unfolds like a book. In contrast, the iPhone 11 or Note 20, follows traditional slab-like design. In a way, Microsoft is not improving the current smartphone design, rather it aims to create a new product category.

Surface Duo, Surface Duo price, Surface Duo launch in India, Surface Duo specs, Surface Duo Android, Surface Duo pre-orders You can use the Surface Duo in multiple ways, including the “tent” position to watch a movie. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Is Surface Duo a foldable device?

No. The Surface Duo is not a foldable device, like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Huawei Mate X. Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 2 which has a flexible glass display, the Duo usual real Gorilla Glass. In a way, the Surface Duo is a safer bet over a device like the Galaxy Z Fold 2. However, the purpose of both devices is to increase productivity and give users the ability to multitask with several apps on the screen. The Duo is also a sleek device at 4.8mm thick, making it the thinnest Surface device on the market.

What’s so special about Surface Duo’s software?

The biggest highlight of the Surface Duo is that it runs Google’s Android. Microsoft says the company has worked closely with Google to optimise Android app for the dual-screen device or you can also run the same app across both screens at the same time. This would mean you can edit a Word document on one screen and read a book on Amazon’s Kindle app on another screen. The Surface Duo has access to the Google Play Store and runs Microsoft Launcher. The Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is committed to updating Surface Duo with regular Android and security updates.

Surface Duo, Surface Duo price, Surface Duo launch in India, Surface Duo specs, Surface Duo Android, Surface Duo pre-orders The Duo opens and closes like a book. There is a visible bar in the middle of the device where the hinge is located. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Does the Surface Duo have a Snapdragon 855 processor?

Yes. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 rather than the latest  Snapdragon 865 Plus processor. Despite a year-old processor, the performance of the Surface Duo should be acceptable. Though don’t expect the Surface Duo to be as fast as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro. The Duo ships with 6GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage.

Does the Microsoft Surface Duo have a microSD card slot?

No. The device does not support expandable storage.

Does the Surface Duo support 5G?

No. The processor and modem inside the device do not support 5G. The Surface Duo does support the 4G bands.

Surface Duo, Surface Duo price, Surface Duo launch in India, Surface Duo specs, Surface Duo Android, Surface Duo pre-orders The Surface Duo is Microsoft’s answer to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Huawei’s Mate X. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Does the Surface Duo have a headphone jack?

No. The Surface Duo does not come with a 3.5mm headphone jack. You need to use a pair of Bluetooth-enabled headphones or USB-C wired earbuds with the Duo.

Should I be worried about battery life?

No one has tested the Surface Duo yet, so it is tough to say how long the battery lasts. Microsoft says that you can get up to 15.5 hours of local video playback, up to 10 days of standby time, and up to 27 hours of Talk Time. The Duo has a 3,577 mAh battery

Does the Surface Duo have stereo speakers?

No. The Surface Duo has a single bottom-firing speaker.

Does the Surface Duo work with Surface Pen?

Yes. Like other Surface products, the Duo also supports Surface Pen. In fact, the Duo supports the new Surface Slim Pen, Surface Pen, and the Surface Hub 2 Pen. The retail package does not include the Surface Pen.

How many cameras does Surface Duo have?

The Surface Duo has just one single camera above the right display. It’s 11MP with an ƒ/2.0 aperture and a 1.0um sensor.

Surface Duo, Surface Duo price, Surface Duo launch in India, Surface Duo specs, Surface Duo Android, Surface Duo pre-orders The Surface Duo is “purpose-built for mobile productivity”, according to Microsoft. (Image credit: Microsoft)

What’s in the box with the Surface Duo?

The retail unit comes with a Surface Duo, a bumper case, an 18W power supply, a USB-C cable, a SIM tool, and a quick start guide.

Which Microsoft apps are a part of Surface Duo?

The following Microsoft apps are pre-installed with the Surface Duo:

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Office Lens); Microsoft Outlook; Microsoft Teams; Microsoft OneDrive; Microsoft Edge; Microsoft OneNote; Microsoft To-Do; Microsoft News; Microsoft Authenticator; Microsoft Bing; Search; Portal; LinkedIn; Microsoft Solitaire; Collection; Surface Audio; and Microsoft SwiftKey.

Surface Duo, Surface Duo price, Surface Duo launch in India, Surface Duo specs, Surface Duo Android, Surface Duo pre-orders The Surface Duo has two separate screens, connected by a 360-degree hinge. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Which Google apps come pre-installed on Surface Duo?

Since the Surface Duo is powered by Android, it comes pre-installed with a number of Google apps including Google Search, Google Assistant, Google Maps,  Gmail, YouTube, among others.

Do all Android apps support dual-screen?

Yes. Any app available on Google Play Store will support the Duo’s two screens.

When and where I will get the Surface Duo?

India, unfortunately, is not the chosen market where Microsoft is bringing the Surface Duo. Right now, Microsoft is limiting the release of the Surface Duo to the US market. The device is available to purchase on Microsoft.com, Bestbuy.com and through AT&T. Pre-orders for the Surface Duo is already live in the US, where the device will go on sale starting September 10.

How much does it cost?

The Surface Duo starts at $1399 for the 128GB variant, which is the base model. The 256GB model will set you back by $1499. The storage is of UFS 3.0, which is of a faster variety. No doubt the Surface Duo is an expensive product but it’s not exorbitantly priced.

What colours does the Surface Duo come in?

At the moment, it appears that the Duo will be made available in Glacier. This is the same colour option that can be seen in the Surface Duo’s product videos.

Does Surface Duo support wireless charging?

No. The Surface Duo does not have Qi wireless charging. However, it does support 18-watt fast charging.

Does the Surface Duo have any sort of water resistance or waterproof rating?

No. The Surface Duo does not have any IP rating for dust and water-resistance. Devices like the Surface Duo and Galaxy Fold with moving parts are not only hard to repair but they also lack water-resistance as well.

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