6.4/10
Informr score
The Microsoft Surface Duo currently has an Informr score of 6.4 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 19 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Solid Design
  • Thin for a dual-display phone
  • Strong hinge
  • Supports Microsoft Pen

What's bad

  • Buggy software
  • Expensive
  • Poor camera

The Microsoft Surface Duo blurs the lines between tablet and phone. It’s bigger than a phone, smaller than a tablet, has two screens, and folds like a book. Does this duality add to the quality, or is it double trouble instead?

Design

The eye-catching design makes the Microsoft Surface Duo hard to forget. The two-panel screen allows this device to fold up like a book -- something that helps it stand out from the pack. There is no outer display unless you want to keep the phone's screens folded out instead of in. As such, the outside is unassuming and a little bit plain. But reviewers found the Microsoft embossed icon is a nice touch.

Display

The Duo in Microsoft Surface Duo is a nod toward the phone’s two screens. You can use them as a single large display measuring 8.1 inches.

Though reviewers found the considerable gap in the middle of the two displays made it hard to immerse themselves in movies or games though, being able to queue up two apps at once has major appeal. One small caveat is that the apps you want to use for it need to support that feature.

Performance

There’s a lot to like about the Microsoft Surface Duo. But according to reviewers, it also needs a lot of work. Reviewers found the software buggy. While the phone has plenty of processing power and is generally smooth, there were several times where something interrupted the flow, frustrating reviewers. For example, reviewers noted they sometimes had to open the phone multiple times to get the screens to turn on or that they’d sometimes go dark while using them.

Software & Storage

The Microsoft Surface Duo runs on Android 10, which felt odd to some reviewers since Microsoft had its own operating system. Many reviewers felt this was to keep the phone design streamline and thin.

The phone has plenty of storage space, offering up to 256GB of storage. But once you’ve filled up the phone, you’ll need to shift things to cloud storage or uninstall or delete items since the phone doesn’t offer an extra expansion slot.

Cameras

The camera on the Microsoft Surface Duo was the biggest disappointment for reviewers. They noted that on top of being difficult to get to the camera function, the images captured also lacked clarity and depth. If you’re looking for a phone to take stunning pictures, the Duo isn’t the best pic for the price.

Battery Life

On the other end of the spectrum, battery life impressed reviewers. But it probably should when the phone includes two batteries--one under each display. Some reviewers said they got one full day while others said they could use the phone for a day and a half before needing to charge it.

Audio

There wasn’t anything mentioned about the audio being good or bad. As such, you can likely expect a reasonable audio experience. Tiny phone speakers rarely blow anyone away, so if you’re planning to sink into your favorite games or media, plan to bring your headphones along.

Specs at a Glance

  • Glass chassis
  • Dual OLED displays
  • 2.84 GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 855 processor
  • 6GB of RAM
  • Android 10
  • 128 to 256GB of storage
  • 11MP camera
  • 3577mAh battery

Bottom Line

The Microsoft Surface Duo got a few things right with their attempt at a foldable phone. Much like the other foldable phones on the market, there are still problems that need fixing. However, it is a good start. With that thought in mind, the lack of 5G compatibility and the price tag doesn’t exactly match when considering how well the phone will age.

ZDNet says, “It's an interesting concept, but it definitely feels like a Generation 1 solution that's in search of a problem more than a solution to a problem I have with mobile devices.”

Wired states, “The two displays aren't the problem; in fact, they're exemplary. Ever use two computer monitors at the same time? It's hard to go back to a single screen afterward, and the same is true here. But what drains the Duo of its mobile multitasking charm is glitchy software that makes this [expensive] phone feel like a work in progress.”

The Verge comments, “I can see Microsoft learning from all those mistakes, and I’m glad to see the company back in the fight again. I hope that this first Surface Duo isn’t its last round.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
2.84 GHz
Screen Size
5.6"
Camera
11+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Ars Technica

You can argue that foldable smartphone technology is not ready yet, and you might be right, but that doesn't mean a $1400 stop-gap device is a good idea. The Surface Duo isn't good at anything, while still bringing a lot of the cost and complication of a foldable smartphone. The required tradeoffs a...

- Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica
Android Police

On paper, the Duo is objectively one of the worst values in the smartphone industry at its MSRP of $1,399. However, you can't get this dual-screen functionality anywhere else, and it does absolutely improve productivity and general multitasking. There's a lot of room for improvement, but Microsoft h...

- Corbin Davenport, Android Police
Review Geek

The camera is still disappointing. I guess I’ll carry something else. But the truth is, you shouldn’t have to settle for less when you spend $1,500. Microsoft is onto a great idea here, and someday the Surface Duo 2 or 3 will likely be a fantastic smartphone that anyone should buy. But for now, unle...

- Josh Hendrickson, Review Geek
ZDNet

I love the Microsoft Surface Duo hardware, except for the bezels, but there are too many compromises with the specifications and beta software. Microsoft provides a glimpse of what is to come in the future and I look forward to the next generation device that is sure to apply many lessons learned wi...

- Matthew Miller, ZDNet
Pocketnow

Other than the mediocre camera, the hardware is beautifully well designed and robust. Yes, there are bezels, but I prefer having those since it gives you someplace to put your fingers in order to hold the device without activating things. The 360-degree dual hinge is practically perfect. The problem...

- Adam Z. Lein, Pocketnow


Prices (Where to Buy)




Ask the Community


No questions for the moment.


Resources


Helpful Links Share / Embed

Maybe one of your friends will find this review helpful? Please help us spread the word.


Quick view

Screen Size
5.6"

The Microsoft Surface Duo's screen size is 5.6 inches with 1350 x 1800 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.84 GHz

There is a Qualcomm SM8150 Snapdragon 855 (7 nm) Octa-core 2.84 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 10 operating system (OS).

Camera
11+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 11+ megapixel camera.

There's no secondary front camera.

Storage
128/256 GB

Internal memory is 128/256 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
3577

The phone is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 3577 battery. Microsoft's performance ratings are 1620 minutes.

Surface Duo Specs

Overview
Release date September 10, 2020
Regions available USA
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
LTE:
700/800/850/900 /1700/1800/1900/2100/2300/2500/2600 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
Data:
HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
Nano-SIM
Dual SIM Yes
Operating System Android 10

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm SM8150 Snapdragon 855 (7 nm) Octa-core 2.84 GHz
Internal Storage 128/256 GB
RAM 6 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible Unknown
TTY/TDD Unknown
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Data Cable
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity 3577
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 930 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 1620 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 10 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Flip
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Glass
Colors Glacier
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.52 x 9.33 x 0.99 cm (5.7 x 3.7 x 0.4 in)
Weight 250 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof No
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1350 x 1800 pixels
Pixel density 401 pixels
Size 5.6 inches
Secondary Display Color AMOLED, 1350 x 1800 pixels, 5.6 inches, 16.7 million
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touchscreen, Corning Gorilla Glass, Unfolded: 8.1" AMOLED, 2700x1800, 401 PPI
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX Adaptive
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
WiFi Encryption WEP/WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out Yes
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 2.0
Resolution
11+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
7x digital
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer, HDR
Video Recording Formats
MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, MIDI, MP3, MP4, OGG
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, FLV, H.264 / AVC, MKV, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps
More
Additional comments
Related Links Microsoft Surface Duo Reviews
Where to buy Microsoft Surface Duo
Suggest a correction