The Surface Duo 2 has a lot of room for improvement. Last year's Microsoft Surface Duo was an intriguing device. The clamshell handset sat somewhere between a tablet and a foldable. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Microsoft's device doesn't use a single foldable display, but instead two that sandwich together.
While there was a lot to like with Microsoft's take on foldable phones, the Surface Duo lacked in a few key areas. The original Surface Duo from 2020 was rocking specs from 2019 while charging $1,400. That price-to-performance delta was too much for many critics and enthusiasts, which led to its less than stellar reviews.
The Surface Duo 2 looks to be a big improvement in several areas, based on the leaks. This includes the latest Snapdragon 888 chip, a triple rear camera setup
Despite these missteps, Microsoft appears to have a follow-up to its dual-screen phablet in the works. Already we're seeing images of the Surface Duo 2 land online, and according to our sister-site Windows Central, the device is coming this fall.
Below is everything we know so far about the Microsoft Surface Duo 2.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2 news (Updated September 19)
- The Surface Duo 2 FCC listing shows a wireless power transfer feature, but it may not be Qi wireless charging.
- An alleged Surface Duo Geekbench listing tips the phone for a Snapdragon 888 chip and 8GB of RAM.
- The Surface Duo 2 will likely be unveiled at Microsoft's Surface event on September 22.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Release date
The Surface Duo 2 is tipped to launch at Microsoft's Surface event on September 22, at which the company may also announce the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Book 4. It's not yet clear when the Surface Duo will go on sale.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Price
The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 has not been announced yet, which means no official price for the dual-screen clamshell phone. We do know that last year's Surface Duo debuted at a staggering $1,400.
It's not known how many $1,400 Surface Duos Microsoft was able to sell, but seven months later the phone did drop to a more reasonable $699. And, not too long ago the phone could be found on sale for as low as $410, almost $1,000 off the original retail price.
The only thing we can say with confidence is it would be foolish for Microsoft to try charging that much this time around unless the phone offered the specs to backup that price
Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Design
Based on the images that have leaked online, the Surface Duo 2 looks to be a very similar-looking device to last year's mode. There is one glaring exception however, and that's the camera bump.
According to Windows Central, this time Microsoft will employ a more traditional camera cluster on the Surface Duo 2. It will feature a standard sensor, an ultrawide and a telephoto. This should all be welcome news, considering the camera on the original Surface Duo was mediocre at best.
Still, some of the camera compromises made sense. The Surface Duo, when open, had a thickness of just 4.8mm. At that size, it's impossible to have a large camera sensor. And Microsoft intentionally wanted the camera system to be flush, as it allowed the phone to rotate a full 360-degrees flat.
The added camera bump will make the full 360-degree fold impossible, which will take away one of the Surface Duo's key party tricks.
Other than that, it seems as if the fingerprint reader is also being moved, and could be integrated into the power button. It's uncertain if the Surface Duo 2 will retain the chunky bezels of the original.
As for colors, it's looking like Microsoft will have a matte black finish along with white. Windows Central also believes that the device will have frosted glass on the exterior.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Specs
We still don't have a full spec list yet, but Windows Central says that this year's Surface Duo 2 will have hardware to match the latest flagships from Samsung. This includes a Snapdragon 888 processor, 5G support and NFC communication for wireless payments. The USB Type-C is also being moved to the right side of the device.
According to a Surface Duo 2 Geekbench listing, the Surface Duo 2 will indeed sport a Snapdragon 888 chip along with 8GB of RAM, which is more than the 6GB on the original model.
We also hear that the camera system on the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 will likely feature a standard sensor, along with a telephoto and ultrawide.
Like last year's phone, we expect the Surface Duo 2 to at least sport a pair displays — the original Surface Duo featured a pair of 5.6-inch panels with 1800x1350 resolution. Other potential specs include 6GB of RAM and dual 3,577 mAh batteries. We are hoping the RAM gets an upgrade as multitasking could sometimes stutter on the original device.
An FCC listing for the Surface Duo 2 shows a wireless power transfer feature, but it's clear whether that refers to Qi charging or perhaps wireless charging of an accessory when attached (such as a pen).
Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Outlook
In a world of flat glass slabs, Microsoft's Surface Duo offered a nice change of pace. It brought with it many cool ideas, even if execution wasn't great. Our review unit ran into a few bugs and Microsoft's software support has been middling.
Even then, the concept of a phone that puts multitasking at the forefront is a great idea. And by splitting the device into two screens, it was like having a dual-monitor setup.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, eyes are locked on Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 3. Rumors point to Samsung lowering the price to anywhere between $1,660-1,750 dollars. While expensive, it is Samsung's third attempt at the concept, and many of the bugs will have been ironed out. For those willing to spend $1,300-plus on a device, they're going to want the best for their money.
If Microsoft wants the Surface Duo 2 to succeed, especially when competition from foldables is heating up, it needs to not pull any punches.