Why the Microsoft Surface Duo already worries me as an Android user

The Microsoft Floor Duo is a smartphone I haven’t examined but—however in keeping with what I know, it already has me fearful. It’s fairly like the brand new crop of foldable telephones in that it could possibly fold and turn, and it runs Android 10 identical to the Galaxy Fold. It additionally calls for a sky-high value like the approaching Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Galaxy Z Turn. 

However whilst folding telephones are pushing the bounds of what a show can do, and charging costs to check, you’re no longer getting that with the Floor Duo. As a substitute you’re getting a dual-screened tool with massive bezels that’s operating a model of Android overlaid with a heavy coating of Home windows. That is superb—plenty of Android telephones have personalised skins—however the Duo is a Floor tool first and an Android one moment, which is relating to. 

In comparison to a in a similar way priced flagship tool just like the Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely, the Floor Duo already isn’t stacking up. If it’s a Floor, why doesn’t it have the most recent processor? If it’s a telephone, why can’t you employ it with one hand? Let’s glance extra intently on the issues I’m already seeing in specifications, design, and features.

surface duo expanded apps Microsoft

The Floor Duo might fold, but it surely’s no longer a foldable.

Floor Duo specifications: Falling brief

The issues get started with the specifications, evaluating them to the Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely. Even on paper, Floor Duo isn’t taking a look so just right:

Floor Duo

Dimensions (folded): 145.2 x 93.three x Nine.9mm
Show: Twin five.6-inch PixelSense Fusion AMOLED, 1800×1350, 401 PPI
Processor: Snapdragon 855
Garage: 128GB/256GB
Digicam: 11MP, f/2.zero
Battery: 3577mAh

Galaxy Observe 20 Extremely

Dimensions: 166.Nine x 76.zero x eight.8mm
Show: 6.Nine-inch WQHD, 3200×1440, 120Hz, 496ppi
Processor: Snapdragon 865
Garage: 128GB/512GB
Entrance digital camera: 40MP, f/2.2
Rear digital camera: 12MP ultra-wide, f/2.2 + 108MP large, f/1.eight, OIS, + 48MP telephoto, f/three.five
Battery: five,000mAh

The Observe 20 Extremely isn’t simply across-the-board higher than the Floor Duo, it’s additionally $100 less expensive. Plus, you get 5G, NFC, Wi-Fi 6, and wi-fi charging, none of which can be to be had at the Floor Duo. And if you wish to use the Floor Narrow Pen to take notes, it’ll price you an additional $145. That is a very excessive bar for access into an international that is nowhere close to innovative.

surface duo two apps Microsoft

The Floor Duo can run apps facet by means of facet, however numerous Android telephones can do this.

Floor Duo design: Feeling awkward

The Floor Duo’s design is for sure beautiful. It has an impressively skinny glass-and-metal building that appears like a robust pocket book, and a 360-degree hinge that appears extraordinarily robust.

That’s just right, since you’re going to be opening it so much. Without a outdoor display screen, each and every time you need to make use of you Duo to test a notification or the e-mail that simply got here in, you’re going to want to take it out out of your bag or handbag and open it, just like the function telephones of previous. 

That design may paintings for a clamshell pc just like the Floor Pc three, but it surely’s awkward for a tool that’s meant to double as your telephone, particularly person who prices $1,400. Whilst Samsung stepped forward at the authentic Galaxy Fold with a larger outdoor display screen at the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Microsoft’s Duo makes no such effort to be flexible. Android has solved the issue of unlocking telephones and lights up displays with always-on shows, however the Floor Duo ignores that. There is not even a tiny show at the entrance just like the Galaxy Z Turn. 

surface duo big Microsoft

If you wish to elevate the Floor Duo on your pocket, you’re going to want a large one.

Don’t fail to remember the digital camera. Apart from the as-yet-unknown symbol high quality, you’re going to want to open your Floor Duo totally to begin taking pictures. That’s a multi-step and multi-second procedure that can get in the way in which of a handy guide a rough shot. The place each and every different telephone maker has tool shortcuts to get to the digital camera, Microsoft has made it more difficult to make use of the item most of the people succeed in for his or her telephone to do.

Even the biometrics falls brief. Whilst Microsoft touted the enterprise-level security measures of the Duo, together with a “customized engineered Unified Extensible Firmware Interface,” it doesn’t have a biometric digital camera. The true locking and authentication of the tool is left to a fingerprint reader at the facet of the tool moderately than the Home windows Hi facial popularity gadget, which is extra safe than a fingerprint and may just faucet into Android’s BiometricPrompt API just like the Pixel four does. There’s numerous room within the bezel for it.

Floor Duo features: Android nervousness

The Floor Duo’s revel in can be coloured by means of its hybrid Home windows-Android revel in. Microsoft has became the radical dual-screen tool to paintings with the corporate’s ecosystem of apps and services and products. More or less like a multi-monitor PC setup, the shows are supposed to paintings in combination or one by one. As Panos Panay instructed the Verge, “There may be an set of rules in there that’s highly intelligent and seeking to be predictive. For those who’re on one display screen and also you’re invoking a hyperlink, it’s going to fill the opposite display screen.”

That doesn’t sound all that other from LG’s Twin-Display case for the Velvet, on the other hand, a telephone that prices part up to the Duo and has 5G. In truth, none of what the Floor Duo does is all that novel. Image-in-picture, drag-and-drop, side-by-side apps are all to be had on different Android telephones, as are the Microsoft Launcher and Workplace apps. 

There’s additionally no ensure that the Android revel in shall be a top class one. Positive, Microsoft’s apps will all be optimized for the dual-screen revel in, as will a couple of others, such because the Kindle reader. However what in regards to the hundreds of different Android apps we use?

As we’ve noticed on Chromebooks and even Android capsules, plugging Google Play apps into an atmosphere that’s no longer in particular suited to them is not up to ideally suited. Multitasking advantages may not be there for many apps. None of Microsoft’s product photographs display an Android app, which is already relating to. Excellent success getting builders to make stronger a unmarried tool amid a sea of less-demanding competition. And whilst it is nice that Microsoft is ensuring 3 years of updates for the Floor Duo identical to the Pixel and Galaxy telephones, that is mainly desk stakes for a $1,400 telephone. Consider Floor customers have been most effective assured 3 years of WIndows safety updates?

Microsoft Surface Duo AndroidMicrosoft

There’s greater than sufficient bezel at the Floor Duo for a greater biometric digital camera.

No longer sufficient pill, no longer sufficient telephone

Microsoft isn’t positioning the Duo as a competitor to different top-tier Android telephones—on its web site, Android is discussed most effective two times—however at $1,399, it must be greater than a transportable conduit for Workplace apps. As soon as the newness wears off, the Duo shall be measured at the power of its talents, and there’s so much it received’t have the ability to do.

Microsoft Surface Duo (outside) Microsoft

The Floor Duo has a beautiful construct and a pleasing hinge, however that may not be sufficient.

Whether or not it needs to be categorized as a telephone, a mini-tablet, or one thing else completely to herald “the following wave of cell productiveness,” the Duo looks like a step backward for each the Floor line of goods and Android smartphones. The place folding telephones are making an attempt to merge two units, smartphones and capsules, the Floor Duo doesn’t actually upload anything else to the folding dialog. With a litany of demanding situations which are reputedly by means of design, Microsoft goes to have a difficult time convincing those who the Floor Duo is an invaluable addition to their Android and Floor workflows.

Replace 12:40am: Added information that Microsoft is ensuring 3 years of Android updates.

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