Those that hoped for something powerful under the hood are to be disappointed: The Snapdragon 855 at the heart of the Duo is… fine, but not what one would have expected in a phone with a $1,399 starting price (for 128GB of storage). The same can be said of the 11MP camera, which compares poorly with some of the premium Windows Phones of the past.
The device has also come equipped with 6GB of DRAM, a 3,577mAh battery giving a claimed 27 hours of talk time, and Gorilla Glass 401 PPI AMOLED displays. It also has bumper, weighs in at 250g, and is 9.9mm thick at its hinge when folded.
It does not, however, support 5G.
A post by Surface supremo Panos Panay attempted to justify the middling hardware by insisting Microsoft "went after something".
That "something" presumably being "irritating its non-US fanbase" since the Surface Duo is US-only for now. By the time those outside the US get their hands on it, the hardware could be even more woefully outdated.
Naturally, there is support for the Surface Slim, the Surface and the Surface Hub 2 Pens, and Panay also took the opportunity to punt some graphite grey Surface earbuds (due on 10 September for $199), but the form factor remains a gamble.
While it has arrived loaded with Microsoft apps, the device also contains the full gamut of Google stuff as well as the Play Store. It will additionally play nicely with Microsoft's Your Phone app, which is currently very much weighted to Android users of the Samsung persuasion.
The Surface gang has been very brave about their new emission, and attempted to adorn it with a bit of the Surface Pro's halo: "Pushing the boundaries of existing categories." However, Microsoft has tried other form factors before with less-than-stellar results – the Kin and Band spring effortlessly to mind.
As it stands, the Duo has a price tag within reach of only the most well-heeled Microsoft fans. The internals do not justify it, and other companies, notably Samsung, have already pioneered the folding form factor.
"We faced some skepticism," admitted Panay of the Surface approach, seven years ago. The company faces considerably more with its high-end priced, US-only, mid-range spec'd
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