Samsung confirmed its continued support for foldable smartphones earlier this month when it unveiled the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G. In fact, it even recently introduced a 5G version of the Galaxy Z Flip. Motorola also demonstrates its commitment with the new RAZR 5G. However, one issue that continues to draw criticism from tech pundits is the fragility of the flexible panels. Meanwhile, Microsoft has finally returned to the already crowded telecommunications market with the Surface Duo – a folding Android handset but with a more robust configuration.
At $1,399, the Surface Duo is a premium first-party device much like other products from the Surface catalogue. Now that journalists and consumers finally have it in their hands, the reactions have been generally mixed so far. Nevertheless, unlike the questionable durability of bendable display panels, the engineers opted to use two separate screens affixed to a bespoke hinge mechanism. According to ABC News, in an interview with company chief product officer Panos Panay, he said: "Two screens side-by-side is what this product is about."
Most of the feedback that has been published online show that while many find Microsoft's approach fresh and innovative, some downsides exist as noted by a few. "There is a learning curve that comes with it," explains Panay. "You can see that in the reviews, you can feel it in the conversations." When the Surface Duo made its debut in 2019, it was marketed as a productivity platform first and a phone second.
Jeremy Kaplan, Digital Trends editor-in-chief, said: "What Microsoft's engineers have leaned into is cognitive science. And they've shown that, by separating this thing, by actually having two physical screens, your brain is better able to process information." Another common complaint is about the imaging capabilities of the Surface Duo. Almost every other flagship Android handset sports more than one camera, but it only comes with a single 11-megapixel sensor.
It might be too early to gauge how well the Surface Duo performs from a sales perspective, but it is one of the more unique products available right now. The handset is compatible with the Surface Pen stylus and the package includes a protective bumper. Microsoft has one more dual-screen device called the Surface Neo, which might likely be released in 2021.