Last year, Microsoft promised the future of mobile productivity with the Surface Duo and Surface Neo devices. This year, it delivered on one of those, though some will probably describe it more as having underdelivered. While the Android-based Surface Duo was great in concept, it launched with problems that not even software updates could fix. Despite complaints, it seems that Microsoft is still pushing through with a global launch to bring the dual-screen device to markets outside the US.
The Surface Duo should have boasted of features and benefits that something like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 could only dream of because of its design. The traditional rigid glass screens didn’t have to worry about scratches and, in fact, worked with a Surface Pen stylus. It could also fold flat in either direction, earning the title of being the thinnest mobile device when completely open.
That design, however, may have come at the cost of durability, as owners quickly complained of problems with the plastic edges of the phone-slash-tablet. Even the simplistic hinge started to reveal its flaws but only after the $1,400 device started shipping.
There have been other complaints, including problems with touch sensitivity and software stability. Those are and have been easily addressed with updates, though, and improvements are promised to flow for up to three years. That may have given Microsoft enough confidence to push through with global sales of the Surface Duo in the UK, Canada, and Japan, but only in early 2021.
That, unfortunately, brings up another significant flaw of the Surface Duo, its specs. Using 2019 specs on a 2020 device is still OK, especially considering how performance is still quite on par with this year’s flagships. By next year, however, these will feel quite dated, especially with the single camera that Microsoft used that wasn’t that noteworthy from the beginning.