The Surface Duo happens to be an iconic device but did suffer from a few nagging issues that are quite unacceptable for a device given the price it sells for. Fortunately, Microsoft is not giving up on it – as it did with the Windows 10X and the Surface Neo – and a next-gen version tentatively named the Surface Duo 2 is in the works.
Code named Zeta; the Surface Duo 2 is expected to come bereft of all the issues that plagued the first-gen model. That includes improvements to the software, processor, camera, and so on. Here is everything that we know about the Surface Duo 2 at the moment.
One of the biggest grouses with the Surface Duo happens to be its camera. The single 11 MP sensor did a fine job, but users expected something exceptional, more so when other phones in the same ultra-premium price category did remarkably better. Also, the single camera arrangement is okay when it comes to clicking selfies or doing video calls but proved to be a bane if the users wished to click shots of the surroundings.
Sure, the software was supposed to make up for the single selfie camera as the same was designed to shoot pictures of the surroundings when the screen is turned around. Even if all of this wasn’t complicated enough, the software proved buggy too so that the camera simply failed to activate at times. Low light photography too left a lot to be desired.
Microsoft is expected to make things up on this front with a dedicated rear-facing cam though it remains to be seen how. Also, there could be a camera bump too if Microsoft tries to be really aggressive here, along with maybe a dual, triple, or even a quad-cam arrangement as well. While it is true Microsoft is keen to position the device as a productivity tool, traditional phone users expect their prized phones to click good images as well.
Another aspect that proved to be a huge let-down for the Surface Pro was the use of the Snapdragon 855 chipset, which already was a year older when it was launched in 2020. Microsoft hopefully will have the latest SD888 processor to power the Surface Duo 2. That is the least to be expected though the company might continue with the same memory and storage configuration of 6 GB and 128/ 256 GB respectively. Those may be okay but more memory is always welcome given that there are two screens to manage.
Also, even with the SD888 onboard, the Duo 2 will start feeling dated from 2022, just months after its speculated launch windows of around fall this year. So, unless Microsoft opts for a dedicated custom chip for the Duo 2, it might have to consider offering an updated device every year to remain relevant.
Nonetheless, the use of the SD888 chipset is expected to bring 5G connectivity to the device, which in any case is among the basic expectations out of a high-end phone to launch in 2021. The inclusion of NFC tech could be another nice addition and is among the least to be expected out of a premium handset.
Now, this is one area where the first-gen Duo left a lot to be desired. Hopefully, those are sorted out in the Duo 2 even though the handset is expected to come pre-loaded with Android 12. Microsoft has also promised to allow for three years of software backup for the Duo, which means Android 12 for the first-gen device as well when it becomes available.
Price and availability
The Surface Duo might be selling for even less than the price of a standard premium handset though it initially came to be sold for $1,400. Of course, Microsoft is keen to position it as a niche product that is geared towards productivity. Couple to that the Surface badging and you sure have a device that is going to command a premium. In that case, the least you should expect the Surface Duo 2 to be priced is the same $1,400, if not more.
As for its availability, it likely is going to be during the fall season, which is usually when new Surface devices are launched. That said, if the pandemic is to be taken into account, a few months’ delays can’t be ruled out, more so given the raging chip shortage the world is facing at the moment.