Home Latest News Surface Duo 2 vs. Surface Duo: Which is better? – Digital Trends

Surface Duo 2 vs. Surface Duo: Which is better? – Digital Trends

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 is one of the most interesting phones to launch this year. It’s Microsoft’s unique take on the foldable genre of smartphones, and it advances the concept rather than collapsing into the more consumer-friendly style we see in the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip-series of foldables. Instead of a single, folding screen, the Surface Duo-range uses two separate displays side-by-side.
While it might be the newest, sometimes the latest isn’t always the greatest. We’re trotting out the original Surface Duo to see if it’s a viable alternative to the Surface Duo 2 by looking at their specs, designs, and overall capabilities. You want a foldable phone from Microsoft? Let’s see which one of these two is the best.
Closed: 145.2 x 92.1 x 11.0 mm (5.71 x 3.62 x 0.43 inches)
Closed: 145.2 x 93.3 x 9.9 mm (5.71 x 3.67 x 0.39 inches)
Closed: 5.8-inch PixelSense Display AMOLED
Closed: 5.6-inch PixelSense Display AMOLED
Closed: 1344 x 1892 (401 pixels per inch)
Closed: 1350 x 1800 (401 ppi)
Fast charging (23W, charger sold separately)
3,577 mAh
Fast charging (18W)
The Surface Duo 2 is a clear evolution of the Surface Duo design-wise. There are a few changes to it that scream 2021 — hello camera bump — but you won’t confuse it for any other foldable. Now, while it does look similar, there are many small changes that make it a better overall device.
The screen is bigger, going from 8.1 inches to 8.3 inches while unfolded and 5.6 inches to 5.8 inches while folded. The display is now covered in Gorilla Glass Victus, making it more durable than the previous Gorilla Glass 5. The screen is still a PixelSense AMOLED display that’s 2688 x 1892 while open and 1344 x 1892 while closed. Microsoft makes very good displays, and the Duo 2 will not disappoint with its 100% sRGB coverage. The display has also been bumped to a 90Hz smooth display, and there’s a small gap when you close the Duo that gives you a strip for notifications.
You can get the Duo 2 in silver — Glacier, as Microsoft calls it. On the other hand, a new Obsidian black finish is here, and nominative redundancy aside, it does look pretty good. New colors are one way that phone makers set aside newer products from older ones, and Microsoft isn’t one to buck tradition.
When it comes to regressions and stagnation, there’s no IP rating on the Duo with this generation, like you’ll find on the Fold 3. The Duo got a little bit heavier at 284 grams, and that camera bump might get in the way when using it on the go.
Winner: Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Microsoft has decided a premium-priced device is worthy of premium specs, and the Surface Duo 2 is equipped with the current Snapdragon 888 processor that powers the best Android phones out this year. The Duo came with an outdated 855, an odd choice for its time. The RAM is going up from 6GB to 8GB, and you’ll be able to stack your device with up to 512GB of storage. Enough to hold all your documents forever.
The original Duo offered a decent battery life, and we were able to keep it going for a day in our review. Our review of the Surface Duo 2 review has shown a similarly strong battery life, with performance being just below the iPhone 13 Pro, and ending a standard day with about 20% left in the tank. Considering it’s powering two screens, that’s a pretty solid performance.
The Surface Duo 2 wins this based on its more powerful hardware.
Winner: Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Going from no camera to three cameras makes this a slam dunk. Microsoft shipped the original Surface Duo with a single front-facing camera that did not perform very well at all. With the Duo 2, all of that is fixed.
There’s a small camera bump at the front, housing a triple set of cameras, as is the norm in 2021. There’s a 16-megapixel ultrawide, a 12MP wide-angle, and a 12MP telephoto lens. You can capture portrait photos, and Microsoft is adding a dedicated night mode.
Video is also getting a big boost here with support for both 4K and slow motion. As we said at the outset, you needn’t compare the Duo to the Duo 2 in hand to know who wins because the Duo simply cannot do what the Duo 2 can do camera-wise.
That being said, we still found some faults with the Duo 2’s camera. It wasn’t the fastest at snapping photos, nor was the orientation particularly convenient. As with most smartphone cameras, it was pretty good during the day with some very good portrait mode, but it fell far behind rivals during the night — especially within its price range.
Video-wise, it’s a miss for us. Whether at daytime or nighttime, Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 is not the phone you buy for mobile videography, especially if you plan to move while shooting.
It still wins out over the Duo merely by virtue of actually having a camera system, but it’s not as good as it could be.
Winner: Microsoft Surface Duo 2

It’s a tough one to grade. The Duo and Duo 2 both ship with Microsoft’s version of Android, while the Duo 2 comes with the more modern Android 11. The Duo 2 comes with improved multitasking and a mature Android exosystem that takes multi-screen experiences into account, while the original Duo did not have that luxury.
Where it’s hard is on the update scale. While Microsoft promises fast and speedy updates, in practice, the Duo has received fewer updates than your average $1,000 Android phone. This is to say … none. A year after Android 11’s release and a few weeks before Android 12, there’s no Android 11 to be found for the Surface Duo.
Will Microsoft be better at this now that it’s spent some time building for Android? That remains to be seen.
Winner: Microsoft Surface Duo 2
Two things: NFC and 5G. The lack of 5G could be overlooked, as the standard was yet to fully proliferate when the original Duo was released. The lack of NFC? Not so much. You simply won’t be using Google Pay on the original Duo, a standard that has only grown more widespread as contactless payments have been encouraged.
Sure, you could always buy a secondary phone — but you’re not spending $1,000 on a phone to discard it after a year or supplement it with another; you’re making an investment. The Surface Duo 2 fixes these two really silly omissions, and it’s a no-brainer which to pick.
Winner: Microsoft Surface Duo 2

The Surface Duo is all but sold out worldwide. That said, it’s not worth paying for at this time. Though you will undoubtedly get deep discounts on it — Woot sells it for $400 at times — the compromises are just not worth it. Whether it’s the lack of a proper camera or the old software, it’s not worth its asking price. If you want to give Microsoft’s software a fair shake, the newer Duo 2, while far more expensive, will be the better buy.
Microsoft is making this available unlocked for all carriers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S.
Winner: Microsoft Surface Duo 2
If there was any phone that had an easier time to do a much better job with its sequel, it was the Surface Duo 2. Microsoft’s first Surface Duo was very flawed. Odd omissions such as 5G and NFC made the device hard to recommend for casual users, and its form factor stood at odds with what we would normally expect from foldables.
The Surface Duo 2 stands out from other foldables, but it mixes its bold choices with sensible ones. The Surface Duo 2 is a complete upgrade over its predecessor. The first Surface Duo is an interesting device from the perspective of the evolution of smartphones — but you probably shouldn’t buy it.
If you want a compact folding smartphone, you’ve now got a legitimate choice, all thanks to the Oppo Find N2 Flip — a clamshell foldable that’s ready to take on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
I’ve used them both for a while, and this is what makes one better than the other. We’ll start off with a simple specification comparison, and then go into more detail about the differences, focusing on what makes the two special.
Find N2 Flip vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4: Specs
Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 is one of the most divisive devices out there. On one hand, its dual-screen design has won laurels, and there’s a very small bunch of loyal enthusiasts that swear by its productivity tricks. But there are a whole bunch of practical flaws with the camera, battery life, and UI departments that kept this phone-tablet hybrid from realizing its true potential.
Of course, a sky-high asking price didn’t do it any favors. However, one enthusiast has turned it into a handheld gaming machine with a few cool add-ons — and it honestly looks pretty incredible. On Reddit, one Surface Duo 2 owner (going by the username u/Sarspazzard) showcased their Frankenstein version of Microsoft’s doomed phone after giving it a glorious handheld gaming makeover.
Microsoft is finally updating its Surface Duo — ahem — duo to Android 12 this week. The company broke the news on its official Microsoft Devices Blog after previously committing to rolling out an update sometime this year. Android 12 was made generally available by Google in October 2021, while Android 12L hit Pixels in March.
The star of the show here is Android 12’s big visual refresh. Yup, Material You, dynamic color theming, and more are coming to the Surface Duo phones. The company as even throwing in four new wallpapers to highlight the refresh. However, Microsoft is going a step further by redesigning the Duo’s software so that it’ll look a lot like Windows 11. This is pretty obvious in that the system settings app and notification center now resemble Windows 11’s versions of those features, and there are a lot of fluent design (Microsoft’s design language) touches hidden in the company’s preinstalled apps. In other words, the Surface Duo and Duo 2 pair are becoming true Windows phones. Of course, this illusion disappears when you dip into third-party apps, but if you’re buying a Microsoft Duo, you’re almost certainly a superfan.
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