Microsoft Floor Duo 2

MSRP $1,499.00

“The Microsoft Floor Duo 2 addresses nearly each qualm we had with the unique. It is a quirky phone that is enjoyable to make use of.”

Execs

  • Marked digital camera improve over predecessor
  • Massive side ratio for studying and multitasking
  • Software program is essentially mounted
  • Prime-tier flagship specs
  • Superior multitasking capabilities

Cons

  • Poor lowlight digital camera efficiency
  • Awkward to carry for digital camera use
  • Nonetheless a number of software program bugs to work out

You solely get one probability to make a primary impression. But when your second impression is sweet sufficient, you’ll be able to undo quite a lot of harm. A 12 months in the past. Microsoft tried to create a brand new class of cell units with the Floor Duo, which lives someplace between a phone and a pill. It’s constructed for multitasking professionals who have to punch up a slide deck earlier than a gathering or add some ending touches to a contract earlier than it’s despatched off to the legal professionals. To suit into this class, Microsoft created the Floor Duo — and it failed fairly spectacularly.

This 12 months, Microsoft launched the Microsoft Floor Duo 2, which represents a fairly large course correction, whereas nonetheless making an attempt to fill the identical area of interest. The Microsoft Duo 2 remains to be a tool for energy customers and multitaskers seeking to get issues completed. It’s a flagship for these folks with a hell of quite a lot of disposable earnings at their beck and name. I’m a author and a blogger. I’m not the target market for this phone. However that doesn’t make it any much less enjoyable to make use of.

That is an replace to my unique evaluate. The rating has not modified, however I’ve added further context to some sections after additional testing. I’ve been utilizing the Microsoft Floor Duo 2 for about 4 weeks on AT&T’s 5G community.

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 is meant for business professionals doing business professional things.Adam Doud/Digital Tendencies

Design and show

As with the primary technology of the Microsoft Duo, this phone’s construct is beautiful. You might have two 1892 x 1344, 90Hz screens with as much as 800 nits of brightness. They’re related by a skinny hinge, and on the hinge facet, there’s a little bit of curved glass. (we’ll speak concerning the significance of that in a bit). The polycarbonate ring operating across the outdoors of the screens and the digital camera bump is the one knock we now have on the design. It appears good, however feels decidedly low cost. The occasional hair can get caught within the seam between the glass and the plastic, which isn’t a superb look.

While you’re utilizing this phone, folks will discover it and ask you about it. Be ready.

On the non-hinge facet, you get an influence button with a built-in fingerprint sensor and quantity rocker. On the underside, there’s a single USB-C port. The hinge itself is a 360-degree hinge that means that you can put the phone into many various positions akin to Tent mode, Pill mode, Laptop computer mode, and extra. On the again, three digital camera sensors reside in a digital camera bump so massive it may present up on some topographical maps. Refined it isn’t.

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 is the world's thinnest 5G phone.Adam Doud/Digital Tendencies

The 2 screens are curved on the hinge facet, which provides you what Microsoft calls the look bar. The 2 curves type a notification window that may present you what notifications you may have ready, your battery stage, and the time. I discovered this to be of restricted use in my quick time with the gadget. Personally, I’d a lot fairly set the phone open on the desk so I can see every part.

The big display is each a blessing and a curse. The 4:3 side ratio provides you quite a lot of display actual property when studying or scrolling. It’s fairly refreshing while you’re studying in mattress or doomscrolling the most recent Twitter meltdown. However the measurement of the screens serves as an obstacle while you need to do one thing one-handed or take a photograph. Keep in mind, with a purpose to take a photograph, it’s essential to have the phone open, however not so open that the second display blocks the digital camera module. I discovered essentially the most comfy technique to take pictures is to open the display to 90 levels and relaxation the underside half on my palm whereas I aimed the digital camera. It’s not terribly handy, however actually, when you may have a phone like this, compromises need to be made.

Some will criticize the {hardware} flaws like the truth that it’s awkward to make use of with one hand, it doesn’t fold flat, and it’s too costly. All of these are legitimate criticisms besides I simply described the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. The Microsoft Duo 2 shares those self same flaws, but when they’re forgivable on one, I’ve to suppose they’re forgivable on the opposite.General, although, I’m happier with the design than I anticipated. This can be a lovely phone and Microsoft is aware of it. While you’re utilizing this phone, folks will discover it and ask you about it. Be ready.

Software program

Final 12 months, Microsoft actually dropped the ball within the software program division. It has had a further 12 months to kind out bugs and peccadillos, and it’s protected to say that it exhibits, however there may be nonetheless some work to do right here. What’s vital to recollect when utilizing this phone is to be as deliberate as doable when utilizing gestures. Additionally, remember that Microsoft has modified among the gestures to make them match what it needs to do.

Usually while you’re utilizing an app in panorama on an Android phone, the gesture nonetheless comes up from the underside. That’s not the case right here. Microsoft needed to change that to make the twin screens work. Any time you utilize an app with the phone in panorama, the swipe-up gesture for multitasking and returning to the house display as an alternative swipes in from the correct facet. It’s a bizarre, albeit needed change, and hard to get used to.

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 has a few apps that are optimized for it, including Amazon Kindle.Adam Doud/Digital Tendencies

As for bugs, although I’ve solely been utilizing this phone for 3 days, I’ve already seen a number of oddities that made me shake my head, together with one occasion the place I acquired caught on an empty house display and needed to restart the phone to get issues again to regular. One fixed irritation is the insistence of the software program keyboard to cowl up the textual content subject the place I’m typing in chat apps like Groups or Slack. This wouldn’t be too irritating besides the most typical place I discovered this conduct was in Groups, which is Microsoft’s personal software program and speaks to poor optimization or simply plain oversight.

Software program bugs are frequent in smartphones; most of us have simply discovered to miss them. For instance simply this morning I opened up Outlook and went to learn my e mail and I by accident adjusted my phone a bit bit an excessive amount of so it rotated and when it rotated again it was on Gmail not on Outlook. One other time I opened up my Microsoft e mail inbox and clicked on a hyperlink to open a webpage, however when the hyperlink opened, it wasn’t the hyperlink I clicked on. The humorous part is that a type of issues occurred on the Duo, and the opposite occurred on my iPhone 13 Professional. These sorts of bugs occur extra incessantly on the Microsoft Floor Duo 2 to make certain, so there may be extra work to be completed right here.

Fortuitously for the keyboard, it’s not unhealthy. Microsoft makes use of its personal Swiftkey keyboard, which is fairly correct when it comes to typing and autocorrect. I put in Gboard to mess around with it as nicely. Gboard works simply nice, and actually, I fairly get pleasure from typing with Gboard on the 4:3 side ratio, however while you open an app throughout home windows, Gboard doesn’t break up, whereas Swiftkey does so robotically. Each keyboards work fairly nicely in Laptop computer mode, with the keyboard occupying the underside display whereas your textual content subject occupies the highest half. I used to be pleasantly stunned to see Gboard working in addition to it did on this posture,

The Microsoft Surface Duo is a great device for multitasking.Adam Doud/Digital Tendencies

Microsoft has additionally constructed its apps to work nicely when spanning each screens. Outlook opens your message checklist on the left whereas your messages seem on the correct. Microsoft additionally partnered up with a number of third-party apps like Asphalt 9, Kindle, and TikTok so all of them use each screens — to various levels of success.

Microsoft additionally partnered up with a number of third-party apps like Asphalt 9, Kindle, and TikTok so all of them use each screens — to various levels of success.

Microsoft has come a great distance when it comes to software program, but it surely nonetheless has some methods to go. I shouldn’t need to reboot a phone within the first 48 hours due to some bug. For sure, this part of the phone would require a ton extra testing earlier than I’m happy with its general efficiency.

Efficiency and battery

Talking of efficiency, it ought to come as no shock that this phone works fairly nicely. The Snapdragon 888 and 8GB of RAM preserve issues operating easily and effectively. There have been no stutters or lag that I may detect, even when taking part in Name of Obligation Cellular. I haven’t but had the chance to place the phone below quite a lot of stress, like operating benchmarks, however I’ve no complaints about efficiency up to now.

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 is almost too large for a car mount. Almost.Adam Doud/Digital Tendencies

Battery life is just not unhealthy. My normal battery check entails GPS for half-hour at 75% brightness, streaming Netflix on Wi-Fi on the similar brightness for half-hour, and taking part in Name of Obligation cell for half-hour at most brightness. In any case that, the phone sat at 76%, which is the bottom of the phones I’ve examined with that methodology so far, together with the iPhone 13 Professional, which had 81%. I accomplished the remainder of the day with out charging and wound up at 20% at bedtime. All issues thought-about, that’s not unhealthy. I used each screens very often throughout the day, and I used to be stunned it lasted so long as it did.

Digicam

The digital camera sensors are a 12-megapixel wide-angle sensor with Optical Picture Stabilization (OIS), a 12MP 2x telephoto sensor, and an ultrawide 16MP sensor with a 110-degree subject of view. They’re an enchancment over the unique Floor Duo cameras, however that was a really low bar. Sadly, the digital camera bump prevents the Floor Duo 2 from laying flat when one display is folded behind the opposite, however like most different quirks with smartphones, you get used to it.

The cameras are positively an enchancment; however let’s be trustworthy, a potato could be an enchancment over the first-generation sensor. This digital camera module was constructed in-house by Microsoft. There are three cameras on the again and one front-facing. The set of cameras is pretty common in most respects, with some surprises in retailer. The time period I might use is “social media good,” which is to say the pictures you get listed below are often going to be ok for social media, however in all probability not way more than that.

The Microsoft Surface Duo uses both screen in the camera app.Adam Doud/Digital Tendencies

By way of software program and efficiency, there are some points right here. The digital camera is commonly fairly gradual to snap pictures. I discovered myself lacking moments I needed to seize, ending up with a canine’s again fairly than his head. That was unlucky. I additionally usually discovered myself having to rotate pictures I had taken as a result of the digital camera was within the flawed orientation. That acquired annoying quick.

As for the digital camera itself, it carried out admirably throughout the day. The colour replica between the three sensors may be very shut to one another, and also you received’t discover a big shade change. Portrait mode specifically appears fairly good. It’s top-of-the-line I’ve seen even when stacked in opposition to the iPhone 13 Professional. The digital camera is ready to blur out the background with out catching something within the foreground avoid wasting wisps of hair. That was a nice shock when it got here to the digital camera.

Most cameras lately can do very nicely when the sunshine is sweet. When the sunshine is just not good, that’s when a digital camera can shine, or within the case of the Floor Duo, fall behind. The nighttime picture samples I took have been all pretty unhealthy, besides pictures from the principle digital camera sensor. Once more, that’s often the case in relation to a typical phone digital camera set. The selfie digital camera may be very unhealthy, with focus points and heavy pixelation within the darkness behind the topic. Keep away from selfies at night time.

On the video facet, not one of the cameras can shoot secure video regardless of optical picture stabilization, which makes any type of motion nearly nausea-inducing. Capturing a video whereas strolling is bouncy and jarring no matter decision or no matter software program Microsoft has operating below the hood. At night time, all of the cameras are fairly unhealthy. That’s frequent, sadly, even one of the best cameras wrestle mightily when capturing video at night time.

Value and availability

The Microsoft Floor Duo 2 might be accessible beginning at $1,499.99 from Microsoft.com and from stores akin to Finest Purchase. It’s accessible within the U.S., U.Ok., Canada, France, Germany, and Japan. The phone ships beginning right now.

Our take

It’s a cliché to say this a few second-generation piece of {hardware}, however that is what the first-generation Duo ought to have been. However the purpose it’s a cliché is that it’s so fairly often true. I put out my want checklist for enhancements from the Floor Duo to the Floor Duo 2 and Microsoft checked all of the bins. The phone is extra highly effective and comes with a vastly improved digital camera set.

Then we come to the value. Microsoft is asking $1,500 for this phone, which is quite a bit, particularly after dropping the ball with the primary technology. However since Microsoft mounted most of what was flawed within the earlier technology, it’s not arduous to justify that value. This can be a fairly good phone, in a largely new type issue. It’s a pioneer within the Wild West, blazing a brand new path for cell units. That deserves quite a lot of credit score.

Just a few years again once I labored for a startup, considered one of our philosophies was “If it’s a must to give a rating between one and ten, by no means select seven. Seven is “too protected” a rating. As an alternative, determine if it’s ok to be an eight or unhealthy sufficient to be a six.” Quick ahead to right now, and I’ve given the Microsoft Floor Duo a rating of seven/10. I’m maintaining that rating as a result of the Floor Duo 2 is the right idea to be rated a seven. It’s neither ok to be an eight, neither is it unhealthy sufficient to be a six.

The Microsoft Floor Duo 2 is an evolution, and it’s a serious one contemplating the dumpster hearth that the Gen 1 gadget was. The Floor Duo 2 is a flagship by all requirements and doesn’t reduce corners a lot because it has quite a lot of studying to do. That is solely the second technology of this product and Microsoft mounted quite a lot of the errors it made. Now comes the refinement, and that might be thrilling to see sooner or later.

Is there a greater various?

Positive. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is simply $300 (about 20%) greater than this phone and it has higher software program and a greater set of cameras. One may argue the Floor Duo 2 is healthier than the Fold 3 when it comes to {hardware}, however that’s extra subjective. The Fold 3 is focusing on a unique demographic than the Duo 2. Microsoft needs this to be your productiveness powerhouse, whereas the Fold 3 is geared toward being a multimedia pill that matches in your pocket (and does include loads of productiveness potential, admittedly). Nonetheless, who these firms envision because the person of their units are two various things. Microsoft needs the enterprise energy person. Samsung needs everybody.

How lengthy will it final?

A smartphone is a tough piece of {hardware} to maintain protected regardless of the usual one-year guarantee. Most smartphones are glass sandwiches, however the Duo is a glass sandwich on prime of a glass sandwich. Plus, it’s arduous to discover a good case for it. That’s sufficient to make anybody nervous. On the plus facet, if a display does break, it doesn’t fold, so it in all probability received’t be as pricey to exchange. However it’s honest to say there are some query marks right here that I’ll solely have the ability to reply after extra time with the gadget.

Ought to I purchase it?

Sure, you should purchase this phone, however I’ll add a few caveats. First, this isn’t a phone for everybody; it’s not purported to be a phone for everybody. This can be a phone for somebody who values productiveness over creation. This can be a phone for somebody who both will carry a second phone with a superb digital camera or somebody who doesn’t actually care concerning the digital camera. The particular person shopping for this phone doesn’t need an iPhone, or a Galaxy S collection phone. They need one thing that’s distinctive and enjoyable they usually don’t thoughts paying quite a bit further for it.

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