Microsoft Surface Duo 2 vs Surface Duo: What's changed?

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(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft has announced its second-gen Surface Duo, an update to the instrumentality that was primitively announced successful 2019.

The Surface Duo has had an absorbing journey. Microsoft has ever been keen to debar calling it a phone, swerving the Surface Phone sanction that was circulating anterior to launch.

Although announced successful late-2019, it didn't go disposable successful the US until September 2020, and February 2021 for different markets.

So what has Microsoft changed arsenic it effort to marque the Surface Duo 2 much charismatic to customers?

Price and availability

  • Duo 2: $1,499.99 / £1,349
  • Duo: $1,399.99 / £1,349

The original Surface Duo was announced successful October 2019, with pre-orders opening August 2020 and shipping September 2020 successful the US; it was December 2020 earlier it was confirmed for different markets and February 2021 earlier it went connected sale.

The Surface Duo 2 was announced connected 22 September 2021, and it volition beryllium disposable from 20 October 2021, with pre-orders present open.

The Surface Duo has had a important terms cut, however, truthful it's disposable for astir fractional the terms of the Surface Duo 2.


Design and build

  • Duo 2: 145.2 x 184.5 x 5.5mm (open); 145.2 x 92.1 x 11mm (closed); 284g
  • Duo: 145.2 x 186.9 x 4.8mm (open); 145.2 x 93.3 x 9.9mm (closed); 250g
  • Corning Gorilla Glass exterior

The Surface Duo is simply a folding-type instrumentality with a cardinal hinge allowing you to unfastened up the instrumentality similar a book. Unlike Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold, there's nary outer display, alternatively relying connected you opening it up to use.

The instrumentality looks mostly the same, with the Duo 2 somewhat narrower, but not that you'd notice. The caller exemplary is besides somewhat thicker, the biggest carnal alteration being a camera array connected the rear, much similar a accepted smartphone.

The caller exemplary comes successful 2 colours - Glacier (white) oregon Obsidian (black) - portion the archetypal exemplary is lone disposable successful Glacier. Both are finished successful Corning Gorilla Glass to the exterior.

The signifier origin stay the same, with the quality to fold it backmost connected itself truthful some screens are connected the extracurricular to usage one-handed; connected the Duo 2 the camera bump is angled and protected truthful it fits unneurotic with a gap, alternatively than flush similar the archetypal model.

One plan constituent to enactment is that the Duo 2 has flimsy curves to the displays connected the interior edge, meaning that erstwhile the instrumentality is closed, immoderate of the show tin beryllium seen down the spine of the device. This tin enactment arsenic a notifications area.

The Duo 2 besides offers stereo speakers implicit the Duo's mono speaker, truthful the audio is going to beryllium better.

It's an improvement implicit the archetypal Duo successful presumption of design, overmuch the same, but cleverly adapted to accommodate the caller camera array, portion besides shrinking the bezels astir the displays for a amended wide look.


  • Duo 2: 2x 5.8in, 1344 x 1892 pixels, 401ppi; 8.3in, 2688 x 1892 pixels combined
  • Duo: 2x 5.6in, 1350 x 1800 pixels, 401ppi; 8.1in, 2700 x 1800 pixels combined

There's a akin statement of displays connected the Duo 2 and Duo, with some utilizing AMOLED panels and some offering the aforesaid wide pixel density of 401ppi.

The Duo 2 has somewhat larger displays, however, truthful there's a small much show abstraction and the bezels person shrunk a small to accommodate this - portion besides offering that spine presumption we mentioned previously.

Both are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass, with Panos Panay, main merchandise officer, saying the Duo was covered successful the hardest Gorilla Glass, which would beryllium Victus.

The displays connected some are designed to enactment independently, allowing side-by-side apps, but supporting enhanced apps crossed some displays to usage the afloat screen. You tin besides usage 1 show arsenic a controller for games, for illustration erstwhile Xbox Cloud Gaming.

There's 1 large assistance for the Duo 2, nevertheless and that's a 90Hz refresh rate. That volition marque scrolling conscionable a small smoother implicit the older Duo, making the day-to-day usage of the newer instrumentality a small much refined.

The Surface Duo 2 continues to enactment the Surface Pen, but you tin magnetically connect the Surface Slim Pen which is simply a convenient solution.

Hardware and specs

  • Duo 2: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G, 8GB RAM, 128/256/512GB storage, 4449mAh
  • Duo: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM. 128/256GB storage, 3577mAh

There's a large alteration successful the interior hardware, dealing with 1 of the problems that Qualcomm faced astatine launch. Launching with Snapdragon 888, the Duo 2 is utilizing 2021 hardware, whereas the archetypal Duo was utilizing 2019 hardware erstwhile it became disposable successful 2020.

The Snapdragon 888 has integrated 5G for faster connectivity, portion offering a beauteous large measurement guardant successful show compared to SD855, arsenic it's 2 generations much advanced.

There's a bump successful RAM and an enlargement of retention options up to 512GB connected the Duo 2, though that brings with it expanding prices, and with that accelerated connectivity, you mightiness similar unreality retention instead.

The Duo 2 gets NFC, truthful you'll beryllium capable to usage Google Pay, portion there's a bigger artillery excessively - truthful it whitethorn good connection amended endurance. The charger for the Duo 2 volition connection 23W charging, a insignificant leap implicit the 18W of the Duo.

In each areas, the Duo 2 should beryllium a amended performer than the archetypal Duo model.


  • Duo 2 triple rear camera:
    • Main: 12MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm, OIS
    • Tele: 12MP, f/2.4, 1.0µm, OIS
    • Ultrawide: 16MP, f/2.2, 1.0µm
    • Front: 12MP, f/2.0, 1.0µm
  • Duo: 11MP, f/2.0, 1.0µm

There's a large alteration successful the cameras for the Surface Duo. The archetypal had a azygous camera connected the inside, but the Duo 2 present has a triple camera array connected the outside, arsenic we mentioned successful the design.

This brings a dedicated main, telephoto and ultrawide camera, supported by a time-of-flight sensor to boost focusing. There's optical representation stabilisation disposable too.

Ultimately, this opens up a scope of options, but you'll inactive person to virtually unfastened up the Duo 2 to usage these cameras arsenic you'll request to usage the show connected the wrong arsenic a viewfinder, truthful it's not going to beryllium arsenic convenient arsenic a smartphone, oregon instrumentality with an outer display, similar the Galaxy Z Fold.

We don't cognize what the show of these cameras is going to beryllium like, but it's a large alteration from the archetypal Duo and that’s apt to adhd entreaty to those considering it arsenic their main "phone", with a batch much camera features offered.


Summing up

The Surface Duo 2 is simply a measurement guardant implicit the archetypal Duo, launching with newer hardware and boosted features to marque it much appealing arsenic a instrumentality - portion besides being amended positioned to vie with immoderate flagship devices.

Much volition travel down to however good the bundle works, some arsenic an Android device, but besides with the optimisations that Microsoft has included. That's going to see a batch of Microsoft apps, truthful the Surface Duo could beryllium a large instrumentality for those moving wrong a Microsoft 365 situation - and hopefully, a amended acquisition implicit the erstwhile version.

For those superior astir the Surface Duo, the caller exemplary looks similar the evident prime - but with the older exemplary slashed to fractional the price, you mightiness conscionable beryllium tempted to prime it up and spot what it offers.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published connected 23 September 2021.

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