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Microsoft's Dual Screen Phones arrives Sept 10 for $1400


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We finally have a price and date for the Surface Duo, and it's sooner than I thought, for a very high price. On September 10th for $1400 you'll be able to have your very own dual screen android phone, and in my opinion, it looks great.

 

The hardware is sleek as hell, and from the (overly brief) initial hands-on accounts, it seems the software is pretty good. The dual screen setup means that all android apps will work without modification, thereby side-stepping issues around folding phone apps.

 

Still, for a super premium phone, this is clearly a case of paying extra to have the cool new thing. The battery is considerably smaller than the Note 20 Ultra's or Galaxy Fold's. The processor is an old 855, not the current 865. It lacks any 5G support.

 

Something I expect reviewers to rake this over the coals for is the camera. It's sporting a single 11MP f/2.0 camera on the inside of the right hand screen. A single half of the duo is thinner than most phones, so I don't have much hope that somehow they've put in a great lens. MS hasn't released as phone in a long time, so I also doubt that they're anywhere near par with Samsung/Apple/Google. Also, even if the camera is passable, this will be a terrible device to whip out and take a photo with, since you have to fold it all the way around to have a camera pointing away from you and have a view. Yeah, this is a productivity device first and foremost, but even if the CEO uses it primarily for email, she probably still takes pictures with her phone, and I think it's reasonable for a $1400 device to take decent photos. 

 

This is a phone that I really want to want. I want to it to be great and to lust over it, but I also expect it to be a real novelty rather than a particularly worthwhile device. MS is investing a lot in this whole dual screen setup, with the Surface Neo also in the pipeline. Hopefully they'll keep with it long enough to build devices really worth buying into.

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This thing is enormous. Hit play, I've linked it to the timecode where the woman in the video holds it up to her head.

 

 

I don't see how you can comfortably put that in most pants pockets.

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57 minutes ago, Keyser_Soze said:

Is it actually a phone though or just a surface? Didn't Microsoft kill off all their phones?

 

It's a phone. Microsoft killed the Windows Phone stuff, this is Android.

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

This thing is enormous. Hit play, I've linked it to the timecode where the woman in the video holds it up to her head.

 

Sidetalking is making a comeback!

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On 8/12/2020 at 11:52 PM, Jason said:

This thing is enormous. Hit play, I've linked it to the timecode where the woman in the video holds it up to her head.

 

 

I don't see how you can comfortably put that in most pants pockets.

 

This thing is pretty damn thin, but it's so wide, even when folded. I don't know why they made it so wide.

 

I might get one to play around with. It looks like it could, in theory, be a pretty good pocketable tablet for work.

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On 8/14/2020 at 7:18 AM, Dre801 said:

I actually loved Windows Phone. Was sad to see it go.  

I know, right? From a usability standpoint, the Windows Phone OS was the best smartphone OS. It was so nice and easy to use. Unfortunately, Microsoft was completely missing a marketing department back then and couldn't do anything with it.

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  • 1 month later...

Here's my unsolicited opinion on this...thing.

 

I'm not even sure where to begin. It's too unwieldy as phone and too two screen for a tablet. This hardware is slick as hell, but typing on this thing is wildly uncomfortable unless you enjoy using both thumbs to touch type. Swyping is not a real option unless you can, I don't know, easily palm a basketball.

 

The biggest issue here is software and design decisions that Microsoft is really going to have to rethink the next time around. I swear, this phone/tablet thing would have been better with a Sidekick-style swivel and not the good. Having no screen accessible while closed is crazy. I'd even take a tiny OLED like Samsung did with the Z Flip. It's impossible to see who's calling without opening the device. Even then, answering a call is a joke. You need to open it, swing it all the way around and hope the phone software actually pops up on the screen side with an actual speaker and mic. You're supposed to be able to double tap the screen to swap sides, but it rarely works as expected. You actually have to flip the phone around, wait for it to realize you swapped it, and then tap on the screen to swap the display. While all that is happening, the active screen is still active, so I hope you don't click on something you don't want to while you're trying to swap to the opposite side.

 

Even the braindead easy stuff is crazy to me. The bumper "case" is taped to the edge of the phone, but still covers a portion of the back of the phone leaving it unable to fully fold fully flat. Also, the peak view of the screen you see in videos isn't even properly spaced. It's September 30th, and half the 0 in the "Sep 30" is cut off.

 

It's late and I just typed this entire thing out on a Surface Duo, so excuse any shitty grammar and whatnot. Microsoft's Swiftkey is awful on this thing. I'd use GBoard, but it doesn't actually work right. It'll sometimes stretch across both screens for no reason or pop up on the wrong screen.

 

This is tons of fun.

 

Reading manga or books on this thing is great. The Duo at least has that going for it.

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I would like to point out that if a two screen phone is intriguing to you there are better and cheaper options on the market now... LG has the V60 and ASUS has the ROG phone which have second screens you can attach to them. Also for something a bit different there is the LG Wing which has a swivel screen that has a half size screen hidden underneath 🤔

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5 hours ago, DPCyric said:

I would like to point out that if a two screen phone is intriguing to you there are better and cheaper options on the market now... LG has the V60 and ASUS has the ROG phone which have second screens you can attach to them. Also for something a bit different there is the LG Wing which has a swivel screen that has a half size screen hidden underneath 🤔

 

The build quality on the Surface Duo is miles ahead of any of these others. I don't think Microsoft has to change a lot as far as hardware goes. Make it slimmer and add an exterior display. That's about it. Everything else can remain the same. If it needs to be a little thicker to accommodate that then yeah, sure. The only reason it even needs to be so crazy thin is because it won't fit in anyone's pockets were it thicker as wide as it is. Make it narrow and a little more girth would be fine. As external display literally needs to be nothing more than what the Z Flip. Just give me a reason to know if opening this thing up is worth it.

 

A lot of the other troubles are on the software end. There was ZERO reason to change away from the Google standard gestures. Doing so makes things worse. Also, when in holding the phone sideways, so the screens are on top of one another, it doesn't work like a tablet. The app drawer remains on the side instead of dropping to the bottom. That also means opening the app drawer is a right-left swipe and changing homescreens is an up-down swipe. Also, in this orientation, the back gesture is activated from the bottom of the displays since that's where it is when the screens are in the side by side orientation.

 

It's wild to me that the software even made it past QA. Microsoft has a major update hitting later this month. Let's see if they fix any of this.

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