Devil that the object is attractive! When in October 2019 Panos Panay came to Paris to present the brand’s novelties, the Surface Duo had had its effect. In the fading light of a city between dog and wolf, the product director of Microsoft then nonchalantly held in his hands the elegant immaculate white device, like a cigarette case from another era, air of nothing . No release date, no price announced for this large smartphone that could be unfolded. Unless it was a tablet that we were going to slip into his pocket. Whatever the name, the nomadic workers that we are sure to become were won over.
18 months later, Microsoft has kept its promise and since this morning it is possible to get the Surface Duo at Darty, at FNAC or on the brand’s “store”… On condition that the price is paid: 1,549 euros for 128 GB, 1649 euros for 256 GB and a single color, of course, a glacier white. No need to pinch your nose. We suspected that the American was not going to sell off his new toy. But at this price, you might as well know what you’re getting back.
First of all, you have to keep in mind that the Surface Duo is not a foldable smartphone, like those from Huawei and Samsung, let alone a rollable model, like the latest prototype from the manufacturer Oppo. No, Microsoft has indeed chosen a dual screen separated by a hinge. We will see its interest later.
Opened, the device measures 145.2 mm x 186.9 mm for a thickness of 4.8 mm. Closed, it is only 145.2 mm x 93.3 mm for a little less than 1 cm, or exactly 9.9 mm. It is therefore very thin, but also very light with its 250 grams (for comparison it is thinner and lighter than the Samsung Fold). Its two 5.6-inch screens ultimately form a set of 8.1 inches (difficult to speak of a single screen in this configuration, however).
Finally, it has a single camera on the side of 11 Mpx, runs Android with a Snapdragon 855 processor from Qualcomm and announces a long battery life for an autonomy of 15:30 with video playback. So much for its main technical characteristics.
The rest is a little more complicated to describe and judge. “This is the first version of a new category of devices” would like to point out from the outset to Obs Pete Kyriacou, vice president of Microsoft devices. Translate by: do not try to link this product to something existing, everyone, according to their needs, will find the use that suits them. With one constant, however, like the brand’s products: “We have created a product, but above all an experience that should allow our customers to improve their productivity. But be careful, not productivity to do more things at once, but to recover time ”. Of which act.
According to him, the Surface Duo was first designed by the Microsoft teams to be above all a very mobile and very interactive object, a bit like the first “Surface” of the brand, both laptop and tablet. In fact, the device, with its two screens and its 360 ° hinge, can be positioned in many ways, like a computer placed on a desk, one of the two screens serving as a keyboard, or in our hands. like a book that one flips through (for the application of the Amazon Kindle).
Responding to the inevitable criticisms on the choice of the dual screen and the prominent hinge (is it a choice?) The vice president retorts “Glass screen, not plastic”, “Solidity”, and the ability to take notes using the stylus supplied with the device. Not false. For Pete Kyriacou, the two screens are therefore an asset and not a handicap: they make it possible to use all the existing apps, and to improve their use, to slide without problem from one window to another, for example to participate to a Team or Zoom video conference on one of the two screens, while taking notes on the other …
And why not, to bring them together in one for a more immersive experience when watching a movie. And too bad for the hinge? If it is true that the brain manages to sweep it away after a certain time, it does not remain about it any less while other manufacturers offer, them, truly a big screen …
In fact, it is impossible to ignore the criticisms that have not failed since the device was released in the United States six months ago. Unlike Samsung’s foldable smartphone, which is about to release a third version of its “Fold”, the Surface Duo offers neither 5G nor multiple cameras for high quality photos. Finally, the latest version of Android has not yet been installed on this smartphone and the specialized journalists, who have held it in hand for a few days, do not quite seem convinced.
What is certain, however, is that a group like Microsoft, an expert in mobile devices of all categories and of all sizes, has every interest, in this new world drawn by the Covid, to improve this product and to continue with it. Development. It is clear, the example of Samsung’s Fold is convincing in this regard, that larger but foldable smartphones are of interest to the public and have an interest. And it doesn’t matter, in my opinion, whether or not they have a hinge.
Equip yourself for telework (but have fun)