The new Surface Duo 2 costs $ 1,499, and that’s probably OK

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Microsoft introduced its successor to the Microsoft Duo today at its annual Surface event and had the absolute nerve to charge another $ 100 for its brand new non-a-phone, the Surface Duo 2. You will remember the year. last, when the original Duo hit shelves, it carried a price tag of $ 1,399. Since then, the price has fallen to fire selling levels, hovering around the much more acceptable $ 400. So when Microsoft introduced the Surface Duo 2 at a higher price point, it is bound to give you a break, and rightly so.

Last week I wrote my wishlist for what we needed to see in the Surface Duo 2. In short, I asked Microsoft to ditch the non-phone narrative, d ‘add flagship specs and, for Pete’s sake, patch the software. Today we found out that Microsoft had at least checked one of those boxes.

But none of that matters if the software isn’t ready.

The Surface Duo 2 comes with all the specs you’d expect to see in a 2021 flagship phone. You’ve got your Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, 5G, NFC, and a triple setup. camera, complete with a camera bump. I ask you, dear reader, what is a modern day flagship without a phone camera so monstrous that it needs its own bump? Microsoft also added an almost 25% larger battery.

More importantly, Microsoft has added three more cameras to the phone, in the traditional wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto setup. This marks a big improvement over its predecessor which relied on a single, mostly terrible camera to take all of its photos and videos. The new phone is also slightly larger, adding 0.2 inches on each side and just 0.7mm thick.

Microsoft

Overall, without having done a full review yet, this phone looks more like a finished product. In retrospect, the original Surface Duo was more of a beta test than a finished product, and its sales (or lack thereof) and ultimate fire sale confirmed this. This material is much more in line with what you would expect from a flagship.

But now we come to that price, $ 1,499 is a good part of the change, just $ 200 from its closest realistic competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. Although the comparison between the two isn’t exactly right. apples and oranges, a price difference of $ 200 between the two is really not enough to distinguish one from the other. If you’re willing to shell out over $ 1,499 for a Duo 2, you should also be prepared to offer an additional $ 200 to go with the Z Fold 3.

$ 1,499 is a good chunk of the change, just $ 200 from its closest realistic competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

It is then a question of priorities. If you want to multitask like a chef, go for the Duo 2; if you want to have a big screen for consumption, then the Z Fold 3 is your winner. The point is, these two devices should be just as good for what they’re designed to be and they both have the specs to back it up. That’s why the price of the Duo 2 makes a lot of sense.

Is Duo 2 ready for prime time?

Microsoft Duo 2 can accept Slim Pen input
Microsoft

But none of that matters if the software isn’t ready. The original Microsoft Duo software was terrible. But Microsoft had a year to fix the bugs. Better hardware will help, but a year of additional software optimizations and bug fixes should be even better. We have seen incremental improvements in the software over the year, but even with the latest software releases there has been less than optimal behavior.

Fortunately, it’s fair to predict that Microsoft won’t try to play the embargo game this time around. Last year’s “hardware-only” embargo was an obvious attempt to distract from hardware and distract from software. The gear was great last year, and this year it looks to be just as good. But the separate embargoes were a pretty transparent attempt to wow people before critics exposed the wizard behind the curtain.

Personally, I would also like to see more apps take advantage of the dual screen, but I don’t think that will happen. Put simply, the original Duo was too much of a train wreck for developers to trust the platform. There is no sense in putting resources into a platform that is not only unproven, but noticeable failure. So it’s unlikely that a ton of developers will join us anytime soon.

What about Duo 2 cameras?

This is another big question mark. Microsoft has certainly responded to the only major hardware criticism of the original Duo. While the single camera was (barely) good for video conferencing, it was terrible under just about every other circumstance. Microsoft responded this time around with a tri-camera setup that included the main camera, telephoto, and ultra-wide sensor. It is extremely encouraging.

I would be frankly surprised if the camera was anything close this first time around. I have this fantasy that Microsoft has kept a few goodies from the old days of Lumia that will make their first “real” camera setup amazing right off the bat. It’s a pipe dream, I realize, but it sure would be. If you put a gun to my head and make me guess, I think the Surface Duo 2’s cameras will probably be on par with mid-range offerings these days, that is, they will probably be great in broad daylight, and get progressively worse as the sun goes down.

It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. It’s honestly pretty hard to screw up camera sensors these days when the lighting is good. Microsoft will have less experience in the post-processing part, which can be worrying, but overall I’ll be shocked if you take a photo at an amusement park, and it doesn’t look very good.

Everything revolves around the Benjamins

So this year’s Duo 2 starts at $ 1,499, and on paper it’s fine with me. What Microsoft is doing is adding excitement to the mobile space in a way that is both unique and useful. Running two apps side by side on two large screens has a ton of potential, as LG explored before its untimely demise from mobile. Is it too early to talk about LG dual screen phones? Because LG has some great ideas out there and I hope Microsoft paid attention to them.

Meanwhile, if the Duo 2’s hardware is as sleek and well-built as the original Duo, Microsoft has a potential winner here. But again, it’s all on paper. It will actually depend on the overall experience, and it cannot be judged by a few demos on stage. Once critics have had a chance to work with the Duo for a while, it will be much clearer. Has Microsoft Created a Winner? The datasheet ticks a lot of boxes. It’s just a question of whether the software can live up to the spec sheet.

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