Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 is here with three cameras, updated displays, $1500 price

Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 is here with three cameras, updated displays, $1500 price
Almost two years after the original Surface Duo was announced and around twelve months after it hit shelves, Microsoft is back with a redesigned second-generation model predictably called Surface Duo 2.

Microsoft has refined the Surface Duo 2's design with new displays

While the overall Surface Duo design philosophy remains unchanged on the new model, Microsoft has made some very important tweaks here and there that should make using Surface Duo 2 a much more pleasant experience.

For starters, the two screens that give the Surface Duo its name have grown, now measuring in at 5.8-inches instead of 5.6-inches. Combined, the new setup creates an immersive 8.3-inch display and is similar to what modern foldable smartphones like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 offer, though without the long-term durability drawbacks of foldable displays.

A higher 90Hz refresh rate is supported as standard too, meaning the user experience should be more fluid than before, and Microsoft has pushed the displays closer together, adding curved edges in the process.

The curved edges also enable a new feature. When the Surface Duo 2 is closed, the edges can display notifications, the time, and also battery status while charging. That should be a hit with productivity-focused users. 

A triple-camera setup sits on the back of Surface Duo 2

One of the biggest complaints about the original Surface Duo related to the camera system, or lack thereof. Microsoft has rectified that issue with the second-generation model by adding a new advanced triple-camera setup.

There's a main 12-megapixel camera with an f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization (OIS). Sitting alongside is a 16-megapixel ultra-wide shooter with an f/2.2 aperture and a 12-megapixel telephoto that supports an f/2.4 aperture and OIS. 

A Time-of-Flight sensor for better background blur is included as well, and Microsoft has designed a dedicated camera app for the dual-screen device too. The latter displays the viewfinder on the right and the most recent shot on the left. 

Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 is also packed with 2021 specs

This smartphone is a premium product and that's reflected by its specs sheet. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 chipset powers Surface Duo 2 and is coupled with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as standard. A pricier 512GB model will be available for anyone interested. 

The presence of Qualcomm's latest processor means that 5G networks are also supported. Fun fact: the Surface Duo 2 is the thinnest 5G device on the market, according to Microsoft, and that's despite the presence of a decently sized battery.

The original Surface Duo made do with a small 3,577mAh cell but this new model gains access to a much larger 4,449mAh battery. The downside? There's still no support for the Qi wireless charging standard. 

Other Microsoft Surface Duo 2 details include Android 11 straight out of the box, with an update to Android 12 presumably planned for next year. There's also NFC for contactless payments, a fingerprint scanner mounted on the left side, and support for the Surface Slim Pen 2 which magnetically recharges on the back of Duo 2.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 price, release date, colors

The original Microsoft Surface Duo launched at $1,399. It wasn’t very successful and has been the subject of several price cuts, but that isn’t stopping Microsoft from positioning the new model at an even higher price point.

The Surface Duo 2 retails at $1,499 in the United States with 256GB of storage, while the 512GB variant costs $1,799 — that's the same price as the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Microsoft's Duo 2 will be available in two colors: Glacier and Obsidian, more commonly known as white and black.

Customers can pre-order dual-screen Surface Duo 2 smartphone starting today in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan. Shipments start on October 21. 

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