There's no question that Microsoft's first foray into both foldable handsets and Android devices in general comes with a distinctive design and big productivity ambitions that no other smartphone manufacturer can hope to challenge.
But with great flexibility comes great extravagance, as the dual-screen Surface Duo
is currently up for pre-order
at a starting price of $1,400. That happens to be 50 bucks lower than what Samsung is charging for an unlocked Galaxy Z Flip 5G
, which however offers significantly superior specifications.
(Almost) anything goes
On the bright side, you can already save big on Microsoft's foldable Snapdragon 855 powerhouse, and all you need is a "qualified" trade-in. While the list of devices eligible for a solid discount on the Surface Duo is quite lengthy, you will obviously have to trade in something pretty new and valuable to save the $700 advertised as the maximum markdown available right now.
We're talking something like Apple's iPhone 11 Pro
or Pro Max, as well as Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
, Galaxy Fold
, or Z Flip. In order to qualify for the full discount, these bad boys will need to be completely functional and feature a "completely intact" housing without cracks or missing parts, which also goes for devices eligible for slightly lower savings.
A mint-condition iPhone 8
, 8 Plus, X, XR, Samsung Galaxy S10e
, S9, S9+, Google Pixel 4
, 4 XL, and even a 3 XL are appraised at $400 apiece, while the regular-sized Pixel 3 is valued at $350.
Incredibly enough, Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 is part of the $550 trade-in club alongside the S10, S10+, iPhone 11
, XS, and XS Max, whereas the Galaxy S20
5G, Note 10, Note 10+, and Note 10+ 5G are eligible for an even higher $650 discount.
You can also migrate from an oldie and/or mid-ranger like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8
, S8, S8+, Google Pixel 3a
, 3a XL, Apple iPhone SE
(2020), iPhone 7
, or 7 Plus
to the Surface Duo and save 250 bucks in the process. Finally, as is unfortunately often the case, devices from other brands are eligible for pretty modest discounts, ranging from as little as $75 and $95 with a Moto Z4 and Nokia 9 PureView
respectively to an equally insulting $375 for the reimagined Motorola Razr.
Things are not much better for current owners of devices like the LG G8X ThinQ
, V50 ThinQ
5G, OnePlus 7
Pro, 7T, and 7T Pro
McLaren 5G, which are looking at getting only between $100 and $220.
A relatively straightforward trade-in process
Some of the aforementioned discounts are not bad at all and a few offers are actually pretty much irresistible (like the Note 9 one), but before you get too excited, you might want to keep in mind you'll need to pay the full price of the Surface Duo upfront.
After that, you can use the CExchange-powered Microsoft Store trade-in program to get an individual appraisal for your specific phone, tablet, or laptop. A proof of Surface Duo purchase will then be required to move on to the next step, which involves actually sending Microsoft your old device. Once that thing clears a standard inspection, your discount will be applied directly to your PayPal or bank account.
That sounds like a simple enough process, although we're fairly certain some of you would prefer receiving the Surface Duo discount a little earlier. Keep in mind that the dual-screen handset is only scheduled to start shipping on September 10, fetching $1,400 in a 128GB storage configuration and $1,500 with twice that local digital hoarding room on deck.
Its somewhat underwhelming spec sheet
includes a nice pair of 5.6-inch AMOLED displays that extend to a total area of 8.1 inches when used in tandem, as well as a 6GB RAM count, relatively modest 3,577mAh battery capacity, a single 11MP "adaptive" camera, Android 10 software, but no 5G connectivity, NFC support, wireless charging
, water resistance, headphone jack, or microSD card slot.
Clearly, this thing is not worth $1,400 and up, but if you can get it at $700, $850, or even $1,000 after a trade-in discount, the value proposition is vastly improved.