Mobile Phones

Surface Duo with dual screen: is it worth the wait?

Microsoft has something for anyone who claims that the technology has become boring and predictable: the new Surface Duo, its first device on Android and a monument to the power and potential of the innovation.

We finally have all the details of the device, which goes on sale today and will begin to reach the hands of the public on the 10th of September. In the US you can get it through Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, with a starting price of $1,399 dollars.

What if the Surface Duo is at the height of the expectations? That is what we will know when we try. However, the mystery that surrounds this phone of double screen has begun to clarify.

What matters are the details

After waiting almost a year since it was first announced, Microsoft has shared all the details of its highly anticipated return to the world of cell phones.

Let’s start with the basics: the base configuration of the Surface Duo comes with 128GB of storage (which can rise up to 256GB), the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, and, of course, their two AMOLED screens of 5.6 inches. Each has a resolution of 1,800 x 1,350, giving a total of 401 pixels per inch. When opened, these are transformed into a screen of 8.1 inches with an aspect ratio of 3:2 (if we do not have the bezel in the center, of course).

The Surface Duo account with a hinge of polished metal that allows a movement of 360 degrees. The screens can be spliced like a closed book, to be opened fully in tablet mode, and even “stand” in the style of an easel, useful thing when you’re watching your favorite series or your content on Quibi.

The screens (or “hemispheres”, apparently) are connected by a 56 special cables inside the hinges; Microsoft claims that it had to invent a special alloy for this, with a thickness of just two-hundredths of a millimeter. The Duo weighs 0.55 pounds (0.25 kilograms) and measures just 0.39 inches (0.99 cm) when closed.

If you know the phones badge today, none of that will impress you too. This is because Microsoft never set out to simply make another phone. For a start, the phone badge to use the chip Qualcomm’s latest, the Snapdragon 865. The Duo has the 855, last year, and has no capacity 5G, thing that is sure to leave you speechless – either because it does not really matter to you, or because you’re shocked that a new phone, skip this detail.

Also forget the wireless charging and all those lenses that only a professional photographer could understand and operate effectively. What you get here is a single front camera is of 11 megapixel. When the device is open, this is pointing towards your face, but when you rotate the second screen can be used as a rear camera.

This does not mean that the experience with the camera is short – it has portrait mode, panorama, zoom, and burst, plus the ability to record video in 4K and electronic image stabilization. Even so, probably will not compete with the latest generation of the Pixel, the iPhone or the Galaxy. It is clear that there were to make some sacrifices to be able to charge that price, and that makes this device intriguing.

With a cost of $1,399 usd, the Surface Duo outperforms the current generation of flip phones: the Moto RAZR costs $1,500, the newly announced Galaxy Z Flip 5G costs $1,450 dollars (and who knows how much it will cost the Z-Fold2) and the Matte Xs Huawei it costs nothing less than $2,750 dollars. The Surface Duo seeks to offer an experience similar to that of those phones, but with two screens instead of a single one that is double.

However, ultimately what counts is what you can do with this device. And it is no small thing.

When the hardware is with the software

With his line of products Surface, the brains behind Microsoft has focused on capitalizing on the magic that happens when the hardware and the software work together. It’s the same formula the company used for its Surface Hub 2, for example. The same Panos Panay, the Product Manager behind the device Surface, we explained it with these words: “The beauty of this product –the combination of hardware and software – is that not only will be with you wherever you are; we will help you to get where you’re going, and our products will be there when you arrive”.

The interest to details is the recipe that Apple has used for 20 years, and for the creators of this brand is more easy, because there is only one company that makes products that use iOS. When we talk about attention to detail, Apple is at the forefront. You don’t need more to remember the first time we use an iPod Shuffle, that box multicolor that played back MP3 files, released by Apple during the first decade of this century. When you connect it, the icon for your computer it was the same color as that of the device; a genius is completely useless still remember with affection.

That is attention to detail. And with the Surface Duo, Microsoft has endeavored as never before.

“The product was created as the Microsoft already love and the Android that already know us,” says Panay.

Demonstrations-virtual Panay and his team really highlighted the attention to detail, thanks to a close partnership with engineers from Google’s Android. Open a app on a screen, and the icons that this would have concealed move to the other side of the screen. Open Outlook on one screen, you choose an e-mail and this will open the other side and you can read it. Opens a prescription of a side and the application of the other, and you can drag ingredients between screens to create a shopping list. Everything does just what you’d expect it to do. Feels intuitive.

This is particularly striking with productivity tools such as Outlook. If you are one of those people who spend the day alternating again and again between the inbox and the calendar, why not use the two at the same time? Windows has that function, although almost nobody bothers to use it. But with two screens, is something obvious – besides that happens by default.

Then comes something that Panay called it “the stage Satya”. Apparently, the CEO of Microsoft likes to make notes about the books they read. To have OneNote open on one side and the Kindle app in the other, you can do both at the same time. Sounds simple. It is simply smart.

To boost this experience, Microsoft has created something called App Groups – a new way of linking and opening, in combination, two applications that you use often. Click on the special icon and automatically take action. There is also a new way to close applications, simply “launching” the app off the screen to the left or to the right. We return to the intuitive. What intelligent.

A labor of love

The challenge with the launch of the Surface Duo is the way in which alters everything you know about purchasing a phone. Shouldn’t you find the fastest and the greatest? Wouldn’t that, logically, the best? Panay and Microsoft argue that a better software, a better job and more attention to detail are the things that you really need to make a great product. Panay imagined this device a decade ago, ensures. And it would seem that the team has been working on it since then. Only wish it had been the chips improved that have come on the market.

What is absurd to introduce a new type of phone, by nature, a mobility device, in a time in which people are moving much less? It is an interesting question, says Panay. Despite the fact that almost all we are confined, we have to carry our phones everywhere, isn’t it? And the ability to do more with that device that makes us more efficient and allows us to spend more time with our family and our personal interests.

If the Duo can do that, we are left in no doubt. Second screen, there we go.

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