Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface Duo began arriving in customers’ hands last Thursday, the same day the company lifted its Embargo and allowed members of the tech press who received advance shipments to post their reviews. This resulted in a flood of eligible coverage of a category-defining device that had been eagerly waiting since its announcement nearly a year ago.
The blizzard of coverage was almost at its peak, with tens of thousands of words, hundreds of photos, and enough videos to fill a YouTube channel.
The reviews covered a lot of ground, but most reached similar conclusions. The hardware is gorgeous, the software still needs to work, and the performance is adequate but is done by components that need an upgrade.
The camera came in for the most criticism, and rightly so, especially given the $ 1400 + price tag on this unusual device, and most reviewers concluded that it’s an exciting device that’s not quite ready for primetime. But they all agreed that the Google-Microsoft partnership deserves some attention.
This is not just another phone, and the reviews offer fascinating perspectives on why the Surface Duo is an interesting experiment and how it can improve over time. For those who want to know more, I have summarized the top ten reviews here, so you can make up your mind.
Surface Duo Review: Why I’m Still Confused About Microsoft’s Dual Screen Device
Our own Mary Jo Foley did her trademark “non-reviewer review” of the Surface Duo, emphasizing the daily experience of someone who mostly uses computing devices for writing. He was pleasantly surprised by the “premium and drawl-worthy” Duo hardware and battery life that “really lives up to Microsoft’s’ all-day promise.”
Unlike most fellow reviewers, he turned the Surface Duo’s camera into “OK … not amazing, but … picture quality and was better than I feared.”
The real downside to this device is “bad” navigation. Bottom line: “Does the Duo make me more productive than a regular mobile phone because it has two different screens side-by-side, as Microsoft says. After two weeks my answer is no. Non- Intuitive gestures and constant guessing how the app. Will open up and work slows me down. ”
Microsoft Surface Duo Review: Double Trouble
On The Verge, Dieter Bohn says the Surface Duo “includes all the right ideas,” but is “spoiled by buggy software and a bad camera.” Really, not only bad: “The Surface Duo’s camera is garbage. … I’ll tie this camera to a $ 300 device. The Surface Duo costs $ 1,400. Microsoft should just call it a webcam. It’s justified. Will set expectations. Plus, it’s a plus. ” A great webcam! ”
Ultimately, Bohn states that he cannot recommend the Surface Duo in its current incarnation at its current price. “But,” he says, “the Surface Duo has some glimpses of vision and potential. Microsoft has the clearest, strongest vision for a new direction in mobile computing that I’ve seen this year, but picking up a direction Is. And arriving at the destination is still two different things. ”
Wall Street Journal
Microsoft Surface Duo Review: Two Screens, Too Many Problems
Joanna Stern, one of the most critical reviewers in the business, noted the Surface Duo’s potential: “When it was working, the Duo seemed to be the first real innovation I’ve seen in smartphone design in years. Microsoft’s entry to re-mobile cellular devices actually reminded me a lot of the original Surface: a new flexible design that can unlock greater productivity. ”
After a clever recital of several issues with the pre-release device, his conclusion doesn’t cut the words: “Microsoft’s new $ 1,400 book-like phone-tablet thing isn’t ready for me and not ready for you … I am. Hungry for the real power and productivity promised by future-feeling gadgets. It really has to work. ”
Don’t miss the accompanying video, in which the pop-tart plays a starring role.
Surface Duo Review: a dual-screen phone of tomorrow … not quite ready today
As usual, Daniel Rubino has done thoroughly well-organized reviews (with videos) aimed at readers (and viewers) who are already familiar (and comfortable) with the Windows landscape.
Rubino danced to the duo for the performance: “[N]o Surface will accuse Duo of speeding. Rather, it is acceptable, and some accuse me of being too lenient there. “He speculates that the” so-so “6GB of RAM is at least partially to blame, and is a strange design decision on competing devices such as Samsung’s Note 20. Ultra shipping with 12GB Huh.
“Those who know that Android loves Microsoft 365 and Office, and constantly consuming information will benefit the most from the Surface Duo,” he concludes. But still, “maybe wait a few months to see how the software improves.”
Microsoft’s Surface Duo is a perfect mix of phones and tablets
Owen Williams is out in this batch of reviews with an outwardly enthusiastic review, which begins with the premise that the Duo is “more of a folding tablet than a smartphone.” [for] A very specific slice of people who like surface devices (like me) and care about doing more when going with the same device. ”
The experience of using two screens, he argues, is “transformational … When I first started using the Surface Duo, I doubted how much value the dual screen would add: I never thought that would be in my phone There are more screens but not only has the Duo convinced me that the extra space is worth it, it has completely changed my way of thinking about how I use my phone. ”
This is not positive at all. The camera is “good for video calling” but “mediocre … compared to the Pixel or iPhone.” Overall, however, this is what Duo’s designers will turn to when they need to cheer.
Microsoft Surface Duo Review: Hot Mess
Android Central’s headline says it all. This is an in-depth review by Daniel Bader, who made a good faith effort to embrace hardware and Microsoft-centric software, despite being all in Google services.
Conclusion: “The Surface Duo should not be available to buy right now. Its software is still too small to ask people to spend $ 1,400 for the privilege of owning Microsoft’s smallest surface.”
Microsoft Surface Duo Review: Is It The New Normal?
I saw many such reviews, among which Joseph Woppe of Mashable made a title change after its initial publication. The original title was “Is this the future of smartphones?”
And like all headlines in the form of a question, both titles eventually make headlines in Betteridge’s law: “Any title that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word number.”
This is a thorough review that is very similar to the rest of the examples listed here, but the conclusion is significantly more optimistic: “I like Doo. Yes, despite all those bugs and the lack of a front-facing notification panel, it’s something awesome. . … It’s just $ 1,400 that’s a lot to ask for convenience, especially when it’s no service. ”
Microsoft Surface Duo Review: Two Screens, Unfinished Software
Harry McCracken, who had been watching overhyped devices in this business for a long time, casts a justifiably skeptical look at the Surface Duo. They found that “the strangeness in the extreme is overcome by a combination of outright bugs and usability issues, which Microsoft has not quite resolved.”
After a detailed recount of some of those issues, McCracken delivers a wait-and-see verdict: “The company stresses that Duo’s software is work in progress, and says it plans to push out monthly software updates. It would work a lot better after an update or two. But even though I was smoked with the idea that this tool represents, I would rather wait and watch than just drop my money down. ”
(And a historical footnote: One of my all-time favorite McCracken articles is this 2012, well-after fact that there is another tool that was ahead of its time: “Newton, Rethink.”
Microsoft Surface Duo Review: An Exciting, Costly, Uncertain Case
Engadget’s Cherlin Low gives the Surface Duo what Ivy Leggers might call a “gentleman’s C”, with a rating of 71 on its 0-100 scale, and note that the initial results of Google and Microsoft’s collaboration are promising:
“The Surface Duo is decent as a phone, quite as bad as a tablet, and something as functional as everything in between. When the software works as promised. But bugs and app incompatibility make this $ 1,399 device Plague, which will require monthly updates Microsoft to resolve its many issues. ”
Microsoft Surface Duo Review: Cool Design, Janaki Performance
CNET’s Scott Stein opened his review by noting that the device “looked promising … like the perfect little device for the home world from this new job.” And then things broke down into three stages: Stage 1: a beautiful design. Stage 2: Wow, why is nothing working smoothly? Stage 3: How do you use it, exactly? Stage 4: I miss my old comfortable phone.
Like many of his peers, Stein concludes that the Surface Duo requires time: “I like the idea of experimentation, but I don’t like using experiments that don’t sound good. And right now, I don’t see who. Is. For Duo. But in a year, it might be a better solution. ”
Microsoft Surface Duo Review: Starting the Dual Screen Revolution
Sam Rutherford led his review with a note about the Duo as one of “the most divisive phones in recent memory” and a pointed rebuke at “vitriol, disbelief, and straight-up hat” . That gives you an idea of where it will end. “[A]t Some point the $ 1,400 Surface Duo seems very experimental. But that kind is to be expected when a device is trying to start a revolution. ”
He hits the same high notes (design “thoughtful elegance”) and low notes (excessive specs, and a “particularly disappointing” camera).
It is not surprising, then, that the conclusion is positive: “[E]With its flaws, the Surface Duo is already an incredibly powerful business phone. … This Microsoft has tried to reiterate what it did when it created a new class of devices with the original Surface. This is not correct, but the revolution is here. ”