The Microsoft Surface Duo was an unusual smartphone with a dual-screen design that’s unlike almost anything else out there. That was both a blessing and a curse, helping it stand out, but ensuring it would be a niche device.
Now there are signs of a Microsoft Surface Duo 2 on the horizon, and it looks set to keep the same core selling points as the original Surface Duo, while fixing some of its issues, with a better chipset and camera likely, among other things.
We don’t know anything for sure about the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 yet, but numerous leaks are starting to emerge, giving us a partial picture of the possible phone, and hinting that it could launch sooner rather than later. Below, you’ll find everything we’ve heard so far.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next dual-screen phone from Microsoft
- When is it out? Possibly by the end of November
- How much will it cost? Unsure, but expect a high price
Microsoft Surface Duo 2 release date and price
There aren’t any very precise release date rumors yet, but one leak points to the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 being unveiled in either September or October, and going on sale more or less immediately after it’s announced.
Elsewhere, we’ve heard that the phone could land in ‘fall’, meaning September, October or November, so these leaks line up.
While we’d take these claims with a pinch of salt – especially since as of late August we still haven’t heard an enormous amount about the phone – it’s certainly possible that the Duo 2 could land soon.
The original Microsoft Surface Duo was unveiled in August 2020 and went on sale in September, so assuming a yearly release cycle, a new model is due. Plus, reports suggest the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 has been in the works since July 2020, so Microsoft could have been working on it for a while.
What we have even less idea of is the price, but the high price was something the original Surface Duo was criticized for, so it’s possible Microsoft will try and reduce it. For reference, the original Microsoft Surface Duo started at $1,399 / £1,350 (about AU$1,930).
Design and display
We’d be very surprised if the Microsoft Duo 2 didn’t have a fundamentally similar design to the original Surface Duo – that is, two screens with a hinge in the middle, so you can fold it into different positions, and use it a bit like a pocket-sized, touchscreen laptop.
Indeed, leaked photos supposedly showing the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 show a very similar design, albeit with a new black color scheme, along with a white option again.
The biggest visual change beyond the possibility of a new color is the camera block. We’ll talk more about this below, but it juts out significantly from the rear, and looks rather inelegant, particularly compared to the original Surface Duo, and this makes us a bit skeptical of these images. That said, Windows Central claims to have confirmed they’re legitimate.
In any case, these photos also show a slightly repositioned USB-C port, and Tech Rat – which appears to be the source of the leak – claims that the phone could have slightly larger screens than its predecessor (up from 5.6 inches for a single screen, and 8.1 inches for the combined dual-screen) and slightly smaller bezels.
In other design news, we’ve seen a Microsoft patent that details a redesigned hinge that should be more impact-resistant. This would mean that if you drop the phone, you’re less likely to damage the screens, as the hinge would be able to absorb the impact better.
The patent doesn’t mention the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 by name, but it is a design intended for foldable phones. That said, patents also often don’t get used, so don’t count on seeing this.
Camera and battery
We weren’t big fans of the cameras on the original Microsoft Surface Duo, but it looks like changes could be in the works for the Surface Duo 2.
For one thing, leaked images which you can see further up this article show a fairly large camera block with a triple-lens arrangement. That’s up from just a single-lens 11MP front-facing camera on the original Surface Duo.
According to Windows Central, these three cameras are main, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, which is the standard arrangement for a triple-lens camera.
Beyond that, a Microsoft job listing was spotted that mentioned camera improvements around machine learning and AI, for upcoming Android-powered Surface products.
So like many phones the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 might make liberal use of AI to optimize shots, and as this was mentioned in a job listing it’s likely genuine. We’re less sure of the pictures of a triple-lens camera that we’ve seen, but it’s certainly possible they’re accurate.
There’s no news on the Surface Duo 2’s battery yet, but for reference the original model has a 3,577mAh one, which isn’t particularly big.
Specs and features
The original Microsoft Surface Duo launched with a slightly dated chipset that was high-end but over a year old by the time the phone launched. For the Surface Duo 2, the situation might be improved a bit.
A Geekbench benchmark listing seemingly for the phone mentions a Snapdragon 888 chipset, which we’ve been seeing in phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 since the beginning of 2021, so it’s not brand new, but assuming the Surface Duo 2 launches soon it will still be newer than its predecessor’s chipset was when that launched.
The listing also mentions 8GB of RAM and Android 11, while another leak suggests the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 will support 5G. This all sounds like fairly conventional 2021 flagship specs – nothing overly impressive, but it doesn’t sound like the phone will be lacking for power or features either.