Microsoft made a valiant attempt at introducing a smaller Android device called the Surface Duo last year that brought the software leader into the smartphone space.
It was eagerly anticipated among Microsoft fans, who had expected the company for years to make that grand entrance into the smartphone market, especially during the time it acquired the erstwhile handset leader Nokia.
Surface Duo offered a foldable display that Microsoft likened to other similar smartphones in the market such as those from ZTE and Samsung, fusing the two screens using a hinge. After years of Surface tech that produced a respectable line of laptops and tablets, Microsoft indeed introduced a far more elegant, eye-catching solution. But similar to the ZTE Axon M, the Surface Duo did not meet the high expectations of users.
Users complained that the device had insufficient features to justify its $1,400 tag. An external camera was lacking, software riddled with bugs and the absence of 5G support were just some of the Surface Duo's massive setbacks, Tech Crunch noted. Yet this would be understandable and acceptable, given that the Surface Duo was a first generation device.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2 With Snapdragon 888, 5G Support, Triple Camera Setup
But when Microsoft introduced a second generation of the Surface Duo, users would expectedly anticipate enhancements to the device that would address its failures in the original. With the addition of a Snapdragon 888 System on a Chip (SoC), 5G and NFC support with a seemingly futuristic, head-turning design, rear-facing triple camera setup, narrower gaps between dual screens, and the continued enhancement of software, the Surface Duo 2 looked promising, The Verge observed.
However, reviewers have noticed that the Surface Duo 2 is still not the device that will directly compete with the leaders in the market, much less fulfill the expectations of users. First off, the software still has a lot of bugs as you switch displays, and this means Microsoft should find ways to refine this further.
Next is the Surface Duo's triple rear-facing cameras-a 12-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel telephoto and 16-megapixel ultra-wide setup. Certainly, this improves on the original Surface Duo, but the device's camera app seemingly offers mere basic features--with the picture quality appearing sub-par when you compare it to even less expensive devices. The Duo 2 grappled in mixed and low light, which is definitely a letdown when you shell out $1,500 for it, Tech Crunch added.
Clearly, Microsoft has not given much interest or investment on upscaling mobile camera features, just like how Google, Apple or Samsung have made considerable effort. But as reviewers notice the Duo 2's camera misgivings, a more basic issue is uncovered. The original Duo depended on an internal camera for a reason. It's due to a clear-as-day issue of form factor, that is, a user gets to flip open with the camera on one side and the second display serving as a viewfinder on the other side.
Microsoft truly made a decent work on the camera bump, allowing the rear of the displays sit alongside each other at a slight angle. However, using the setup is difficult. It may be convenient to have the second screen show the camera shots as they are captured, but the process is cumbersome, which is like taking a picture of someone using a tablet.
Surface Duo 2 Strengths: Pen Support, Dual-Screen Gaming
Despite these unpreventable faults, the Duo 2 is still a satisfactory offering, with the addition of Microsoft Pen support and dual-screen gaming as among its strengths. There is also a Glance Bar, which gives users a glimpse of notifications in the gap between screens when the device is shut. This shows that Microsoft is continuing to do its work on improving the Duo 2's form factor.
However, the remaining issues that beset the Duo 2, and the steep price tag of $1,500, the Duo 2 is not still something an ordinary, everyday user would want to purchase.