Floor Duo 2 hands-on: Nearly all the things will get upgraded

New Surface Duo 2: Almost everything is better now

The Floor Duo 2 has new rear cameras, 5G and a brand new processor, arriving this fall.


Microsoft

Microsoft’s Floor Duo 2, introduced at the moment on the firm’s digital Floor occasion, seems prefer it’s addressed plenty of the earlier Duo’s shortcomings: generally sluggish efficiency, one digicam and an absence of 5G. Whether or not it will probably compete with the Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 stays to be seen, however the Duo lastly has 5G, extra cameras, a quicker processor and even a facet show. The Duo 2 begins at $1,499 and is accessible for preorder with an Oct. 5 launch date. Here is what you have to find out about Microsoft’s new Android telephone and the way it goals to compete. Will its efficiency lastly really feel higher?

Learn right here for all of the methods it is improved in comparison with the primary Duo, extra about all of the Duo 2 digicam upgrades, the brand new Floor Slim Pen 2, Floor Professional 8, Floor Go 3, Floor Laptop computer Studio and Floor Adaptive Equipment

Floor Duo 2 design: A brand new Look Bar on the hinge

The Duo 2 seems the identical, at first. It is like a folding all-glass Moleskine ebook, with two separate screens linked by a hinge, versus one steady bendable show just like the Galaxy Fold 3 and Z Flip 3. It folds again right into a tent mode and may speak in confidence to see each screens without delay, or flip again to make use of only one display screen. Glass covers the back and front panels, similar to earlier than.

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A brand new edge show alongside the hinge reveals notifications now.


Microsoft

The twin 5.8-inch AMOLED are a bit bigger than the 5.6-inch screens have been. They speak in confidence to about 8.3 inches of complete house, with 1,892×1,344-pixel decision per show. The glass overlaying the shows is now Gorilla Glass Victus, which Microsoft guarantees can be extra sturdy. Additionally, the shows at the moment are barely curved in on the hinge, which seems prefer it means much less of a spot between shows and a extra fluid look. The shows are 90Hz this time, too.

There’s one huge new function: A Look Bar strip working down the facet of the Duo 2’s hinge that may present battery life and notifications, type of like edge shows different telephones have had. Contemplating the folded-up Duo 2 does not have an outer display screen on the opposite facet, this may very well be helpful for incoming calls. 

The Look Bar lights up if you’re receiving a telephone name, and you may in any other case press the Floor Duo’s facet button to see whether or not you’ve gotten any notifications. You may positively must unfold the telephone to see any significant info. However the Look Bar appears to ship precisely what its title implies: a glanceable view of what you could be lacking whereas your telephone is closed.  


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Microsoft beefs up the Surface Duo’s processor and storage

The Duo 2 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor this time, just like the Z Fold 3. The step up from the last Duo’s Snapdragon 855 chip should help the phone feel more fluid than the original, which felt laggy. The phone runs Android, similar to before, with Microsoft’s own custom apps and some interface touches in the OS that are optimized for these specific displays and the Pen stylus. The storage options range from 128GB to 512GB, and there’s 8GB of RAM on the Duo 2. 

During my brief hands-on with the device, the Surface Duo 2’s performance mostly felt snappy. The software generally kept up with my movements as I switched orientations and shifted between tent mode, the laptop-like position shown below, and one-handed mode. There were a few instances in which there was a slight pause before the software adjusted to the phone’s new position. But we haven’t spent enough time with the Surface Duo 2 to know what the consistent performance is like.

The Surface Duo 2 seems well-positioned as a handheld gaming device, so long as developers continue to optimize their titles for it. One of the first supported games is Gameloft’s Asphalt 9 racing game, which felt fluid and fast on the Surface Duo 2 during my brief time with it. 

You can hold the Surface Duo 2 sideways and dedicate the entire top screen to gameplay, similar to a Nintendo 3DS. The bottom screen becomes a touchscreen controller and displays other useful elements like the game’s map. That certainly seems like a compelling proposition for those who play a lot of mobile games, but it also makes me wonder whether the Surface Duo 2 is still destined to be a niche device. Asphalt 9 is the only native Android game optimized for this experience that Microsoft is talking about today. But more than 50 games on Microsoft’s Xbox GamePass Ultimate streaming service also support similar controls. 

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Microsoft’s new Pen magnetically charges and has vibrating haptics.


Microsoft

Microsoft’s Slim Pen 2 works with the Surface Duo 2

Microsoft’s still-stubby new Slim Pen 2 looks interesting: It has vibrating haptics this time, which promise a more tactile feel when writing, and a “Zero-Force inking” feature that will write without needing to press on the display with the Pen tip. The new Pen charges magnetically with the Duo 2 when it’s in a Duo 2 charge case.

Surface Duo 2 gets triple rear cameras

There’s now an external camera on the Duo 2 — three of them, in fact: a f/1.7 12-megapixel telephoto lens, a f/2.4 12MP wide lens, and a third 16MP ultrawide camera, with optical image stabilization. There’s a night mode, portrait mode, HDR and it can record at 4K up to 60 frames per second plus record slow-mo. It sounds like a complete package, especially considering the last Duo only had one inner camera. The cameras also have a time of flight sensor for helping with focus. 

The camera package sounds extremely promising, especially compared to the previous Duo’s lack of rear cameras. The camera app Microsoft has on the Duo 2 also lets one display work as a viewfinder while the other can show previous photos for comparison: This could be really helpful for trying to make a shot better.

The Surface Duo 2’s screens could also come in handy for those who frequently edit photos on their phones after shooting them. The two screens provide some separation between editing controls and the image itself — again giving you a better view without having to obscure parts of the image with your fingers as you tap.

The Duo 2’s inside camera looks similar to before: It’s 12 megapixels. I’m curious about how well it will handle Zoom calls.

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The dual-screen design is still largely the same, although the displays are slightly bigger.


Microsoft

5G comes to the Surface Duo, finally (and NFC)

5G is now included in the Surface Duo, unlike last year’s LTE-equipped Duo. The phone supports mmWave and Sub-6 frequencies and also has Wi-Fi 6. The lack of 5G on last year’s Duo was one of its key missing features for a supposedly premium work phone. Also, onboard NFC (which was also missing from the original Duo) which should help with tap-to-connect everyday uses.

Will Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 finally feel good to use?

The last Surface Duo didn’t win me over with its software or feel easy to multitask on. I love the idea of what it represents, but will Microsoft have the software better polished and optimized this time around? The hardware seems totally refreshed and very much ready to compete with other premium devices. The next part is nailing the execution of it all and showing us we need a two-screen phone in the first place. 

There’s potential in the Surface Duo 2, especially for gamers, photographers, and those who love to watch video or read on their mobile device. But we’ll have to see if Microsoft can deliver that experience without the compromises of its predecessor.

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