Surface Duo FAQ: All the details you need to know

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Surface Duo Press PeekSource: Microsoft

Microsoft’s Surface Duo has been officially announced for preorders. While we know a lot about Microsoft’s dual-screen Android device, there are also many questions.

Here is our compiled list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Surface Duo, including all we know (so far).

Preorders today!

Microsoft Surface Duo

Two screens are better than one.

Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.

When do Surface Duo preorders begin?

Pre-orders begin August 12th, 2020, in the US.

What is Surface Duo release date?

Shipping is expected for September 10th, 2020.

What is the Surface Duo price?

The price for Surface Duo is $1,399 for the 128GB model.

The 256GB edition costs $1,499.

Where can you buy Surface Duo?

Surface Duo will be available both online and physical stores (where applicable) from:

  • Microsoft Store
  • Best Buy
  • AT&T

What countries is Surface Duo available in?

United States only (for now).

In a statement to Windows Central, Microsoft said, “Initially, Surface Duo will be available in the US. We’ll share more information about market expansion at a later date.” That sounds like Microsoft is testing the market with the US first, and may expand later if Surface Duo is well received, and sales meet expectations.

Is Surface Duo a phone?

Yes and no.

Yes, Surface Duo can make phone calls just like a regular smartphone. Users rotate the 360-degree hinge back on itself and operate Surface Duo like any single-screen device. It uses the default Google phone app and supports global LTE for voice and data.

It can also send and receive SMS text messages.

However, Microsoft refers to Surface Duo as a “new dual-screen device, purpose-built for mobile productivity.” According to press materials, “Microsoft saw an opportunity to create something new with Surface Duo – not to reinvent the phone, but to inspire people to rethink how they want to use the device in their pocket.”

In that sense, Surface Duo is more than a phone, as it is a new form of productivity. But, pragmatically speaking, it is still technically a phone.

What version of Android does Surface Duo run?

Android 10.

Surface Duo is expected to get Android 11 later on after validation.

Will Surface Duo get regular Android OS updates?

Yes.

Microsoft is committed to updating Surface Duo with regular Android and security updates. Microsoft has not declared what the update cadence will be for Surface Duo.

List of Microsoft Surface Duo specs

Category Surface Duo
Operating System Android 10
Display Single: 5.6 inch (1800×1350), 401 ppi, 4:3 aspect ratio
Opened: 8.1 inch (2700×1800), 401 ppi, 3:2 aspect ratio
Type: AMOLED
Wide color gamut: 100% SRGB and 100% DCI-P3
Corning Gorilla Glass
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Network WiFi-5 802.11ac (2.4/5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
LTE: 4×4 MIMO, Cat.18 DL / Cat 5 UL
SIM Nano SIM + eSIM (no eSIM on AT&T model)
Network Bands FDD-LTE: 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,12,13,14,19 20,25,26,28,29,30,66
TD-LTE: 38,39,40,41,46
WCDMA: 1,2,5,8
GSM/GPRS: GSM-850, E-GSM-900, DCS-1800, PCS-1900
Memory 6GB RAM
Storage 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.0
Expandable Storage None
Camera 11MP, ƒ/2.0 1.0um, PDAF, 84.0° diagonal FOV
Optimized with AI for front and rear
Audio Mono speaker
Dual mic with noise suppression and echo cancellation
Qualcomm aptX Adaptive
Security Fingerprint
Ports 1x USB-C 3.1
Battery 3,577mAh
Up to 15.5 hours of Local Video Playback
Up to 10 days of Standby Time
Up to 27 hours of Talk Time
Fast Charging using 18W in-box power supply
Pen Surface Pen (not included)
Dimensions Open: 145.2mm (H) x 186.9mm (W) x 4.8mm (T)
Closed: 145.2mm (H) x 93.3mm (W) x 9.9mm (T at hinge)
Weight 250 grams

Surface Duo Unboxing

Source: Microsoft

What is included with Surface Duo?

Surface Duo ships with the following in the box:

  • Surface Duo
  • Surface Duo Bumper (Color: Glacier)
  • Surface Duo USB-C Power Supply (18w)
  • Quick Start Guide Warranty and Compliance Guide
  • SIM Ejector tool

Does Surface Duo have an AMOLED display?

Yes.

Surface Duo has two AMOLED 5.6 inch (1800×1350) displays with 441 pixel-per-inch (ppi) and Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. Each display has a 4:3 aspect, but when the two screens are combined, it results in an 8.1 inch (2700×1800) screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 441ppi.

The displays support wide color gamut and are calibrated for 100 percent sRGB and 100 percent DCI-P3. The 360-degree hinge lets the displays fold back on each other, allowing users to make phone calls or use the Surface Duo like a traditional smartphone.

Surface Duo inside

Source: Microsoft

The tech behind the screens is proprietary and unique to Surface Duo. Microsoft goes into some detail about what makes the Duo’s screen special:

“Duo uses a custom pixel stack and each set of panels undergo extensive color and luminance calibration. We developed a new manufacturing processes to actively align pixels across screens. The proprietary digitizer algorithms even consider when you are crossing the seam with your finger, making it feel like it’s one fluid screen. Within the Dynamic 360-degree hinge, custom designed cables connect the displays to work together, across a variety of postures. We designed a completely new dual system architecture to deliver optimal performance and battery within the thinnest, lightest design possible. Every detail from the layout of the motherboard and multi-cell battery to the placement of inertial sensors, mics, and antennas was purposefully designed to unlock an entirely new interaction model across two screens.”

What LTE bands does Surface Duo support?

The Surface Duo supports the following global bands:

  • FDD-LTE: 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,12,13,14,19, 20,25,26,28, 29,30,66
  • TD-LTE: 38,39,40,41,46
  • WCDMA: 1,2,5,8
  • GSM/GPRS: GSM-850, E-GSM-900, DCS-1800, PCS-1900

Does Surface Duo support GPS?

Yes.

Surface Duo supports the following GPS modes:

  • GPS
  • Galileo
  • GLONASS
  • BeiDou
  • QZSS

Is Surface Duo carrier and SIM unlocked?

Yes.

The version sold directly by Microsoft, and Best Buy is carrier and SIM unlocked. That version supports a Nano-SIM and eSIM.

The AT&T model, however, is carrier locked and lacks eSIM.

Which U.S. carriers does Duo work on?

The Surface Duo is confirmed to work on all major carriers, including:

  • AT&T (unlocked, or AT&T-locked model)
  • Verizon
  • T-Mobile/Sprint

If customers buy the unlocked model, it should also work on any mobile virtual network operator (MVNO)mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) e.g., Mint Mobile, Boost Mobile, etc.

Can Sprint customers use Surface Duo?

Yes.

However, since the companies have merged, customers will need to acquire a T-Mobile SIM to function.

Does Surface Duo support Microsoft Your Phone?

Yes.

Surface Duo can connect wirelessly to any Windows 10 PC for phone calls, messages, notifications, and streaming of apps like Samsung phones and “Link to Windows.”

Surface Duo Press Pen Horizontal

Source: Microsoft

Which Surface Pen works with Surface Duo?

Surface Duo supports all in market generations of Surface Slim Pen, Surface Pen and Surface Hub 2 Pen.

Simultaneous Pen and touch are supported

The pen is not included with purchase.

How many cameras does Surface Duo have?

There is just one camera above the right display. It’s 11MP with an ƒ/2.0 aperture and a 1.0um sensor.

Its autofocus system uses the well-received and standard Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) tech, which is useful in brighter environments but is not as good as Laser Auto Focus for low-light situations.

The camera can be used for conference calls (Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Duo, etc.), or users can flip the display around and use it has a regular camera. Since one camera is being used for selfies and regular photos. Microsoft is including some artificial intelligence (AI) to assist with scene detection and optimization.

Which Microsoft apps are included with Surface Duo?

The following apps from Microsoft are preinstalled with Surface Duo:

  • Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Office Lens, PDF reader, and More
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Microsoft To Do
  • Microsoft News
  • Microsoft Authenticator
  • Microsoft Bing Search
  • Intune Company Portal
  • LinkedIn
  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection
  • Surface Audio
  • Microsoft SwiftKey

Which Google apps are preinstalled on Surface Duo?

To comply with Google’s policies, Microsoft has preloaded the following Google apps on Surface Duo:

  • Google Search
  • Google Assistant
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Drive
  • Google Duo
  • Google Photos
  • Google Play Movies & TV
  • Google Play Store
  • Google Maps
  • Chrome
  • Gmail
  • YouTube
  • YouTube Music
  • Contacts
  • Messages
  • Phone
  • Files
  • Clock
  • Calculator
  • Sound recorder

What Android launcher does Surface Duo use?

The Surface Duo ships with a version of Microsoft Launcher optimized for dual screens.

Customers should be able to switch to any other Android launcher freely, however, they likely will not be as optimized for dual screens as Microsoft Launcher.

What unique features can Surface Duo do?

Microsoft and Google have optimized surface Duo and the Android OS for dual screens. The result is the following unique functions to Surface Duo:

  • Dual screen windowing
  • Adaptive modes
  • App Groups
  • Microsoft 365 Feed
  • Dynamic dock
  • Universal Search
  • Adaptive Camera
  • Microsoft SwiftKey Adaptive Keyboard
  • Your Phone Companion – Link to Windows

Do all Android apps work with Surface Duo?

Yes.

Any app on Android and the Google Play store will just work on Surface Duo. Opening links in one app will open the app on the other display, so long as there is nothing already present.

There is no app incompatibility, and there are no limitations on what can be installed to Surface Duo.

Developers optionally can optimize apps for Surface Duo to take advantage of the dual-screen functionality by utilizing the official Microsoft Surface Duo SDK. Examples of optimized apps (so far) include Spotify, Amazon Kindle, and Mylio (photo editor).

Is Amazon Kindle optimized for Surface Duo?

Yes.

Amazon has an updated version of its Kindle app for Android, whereby the app can “span” to both display and function just like a book. Each screen will feature a page, and users can simply swipe to turn the page.

Because Surface Duo has dual 4:3 displays and can pivot just like a book, the reading experience on Surface Duo should be exceptionally good.

What colors does Surface Duo come in?

Just one color so far: glacier (white).

Surface Duo Press

Source: Microsoft

Does Surface Duo support NFC and contactless payments?

No.

Surface Duo does not have NFC. Therefore it lacks the ability for contactless payments. Microsoft has commented about the lack of NFC on Surface Duo:

“Surface Duo does not currently offer NFC. The role of any first-generation design is to focus on fundamental scenarios that solve customer challenges. Surface Duo is purpose-built for mobile productivity and giving people new ways to complete complex tasks while away from their computer. With this core priority complete, we will listen to customer feedback and apply that lens to future iterations of the product.”

Can Surface Duo charge wirelessly via Qi?

No.

Surface Duo does not have Qi wireless charging. It does support 18-watt Fast Charging through its Type-C 3.1 port with included charger.

Does Surface Duo have a 3.5mm headphone jack?

No.

Surface Duo handles audio through the USB Type-C 3.1 port on the bottom (wired) or via Bluetooth 5.0 headphones like Surface Headphones, Surface Earbuds, or any other Bluetooth headset.

Is there expandable storage on Surface Duo or microSD card?

No.

There is no microSD card slot or expandable storage on Surface Duo.

Where is your review of Surface Duo?

Our review of Surface Duo will be published in the following weeks. Stay tuned!

Preorders today!

Microsoft Surface Duo

Two screens are better than one.

Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.

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