I don’t like Microsoft’s Surface Duo as a phone, but would love it as a tablet


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

For approximately a month, I have been applying the Microsoft Surface Duo, the company’s initial Android-driven phone. We’ve by now protected the Duo in wonderful element, including a non-reviewers assessment, from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley and another review from ZDNet’s Matthew Miller. 

I have experimented with, quite a few instances, now to operate the Duo into my everyday workflow. I have employed it as my most important phone for a several days, I have employed it as a secondary machine for jotting notes with a Slender Surface Pen, and eventually, I have employed it to observe Twitter or my inbox whilst viewing Twitch or YouTube video clips. 

With the Duo, Microsoft took a novel technique to reimagine the smartphone. In its place of a black rectangular machine, like approximately each phone unveiled in the final five several years, Microsoft took two shows, place a hinge involving them, and protected the outdoors in glass. The Duo opens like a guide, without having an external screen to let you know if you have waiting messages, notify you when you’re finding a connect with or even offer a glanceable clock to examine the time. 

You either open up the Duo and join to the digital environment, or you’re completely cut off from the seemingly regular stream of information that pings typical telephones in the course of the day. 

I understood almost right away the Duo will not seriously operate as a phone in the regular feeling. There are just as well quite a few concessions — no entrance screen, the digital camera is mediocre at most effective, and the in general type factor just feels awkward when applying it as a solitary screen machine. 

But soon after a few of months, I came to the realization that a greater model of the Duo would make for a excellent tablet. 

I know, I know.
Microsoft by now declared the Neo

, a machine that appears almost accurately like the Duo, only greater, and it operates Home windows 10X. But final week, Microsoft removed the Neo’s products webpage from its site altogether. We by now knew it was delayed, and that Microsoft was likely to target its Home windows 10X initiatives on solitary screen units ahead of shifting on to the Neo, but eliminating the listing altogether will not bode well for an eventual release. 

But again to the Duo. 


Where the Duo displays the most likely is with multitasking and applying far more than a person application at a time. The reality that there is a physical divide involving the two screens, as opposed to a foldable screen like the Galaxy Z Fold two, forces you to be deliberate with what application or applications you have open up, and on which screen, but the final decision earning stops there. 

For instance, on the iPad, it normally feels like an either-or machine. Both you’re applying a person application at a time, in the default total-screen environment, or you use a shrunk-down model of the application in slide more than, or you can use a break up-screen view, which can then by itself be altered to several dimensions. In convert, you’re pressured to make a large amount of aware choices about which application goes in which, and how substantially screen genuine estate does it warrant, or is it greater if this application is employed in slide more than? Never get me incorrect, I like functioning on the iPad, but its present-day multitasking setup requirements to be refined. 

The Duo removes some of those people choices and leaves you with a far more normal feeling of applying far more than a person application a time, with the flexibility of folding the second screen again and applying a solitary application in a far more compact setup. 

I was disappointed with the Surface Pen expertise on the Duo, however. I seriously needed to use it to get notes throughout meetings, but found myself having difficulties with errant scribbles thanks to palm rejection difficulties. 


The software package, as a whole, is in will need of a number of improvements. Even however the Duo displays the likely for dual-screen units and multitasking, it’s total of bugs and usability difficulties. Dragging applications from a person screen to the other, or hoping to extend it to get more than equally screens isn’t normally a clean process. And Android’s gestures contend with Microsoft’s multitasking gestures at instances, which means you really don’t seriously know if you’re likely to go again a screen or open up the application switcher view. 

As I box up the Duo and wait around to get my $one,five hundred again, I am left feeling hopeful about the second or 3rd era Duo. Microsoft has found a way to convey the relieve of pairing units like a Surface Pen, and a seamless audio expertise with the Surface Earbuds to a non-Home windows machine, and it’s undertaking so with a completely novel style and design. 

Hopefully, we see a Duo+ in the in close proximity to potential. Or, you know, that Neo machine we as soon as heard about.