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Surface Duo release date: Preorders for Microsoft’s new foldable phone are live in the US

The Surface Duo will be Microsoft’s first smartphone since 2015 – here’s what you need to know

UPDATE: The Microsoft Surface Duo is available to preorder now in the USA. The dual-screen device will begin shipping on 11 September and will set you back $1,399 (£1,070). As of right now, it’s unclear when the Duo will be launching in the rest of the world, but we will update this page as soon as we learn more.

If you do happen to live stateside, you can preorder the Duo from Microsoft’s own store, or via Best Buy and AT&T.

The original article continues below.

The Surface Duo is Microsoft’s hotly anticipated return to the smartphone arena. It’s a folding device to compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X that Microsoft first unveiled in October 2019, and as far as we know, its release date is looming.

Leaks are picking up momentum, and we’re beginning to piece together a very clear image of this unusual, dual-screen device. Microsoft has already revealed the design of the thing, and given us a brief look at the bespoke Android-based operating system and extraordinary twin displays.

There’s much more to unpack, however, which is why we’re here. Below, you’ll find all the latest rumours and official information on Microsoft’s new foldable, from release date and price info to a detailed look at the internal specifications.

For everything you need to know about the Microsoft Surface Duo, read on.

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Surface Duo: Everything we know so far

Surface Duo release date: When will it launch?

Panos Panay – Microsoft’s chief product officer – stated at the Microsoft October event that the Duo would launch “Holiday 2020.” This meant we had expected to see this new device hit the shops around Christmas this year – but new evidence suggests the Duo could arrive much, much sooner than that.

We’re basing this assertion on a claim made by Zac Bowden at Windows Central, who wrote an article in February claiming that the Surface Duo is “pretty much done” (citing sources familiar with the matter). Microsoft reportedly wanted to have finished work on the Duo software by April, which to all intents and purposes seems to have happened.

We say this because, on 22 July, Droid-Life reported that the Surface Duo had passed through the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). This is a critical step in the production of a smartphone, and usually indicates that a launch is imminent. Windows Central reports that the Duo is in the final stages of production: it’s looking like the foldable phone may well be on shelves by late August/early September 2020.

Surface Duo price: How much will it cost?

This will, no doubt, be a premium product and will therefore incur premium prices. The only real products worth comparing the Duo to are the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which starts at £1,900, and the Huawei Mate X, which costs €2,299 (or £1,970 if it gets a straight currency conversion).

This isn’t a totally fair comparison, however, as the Fold’s unique bending OLED and ludicrous camera layout are no doubt contributing to that extortionate price.

That said, don’t expect the Surface Duo to cost any less than £1,000. That seems to be the starting point for most premium handsets these days, not to mention handsets that fold, meaning they require another level of technology.

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Surface Duo design: What will it look like?

The Duo is composed of two 5.6in screens, held together by a 360-degree hinge. If you count both screens then you’ll have access to 8.3in of display with a thickness of only 4.8mm. This is seriously impressive, considering the iPhone 11 Pro Max comes in at 8.1mm.

We’ve compiled a gallery of images from the horse’s mouth (that is, Microsoft) for you to browse.

You’ll notice that the last image (which is, in fact, two stitched together) has been taken by someone in a real-world environment. They come from the Instagram account of Frank Shaw (head of communications at Microsoft) who hasn’t been shy about sharing sneaky photos of the Duo on social media.

Surface Duo specs: What we know so far

Full specs list

Windows Central has been speaking to an unnamed source at Microsoft, and has constructed a detailed specs list for us to shamelessly copy- I mean, faithfully recreate. It’s remarkable how much we currently know about the Surface Duo, based on this information. Take a look:

Microsoft Surface Duo – specs (rumoured)
Surface Duo
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 855
Display (dual)2 x 5.6in, 1,800 x 1,350 AMOLED
Camera (front/rear)Single 11MP (f/2.0)
Battery3,460mAh (USB-C)

Let’s go through that in more depth.

Processor: We know for certain that the Snapdragon 855 will offer 5G support if connected to the appropriate internal modem. Nothing has been confirmed by Microsoft, of course, but with Apple due to launch its own 5G smartphone next year, we’re banking on a 5G-ready version of the Duo at the very least.

Camera: You’ll notice we’ve only listed a single camera. That’s because the Duo only HAS one camera: due to the fact that the Duo’s display can fold backwards, the selfie camera is also being used as the primary snapper.

Panos Panay actually posted a picture taken with the Duo’s 11MP camera on Instagram recently:

To be completely honest, the camera doesn’t seem to be high on Microsoft’s list of priorities, so we aren’t expecting the Duo to work miracles with that single lens like the Google Pixel series can.

Dual displays: Rather than struggle with the nascent “bendy screen” technology like Samsung, Microsoft has chosen instead to just give the Duo two separate screens, separated by a hinge.

Zac Bowden has posted a few videos of the Surface Duo in action. The footage is apparently of a buggy, unfinished UI build; currently, it’s hard to tell whether this is a leak or a Microsoft-sanctioned post, but that’s not too important.

What’s perhaps most interesting is that the Duo is treating its two displays as individual entities, rather than attempting to stretch apps to fit the combined display area (although I’m sure it can do that too). Obviously there’s the issue of physical grunt – the Duo will require a little extra muscle to multitask fluidly – but for what it’s worth, the so-called dual display device looks very slick indeed.

Ports and peripherals: Judging by the promotional videos, the Surface Duo will have a USB Type-C port for charging and file transfers, and a fingerprint sensor – although no-one quite knows where it will be positioned. CNET reports that the Duo also supports the Surface Pen, which presents another problem for Samsung, whose Galaxy Note series is currently alone in supporting a stylus.

We’ll be updating this page regularly with more Surface Duo information, so check back soon.

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