Microsoft Surface duo evaluation: shape first, product second

Microsoft’s new “foldable” phone, the surface duo, is clearly different. While most of the folding market is defined by small to large or large to small folding devices, Microsoft believes it can split the focus into two different windows. The surface Duo is not so much a foldable device as a dual screen mobile phone. However, it can be folded perfectly when it is closed. You can imagine its technological level. < / P > < p > but what is the use of a dual screen device? Are two independent monitors as useful as a scalable display? What’s more, after nearly four years of Windows Phone’s demise, can Microsoft return to the smartphone market with its surface Duo? Let’s take a look at the performance of the surface duo. < / P > < p > the design of the Microsoft Surface duo can be compared to a passport like pamphlet. After closing, it is only slightly thicker than the Samsung Galaxy note 20 ultra (9.9mm), while the note 20 ultra is 8.1mm thick. After opening, the thickness of the device is about half of that after closing, only 4.8mm, which is only a little thicker than the usb-c interface. This really reflects the technological design and manufacturing level of Microsoft. One drawback of foldable phones is that they are usually as thick as two phones when they are closed, and the surface duo effectively improves this situation. < / P > < p > there is no extra screen on the outside of the surface duo, only a white gorilla glass shell with Microsoft logo on the front. The frame of the equipment is made of ceramic material with a soft rubber coating on it. In use, it is easy to stain fingerprints. There is a usb-c interface at the bottom of the right screen. The fingerprint reader is located in the right border, and the power and volume buttons are above it. < / P > < p > turn on sureforce duo to get two 5.6-inch AMOLED screens with wider borders around them. The receiver, camera, flash and ambient light sensor are placed in the border above the right screen. There is another ambient light sensor in the border of the left screen. The most interesting part of the surface Duo is probably the hinge. Microsoft has designed it to allow both screens to rotate 360 degrees, which means the device can exist in a variety of forms, such as laptop mode, tent mode or single screen mode. The hinge turns smoothly and effortlessly. To achieve this, Microsoft said it had to make the wires connecting the two monitors thinner than a human hair. < / P > < p > in general, the design of the surface duo feels elegant, but it still looks like a first generation product. The thickness of the hinge and fuselage of the device is naturally to be expected, but more cameras and narrower frames are expected in subsequent products. < / P > < p > the Microsoft Surface Duo is equipped with the Qualcomm snapdragon 855 processor, which was the flagship chip of Qualcomm last year. It makes the surface duo look a little backward in configuration. However, even so, the snapdragon 855 processor can still meet the needs of mobile phones. < / P > < p > unfortunately, Microsoft suface duo runs slowly in most cases. Although it can sometimes maintain a smooth level of performance, the actual experience of the stuck situation is frustrating. Animation often pauses or takes a few seconds to transition, the main reason should be software optimization, not hardware, although it is only equipped with 6GB of memory. < / P > < p > when benchmarking the surface duo, it did quite well for a snapdragon 855. In the Angora rabbit, it scored 412006, compared with 361038 for the one plus 7pro of similar specifications. In 3dmark, its scores are 5517 and 5032 respectively, while the scores of one plus seven Pro are 5412 and 4814. In geekbench, its single core and multi core scores are 3491 and 10393, respectively, while those of one plus seven Pro are 3411 and 10628. < / P > < p > even if the benchmark results are fairly good, Microsoft still needs to work hard on the surface duo to give full play to its performance. It is worth mentioning that Microsoft initially scheduled the surface duo to be released by the end of 2020, but it was finally advanced to September 10. The former gives Microsoft more time to optimize its software, so it’s hard to understand why Microsoft is rushing to release software when the software is not perfect. < / P > < p > Microsoft has always been a leader in the aspect of unique display aspect ratio, and surface Duo is no exception. In single screen mode, the aspect ratio is 4:3, which is different from most smartphones. When it’s fully deployed, its aspect ratio becomes 3:2, which is the same as many of the company’s laptops, such as the surface book series, which is ideal for handling multiple tasks. This may also be an important reason for Microsoft to choose this aspect ratio, which they hope users will use duo as a multi tasking productivity device. < / P > < p > both displays use AMOLED panels, and they look good without major color problems. But its refresh rate is only 60Hz. When most mobile phones reach 90hz or 120Hz, it seems a little “sluggish”. < / P > < p > in addition, the surface duo display also supports pen input, which can be used with all surface pens at present, and the surface pen can be attached to the device by magnetic force, but this is not for design reasons, but because of the magnet inside the surface duo. Unfortunately, Microsoft didn’t provide a stylus for the surface duo in the box. < / P > < p > surface duo runs Microsoft desktop on the basis of Android 10. Different from Android desktop of most OEM manufacturers, Microsoft desktop can be downloaded from the app store, so we can also download it to our mobile phone to experience the single screen version of Microsoft desktop. < / P > < p > however, unlike single screen devices, the Microsoft desktop on the surface Duo is designed to accommodate dual screen display, which also means that the surface duo can only use the Microsoft desktop. When you download a third-party desktop, such as nova, there will be incompatibility. < / P > < p > by default, opening the application drawer on one monitor will switch the application in the dock bar of another monitor to the dock bar of another monitor, and when you open the application, it will only run on the current display. Of course, you can also slide the app up to another screen. < / P > < p > surface duo also allows applications to display across two screens. For example, Microsoft Outlook can display your in box on one monitor and open an email preview window on the other. Interestingly, the Kindle app displays one page of a book on one screen and the next on another, making it feel like a real book. < / P > < p > unfortunately, there are very few applications for surface duo. Of the 15 applications optimized for surface duo, 10 were optimized by Microsoft itself, and developers don’t seem interested in building compatibility specifically for this niche device. Microsoft said it worked closely with Google when developing duo, but in fact no Google App was optimized to display properly on both screens. For example, Gmail recognizes the device as a tablet, but doesn’t recognize the gap in the middle hinge, so about 10% of the application content is cut off in the middle. Microsoft has also added a feature called “app pairs” to the surface duo, which allows you to start two apps at the same time, one on each monitor. For example, you can open a recipe app on one screen and display a grocery list on another. < / P > < p > Microsoft desktop is quite simple, it does not provide too many functions on other Android devices, such as screen recording, and the selection of multitasking applications is not efficient. Sliding the notification bar down doesn’t fill up the entire screen, giving the impression that the desktop is not finished yet. < / P > < p > worse than the above problem is the number of running errors encountered by the surface duo. During the use process, new bugs are found on this device almost every day. Although Microsoft pushed the upgrade patch to solve some problems, it found new bugs after the update. < / P > < p > although surface duo’s bugs are common, many of them may come from the fact that surface duo thinks it is caused by tablet computers. We can prove this by taking a screen shot of the phone folded into single screen mode, and when you take a screen shot, you can still see another screen, even if it is turned off. < / P > < p > it’s difficult to be compatible with previous software after creating a new appearance, but the surface duo has a lot of errors in its current state, and consumers who spend a lot of money will naturally be dissatisfied with it. I hope Microsoft can improve the compatibility of software as soon as possible, so as to make the whole experience more stable. The battery capacity of the surface Duo is only 3577mah, which is too conservative compared with the 4500mAh battery of Samsung Galaxy Z fold 2. However, the endurance of the surface Duo is not excellent, but it is not too bad. In dual screen mode, it lasts about five and a half hours. In normal use, the charger is pulled out at 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Of course, Microsoft’s adoption of such a conservative battery capacity strategy is also for the sake of device thinness. < / P > < p > the surface Duo is equipped with an 18W charger that can quickly charge the device to 99% in 90 minutes. Strangely enough, however, it takes a long time for the surface duo to go from 99% to 100%, which is 127 minutes. < / P > < p > it seems a pity that Microsoft has not added wireless charging function to the surface duo. But Microsoft also said that wireless charging needs to add coils inside the device, which will make the device much thicker. < / P > < p > the Microsoft Surface duo has only one 11 megapixel camera, located above the right display. Microsoft has made it clear that it doesn’t set the camera as a priority, which means it doesn’t have much video functionality and doesn’t do much digital processing of photos. The most obvious thing is that it doesn’t provide a nighttime mode, so there is a lot of noise when shooting anything in low light. However, when the light is good, the surface duo can take some solid photos without over saturation or sharpening. Moreover, the surface duo keeps the details well while maintaining the proper contrast, which makes the image feel real. < / P > < p > the surface duo can also record 4K 60fps video. The recorded video looks good, the dynamic range is good, but the white balance changes a little too often. In addition, 4K 60fps video is not played smoothly on the surface duo. Perhaps the most disappointing part of the surface duo’s camera is its inconsistency when it switches to the correct screen as a viewfinder. Because the surface duo has only one camera, it needs to predict whether you want to take a picture of yourself or something else. More often than not, the device thinks you want to shoot yourself, and there is no manual way to force the viewfinder to another display. < / P > < p > generally speaking, from a hardware point of view, the camera performance of the surface Duo is regular, but Microsoft had better pay attention to the camera configuration in the next generation of products to make it look more powerful as a whole. < / P > < p > start of surface Duo