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Microsoft Surface Duo 3 wishlist: All the features I want to see

Are grand designs possible for Microsoft's foldable phone series?

Published onMarch 19, 2024

Microsoft Surface Duo standing straight up 2
David Imel / Android Authority

Foldable phones were very different in 2021, but even then, the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 stood out in the crowd. It was one of few devices that used two pivoting screens instead of one flexible panel, bucking the now customary trend. Now, three years on, the book-like dual-screen phone is getting a little dated, and it’s high time a sequel landed. Here are all the features and upgrades I hope to see on the Microsoft Surface Duo 3.

Newer flagship processor

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

While the Surface Duo 2 debuted with the Snapdragon 888 — the top chipset then — the company could consider opting for an older SoC as it did on the original model. If Microsoft presented a device with dated hardware at the same price as its contemporaries, especially given the proven devices in the category, I’d have reservations.

Alternatively, I’d happily take a processor that’s a generation or two behind if Microsoft plans to drastically undercut the current competition. There’s a dearth of affordable foldable phones, and Microsoft could be an interesting player in that niche.

A single folding display

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 multitasking
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Surface Duo’s design is unique and abundantly charming, but I have my doubts about its practicality. I find that there’s plenty of space occupied by bezels and hinges that could be committed to display area. Using a traditional single folding inner display would solve this issue. Of course, this solution may increase costs, but it’s a far more workable solution to Microsoft’s current device design. I also understand that this would negate the Surface Duo’s ability to fold back on itself, but this, too, can be solved with an outer display. This would make the Surface Duo 3 a far more practical one-handed smartphone for simple tasks.

Interestingly, a report from Windows Central suggests that Microsoft is working on a true foldable phone. Still, it’s unclear if this device would fall under or completely replace the Duo series. The report has been out for a while, and we haven’t seen much progress on either end.

Competitive pricing

Microsoft Surface Duo using opened and typing
David Imel / Android Authority

Foldable phone pricing has plateaued in recent years. After falling dramatically in the first few generations, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold still demand above the $1,500 mark. This, incidentally, is what Microsoft asked for its Duo 2. I think this is an attractive price point to entice users away from Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and other foldable options. I understand that the other upgrades I demand might not make this possible, but there’s no harm in dreaming.

A clear software roadmap

Microsoft Surface Duo in hand flipped around
David Imel / Android Authority

Like all Android manufacturers, I’d love to see Microsoft outline a clear update trajectory and strategy with the Duo 3. Considering it could be a hefty investment, assurance that updates will land regularly and for an extended period would make it a more sensible purchase that appeals to more than niche buyers. Microsoft did promise three years of updates for both Surface Duo products, but we’d like to see the massive corporation promise a little more.

Lumia and legacy colorways

Nokia X Nokia XL company logo
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

I have a soft spot for Microsoft’s Lumia days, and how better to market the Surface Pro to nostalgic audiences than to bring back those classic candy colorways? Bright yellows, magentas, greens, and orange hues would set the Surface Duo series apart from other drab foldable colorways available on the market.

While many believe that smartphone colors are not a feature, I certainly think that legacy colorways would be a wonderful way for Microsoft to pay homage to its original fans and entice new followers.

What would you like to see most on the Microsoft Surface Duo 3?

388 votes

Will there be a Microsoft Surface Duo 3?

Microsoft Surface Duo general UI 1
David Imel / Android Authority

The answer to this is a lot more complicated than you’d expect. While the Surface Duo series has a niche fanbase, it has yet to succeed commercially. In January 2023, the report mentioned above by Windows Central claimed that it may have gotten the axe. Well, sort of. The report suggests that the Duo 3 was finalized and ready for production, but Microsoft is scrapping it altogether. Reportedly, Microsoft isn’t ready to ditch Android phones altogether; it is just regrouping and trying a different approach.

You might not want to bet any money on a Surface Duo 3 launching in the next year or so.

It’s worth noting that Panos Panay, who was a long-standing Windows and Surface hardware lead at Microsoft, left the company in September 2023. That doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for the company’s Surface Duo plans, but a dramatic strategy shift can sometimes accompany a huge departure like this.

We haven’t heard more about the Duo 3 so far in 2024. So we wouldn’t hold our breath on a device arriving anytime soon.

Should you wait for the Microsoft Surface Duo 3?

Microsoft Surface Duo standing straight up 3
David Imel / Android Authority

In short, no. Microsoft hasn’t officially confirmed the device’s existence, let alone a launch date. Couple this with the lack of information about the product, and you could be waiting a long time for a device that might not debut.

If you were considering the next Surface Duo, the best alternative would be to buy the Surface Duo 2. You can try your luck and find it used at places like Swappa. It’s much harder to find a new one in stock, however.

There are more than enough traditional foldable phones to choose from, especially if you want a more refined Surface Duo-like experience right now. I’d highly recommend either picking up the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 ($1799.99 at Samsung), Fold 3 ($999.99 at Best Buy) if you want to save some cash, the OnePlus Open ($1699.99 at Amazon) or even the Google Pixel Fold ($1799 at Amazon) if you want a pure Android alternative. There are even more recommendations in our guide to the best foldable phones, but remember, many of these aren’t available stateside.

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