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Microsoft Surface Duo unboxing: What do you get for $1,400?

The Microsoft Surface Duo is finally in our hands. What do you get for $1,400? Let's take a look.

Published onAugust 26, 2020

Microsoft’s Surface Duo phone-tablet thingy just showed up on our doorstep. We’re pretty stoked to see the company’s new vision for a phone, years after it abandoned its own hardware and operating system. But almost equally interesting to Microsoft’s take on Android is the hardware, sporting two independent displays versus the bendable single-screened foldable devices we’ve become accustomed to seeing.

We’re not able to show you the software experience just yet, and therefor, you should probably wait for our full review before making purchasing decisions. But you’re probably wondering, what exactly do you get inside that $1,400 box? Take a look in our Microsoft Surface Duo unboxing.

Unique hardware

Microsoft Surface Duo holding book mode in hand
David Imel / Android Authority

As mentioned above, the Microsoft Surface Duo has some of the most unique hardware we’ve seen in a while. This phone is wicked thin, coming in at just 4.8mm when unfolded, or about 9.6mm when folded up. Compare that with any other phone, especially a foldable phone like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, and it’s clear Microsoft put a lot of work into making this thing as streamlined as possible.

Equally jarring is how wide this phone is. Even when put into a single-screen orientation, it’s about a third wider than most phones you’re probably used to. You’ll have to have your hands spread pretty wide to hold it, but it’s clear that Microsoft wants you to use this phone with two hands, like a book. I can see why the company is hesitant to call it a phone since it feels more like a tablet. At the end of the day, it still does most of the things a standard Android phone would do.

You’ve got a single USB-C port on the bottom, a side-mounted fingerprint reader, a power button, and volume rockers on the right. The top is devoid of any buttons or ports. The hinge sits on the left. Microsoft spent a lot of time designing this hinge, and its one of the smoothest hinges I’ve used. There’s just enough force required to swing it around, and it can rotate a full 360 degrees, stopping anywhere in between. This means you can use it in a variety of orientations, like a laptop or a tent.

The Surface Duo’s screens are 5.6-inch AMOLED panels, with hefty bezels on the top and bottom. There’s also a single 11MP camera with a flash on the right display. Microsoft said the camera wasn’t a priority for this device, but we’ll have to see how it fares for daily use.

The phone is made almost completely out of glass and metal, which makes it feel super premium. I really like this, but it does make me worry that it would shatter pretty easily if dropped. That’s probably why Microsoft included a silicon bumper in the box.

Microsoft Surface Duo accessories

Microsoft Surface Duo charger and cable
David Imel / Android Authority

Inside the box, there’s an 18W fast charger with a USB-C to USB-C cable and a silicone bumper case. The bumper case uses adhesive, which is a bummer considering the device looks much nicer without it. You’ll ruin it if you want to take it off. I would love to see a leather case made for this thing, specifically because it looks like a book.

Besides that, there’s not a lot going on here. This is obviously an extremely unique device, but my real interest comes in the software. We’re not allowed to discuss that just yet, but I’m curious to see how Microsoft handles Android across two displays.

Microsoft Surface Duo
Single: 5.6-inch AMOLED
1,800 x 1,350 (4:3 aspect ratio)

Dual: 8.1-inch AMOLED
2,700 x 1,800 (3:2 aspect ratio)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
128GB or 256GB
UFS 3.0
No microSD card slot
3,577mAh dual battery
18W wired charging
No wireless charging
11MP sensor on interior (ƒ/2.0, 1.0μm)
84-degree FOV
HDR support
4K and 1080p video (30fps or 60fps)
HEVC and H.264 support
Single speaker
Dual-mic with noise suppression

Supports aptX Adaptive codec
Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac (2.4/5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
LTE: 4x4 MIMO, Cat.18 DL / Cat 5 UL, 5CA, LAA

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
Physical Nano-Sim
Support for additional eSIM
(AT&T model only has Nano-SIM)
Physical side-mounted fingerprint sensor
No face unlock support
Open: 145.2 x 186.9 x 4.8mm
Closed: 145.2 x 93.3 x 9.9mm

There’s more to come after this quick Microsoft Surface Duo unboxing! Have any questions about the Surface Duo? Let us know in the comments down below and we’ll be sure to answer them in our full review coming soon.

Next: Microsoft Surface Duo: Who is it actually for?

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