Hardware issues aren't out of the question, but the Surface Duo's design makes me feel more confident that it won't run into silly display issues.

microsoft surface duo 5

Opinion post by
Jimmy Westenberg

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has been on everyone’s minds lately. It’s the biggest foldable phone to launch thus far, and you can actually buy it right now at a staggering $1,980. But for that price tag, you’re taking a gamble. Not only did the company send out flawed review units leading to a months-long delay, one of the “updated” review units has already failed. Not many people would feel comfortable spending that amount of money on a device that has a shoddy track record, no matter how “fixed” the company says it is.

Don’t get me wrong — I love the idea of the Galaxy Fold. Flexible displays are a futuristic step into the next era of smartphones. But I get the sense that Microsoft’s new Surface Duo phone will be the safer bet for most people, at least design-wise.

The Surface Duo has more in common with the ZTE Axon M than it does the Galaxy Fold, in that it doesn’t actually have a flexible display. The phone features two displays with a hinge joining them, allowing it to open like a book. Sure, you have that unsightly hinge in the middle of your device, but there’s probably a lesser chance that something will go wrong on the production side. A dual-screened smartphone is a more proven form factor than the single flexible panel like on the Galaxy Fold.

It's all because of the hinge.

I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Microsoft could absolutely run into production issues with the Surface Duo. Microsoft has never made a dual-screened smartphone before, and that hinge mechanism could come with durability caveats. But there’s a reason not many flexible, foldable phones are on the market yet: flexible displays are hard to develop. It takes a lot of engineering to get them right, as we’re seeing in Samsung’s case.

The Surface Duo isn’t as futuristic as the Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X, or hell, even the Royole Flexpai. To me, though, I’d be more willing to trust a foldable phone that’s a bit less futuristic if it means it’ll have a less fragile design.

A lot can change between now and the 2020 holiday season when the Microsoft Surface Duo is slated to go on sale. The video attached above still makes the Duo look more like a prototype device, so who knows what the final product will actually look like.

I want to know your thoughts. Pricing aside, which form factor would you be more willing to spend your money on?

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