Microsoft Surface Duo 2 vs Surface Duo: Which one should you buy?

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 vs Surface Duo: Which one should you buy?

Just over a year after releasing the original Surface Duo, Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Duo 2. The new dual-screen smartphone improves on many aspects of its predecessor. Most importantly, it doesn’t look dated, at least specs-wise, as the original Surface Duo looked when it finally made it to market last year. The chip powering the original Duo clearly indicated it was one year late to the party.

But what exactly is different between the two Surface Duo models, and how does the newer phone stack up against the older one?

Navigate this guide:

Surface Duo 2 vs Surface Duo: Specifications

SpecificationSurface Duo 2Surface Duo
Dimensions
  • Open: 145.2 mm (H) x 184.5 mm (W) x 5.50mm (T)
  • Closed : 145.2 mm (H) x 92.1 mm (W) x 11.0 mm (T at hinge)
  • Open: 145.2 mm (H) x 186.9 mm (W) x 4.8 mm (T)
  • Closed: 145.2 mm (H) x 93.3 mm (W) x 9.9 mm (T at hinge)
Display
  • Two 5.8-inch AMOLED displays
    • 1344 x 1892 pixels
    • 13:9 aspect ratio
    • 401PPI
    • HDR, 100% sRGB and DCI-P3
    • 90Hz refresh rate
    • 800 nits peak brightness
  • Combined 8.3-inch, 2688 x 1892 pixels
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Two 5.6-inch AMOLED displays
    • 1350 x 1800 pixels
    • 4:3 aspect ratio
    • 401PPI
    • 60Hz refresh rate
  • Combined 8.1-inch, 2700 x 1800 pixels
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 888Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM8GB6GB
Storage
  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 128GB
  • 256GB
Battery and charging
  • 4,449mAh dual battery
  • 23W fast charging
  • 3,557mAh dual battery
  • 18W fast charging
Cameras
  • 12MP primary, wide-angle, f/1.7 aperture, 27 mm, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF and OIS
  • 12MP telephoto, f/2.4 aperture, 51 mm, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS and 2X optical zoom
  • 16MP ultra-wide-angle, f/2.2 aperture, 13 mm, 1.0µm, 110o diagonal field of view
  • 12MP selfie, f/2.0, 24 mm,1.0µm
11MP, f/2.0, 1.0 µm, PDAF and 84.0° diagonal FOV
Network and connectivity
  • 5G-NR NSA (mmWave) Bands: n257, n260, n261
  • 5G-NR NSA (Sub-6) Bands: n1, n2, n3, n5, n7, n20, n25, n28, n38, n41, n66, n71, n77, n78, n79
  • LTE Bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 66, 71
  • WCDMA: 1,2,5,8
  • GSM/GPRS: GSM-850, E-GSM-900, DCS-1800, PCS-1900
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • NFC
  • GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou, QZSS

 

  • LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66
  • WCDMA: 1,2,5,8
  • GSM/GPRS: GSM-850, E-GSM-900, DCS-1800, PCS-1900
  • Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou, QZSS
OSAndroid 11Android 10 (Android 11 update incoming)
Biometric authenticationSide-mounted fingerprint sensorSide-mounted fingerprint sensor
SensorsDual Accelerometer, Dual Gyroscope, Dual Magnetometer, Dual Ambient Light Sensor, Dual Proximity Sensor, Hall SensorDual Accelerometer, Dual Gyroscope, Dual Magnetometer, Dual Ambient Light Sensor, Dual Proximity Sensor, Hall Sensor
PortsUSB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2USB Type-C 3.1

Design and Display

Surface Duo 2 with camera open

Surface Duo 2

While the form factor and broader design of the Surface Duo 2 are very similar to the original, several smaller upgrades enhance the new phone’s overall experience. The Duo 2’s outer glass curves into the edges more, making it pleasing to hold. In addition, the inside edges of the two screens are curved. So when the phone is folded, it gives you a little peek at some of the display. Microsoft is using this barely-there screen real estate to show notifications.

The company has also increased the screen size. The two displays are 5.8 inches each, compared to 5.6 inches on the Surface Duo. This takes the total diagonal size of the screen in the unfolded state to 8.3 inches on the Surface Duo 2. In comparison, the original only had 8.1 inches of total screen size.

Microsoft Surface Duo

Original Surface Duo

The display panels are still AMOLED, but Microsoft has upped the refresh rate from 60Hz to 90Hz. In addition, the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 present on the Surface Duo has also been replaced with the newer Gorilla Glass Victus.

Processor, RAM, Storage, and OS

Outlook open on dual-screen phone

One of the biggest upgrades in the Surface Duo 2 is its processor. Microsoft is using the Snapdragon 888 SoC that’s present in all Android flagships this year. The original had Snapdragon 855. In addition, the amount of RAM has been increased to 8GB from 6GB in the Surface Duo. Apart from 128GB and 256GB storage options that are also available for the Surface Duo, the Duo 2 gets a third 512GB storage variant.

The faster processor and more RAM would certainly help the Surface Duo 2 offer a snappier and more responsive experience.

In terms of the software, Microsoft is using Android 11 in the new model. The original was launched with Android 10, but it’s supposed to get Android 11 by the end of 2021.

Surface Duo 2 vs Surface Duo: Cameras

Surface Duo 2 front and back in black

Surface Duo 2

The cameras are another area where the Surface Duo 2 has received a massive upgrade. While the original had a single camera on the inside that acted as both a primary and selfie shooter, the Duo 2 has a triple camera setup for regular photos and a selfie camera. As a result, the Surface Duo 2 carries a big camera bump, whereas the Surface Duo is pretty clean on the outside.

Surface Duo 2 on black table showing camera

Coming to the raw camera specifications, you get a 14MP primary wide-angle shooter, a 14MP telephoto camera, and a 16MP ultra-wide-angle camera on the Surface Duo 2. There’s a 12MP selfie shooter on the phone as well. In comparison, the Surface Duo comes with a single 11MP camera.

Battery and Connectivity

Surface Duo 2 lying flat on pool table

Microsoft has put a 4,449mAh battery in the Surface Duo with support for 23W fast charging. On the other hand, the original Surface Duo features a much smaller 3,577mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging. This difference in battery capacity will undoubtedly help the Duo 2 last longer, even though it has bigger screens to power.

Surface Duo

The connectivity options have also been improved in the Duo 2. It supports 5G (mmWave and sub-6GHz), Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, and USB Type-C 3.2. On the other hand, the Surface Duo has 4G support, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB Type-C 3.1.

Surface Duo 2 vs Surface Duo: Pricing and Colors

Surface Duo 2 on black table

Surface Duo 2 in the Obsidian color

Although Microsoft priced the Surface Duo starting at $1,399 at launch, it currently sells at $699 for the 128GB model and $749 for the 256GB model. The Surface Duo 2 has an even higher starting launch price of $1,499 for the 128GB model. The 256GB and 512GB models of the Duo 2 are priced at $1,599 and $1,799, respectively.

In terms of color options, the Surface Duo comes in just one Glacier color, whereas the Duo 2 has Glacier and Obsidian options.

Conclusion

Rear view of Surface Duo 2

There’s no doubt the Surface Duo 2 is a huge step up from the original. It has better camera options, 5G support, a much faster processor, more RAM, and a bigger battery. So if you love the form factor and want a superior device, the Surface Duo 2 is a clear winner. But if you just want to try this form factor and it won’t be a daily driver for you, the original Duo is a better value for money, especially since you can get it at a steep discount. Hopefully, the upcoming Android 11 update will fix some of its software woes.

Suface Duo original

Do you plan to buy the new Surface Duo 2? Let us know in the comments section. Meanwhile, we have also selected the best foldable phones and the best Surface PCs on the market to give you more options.

    Microsoft Surface Duo 2
    The Surface Duo 2 is Microsoft’s latest dual-screen Android smartphone. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and runs on Android 11.
    Microsoft Surface Duo
    The Surface Duo is Microsoft’s original dual-screen Android phone. It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and packs 6GB of RAM.

About author

Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav has been covering technology for over a decade now. He has done everything from blogging about Android to reporting the latest from the world of Internet giants. When he is not writing about the tech companies, he can be found binge-watching new TV series on the web. You can reach Gaurav at [email protected]