Monday , May 23 2022

How Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 compares with Samsung’s flagship foldable

It’s official: the troubled Surface Duo is now last-gen. Microsoft announced its successor, the Surface Duo 2, during its recent fall Surface event, capping off months of rumors and introducing the device alongside the Surface Pro 8, Surface Laptop Studio, and a bevy of new devices designed to take advantage of Windows 11.

The new Android-based smartphone starts at $1,499.99 — $100 less than the original — and launches on October 20th in multiple configurations. It retains the hinged design of its predecessor — only this time, it comes equipped with a more thought-out camera system, 5G support, and a modern processor that brings it more in line with flagships from Samsung, Xiaomi, and OnePlus. And while it’s not a foldable in the traditional sense — it’s outfitted with two screens, not one — it’s not in a class of its own, either. Blame the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

The Fold 3 recently set the bar for what foldable phones could achieve, bringing with it better multitasking, a water-resistant build, and a refined display that’s a notable step up from the original model released in 2019. But is Samsung’s premium foldable a match for the forthcoming Duo 2? After all, Samsung’s foldable is markedly different from Microsoft’s when it comes to design.

The Fold 3 features a smaller, 6.2-inch display that covers the entire front of the device. It also contains a flexible, 7.6-inch OLED on the inside, which unfurls as you open the phone with the aid of an aluminum hinge. There’s still a small gap between the two sides when closed, however, which is visible on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 as well. The latter phone — an entirely different device from the Fold 3 we’re comparing here — also features a foldable display, only the device is smaller, folds vertically, and retails for $700 less.

The Duo 2 doesn’t rely on a flexible display. Like its predecessor, it uses two separate, 5.8-inch OLED panels that amount to 8.3 inches when viewed together, with a large bezel running between them. The hinge connecting the two displays allows you to fold the phone in half with the displays on the outside so you can use the device one-handed, though the phone’s large camera bump means they’ll never close completely.

The screens — while the selling point — aren’t everything, however. Below, we’ve compared the Fold 3 and Duo 2 in more detail ahead of our full Duo 2 review.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Specification Microsoft Surface Duo 2 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Specification Microsoft Surface Duo 2 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Main screen size Dual 5.8-inch OLEDs (8.3-inch when viewed together) Single 7.6-inch OLED
Main screen resolution 2688 x 1892, 401 ppi 2208 x 1768, 374 ppi
Cover screen size N/A 6.2-inch OLED
Cover screen resolution N/A 2268 x 832, 387 ppi
Refresh rate 90Hz 120Hz
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 256GB, 512GB
Battery capacity 4449mAh 4400mAh
OS Android 11 Android 11
Rear camera 12MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm (main),16MP, f/2.2, 1.0µm (ultra-wide), 12MP, f/2.4, 1.0µm (telephoto) 12MP, f/1.8, 1.8μm (main), 12MP, f/2.2, 1.2μm (ultra-wide), 12MP, f/2.4, 1.0μm (telephoto)
Front camera 12MP 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22μm (cover), 4MP, f1/8, 2.0μm (main)
Video HDR,1080p and 4K video recording at 30 fps and 60 fps, slow motion video at 120 or 240fps HDR, 1080p and 4K video recording at 30 fps and 60 fps, slow motion 1080p video support at 240 fps, super slow-mo 720p video support at 960 fps, hyperlapse 4K video support at 30fps
Wireless connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 Wi-fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
NFC Yes Yes
Dimensions (open) 145.2 x 184.5 mm 158.2 x 128.1 mm
Dimensions (closed) 145.2 x 92.1 mm 158.2 x 67.1 mm
Thickness (open) 5.5 mm 6.4 mm
Thickness (closed) 11 mm 16 mm
Weight 284g 271g
Water resistance IPX1 IPX8
Wireless charging? No Yes
Fast charging? Yes Yes
Ports USB-C charging port USB-C charging port
5G support mmWave and sub-6GHz mmWave and sub-6GHz
NFC? Yes Yes
Stylus support Surface Pen, Surface Slim Pen, Surface Slim Pen 2 S Pen Fold Edition
Biometrics Fingerprint scanner Fingerprint scanner
Starting price $1,499 $1,799

Spec-for-spec, in some ways

To put it mildly: the original Surface 2 had its shortcomings. The camera was atrocious, the software buggy, and Microsoft was still charging a starting price of $1,399 for just the device, a staggering number when you consider the faults. And while it was seemingly released premature, it was innovative, so much so The Verge’s Dieter Bohn hoped — like me — that we’d see a second iteration of the smartphone down the line.

Well, here it is.

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2.

The Surface Duo 2 features thinner bezels and the same processor found as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

On paper, the Surface Duo 2 looks to address many of the aforementioned problems. It’s equipped with the same high-end Snapdragon 888 processor found in the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which is Qualcomm’s latest chipset and the brains behind almost every Android flagship released this year, from the Samsung Galaxy S21 to the OnePlus 9. Like the Z Fold 3, the second-gen Duo will be available in both 128GB and 512GB storage configurations when it launches next month, as well as an additional 128GB variant. The Duo 2 only features 8GB of RAM, however, compared to the Fold 3’s 12GB. Software optimization will certainly play a role in how efficient the phone is at multitasking, but the Fold 3 has the upper hand spec-wise. Both phones also support 5G connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, and NFC for contactless payments — something the original Duo did not offer — along with either Bluetooth 5.0 or 5.1.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (256GB)

  • $1,800

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is Samsung’s latest attempt at making foldable phones more mainstream. It’s expensive, sure, but it’s also more durable than previous models and comes with a 120Hz display and support for the once-exclusive S Pen.

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