After many years of development, Microsoft's Surface Duo dual-screen smartphone is finally here. It's a revolutionary new form factor, but like many first generation products, it's not hard to spot its blind spots.
The Surface Duo 2 is apparently already in the works and is codenamed Zeta. Hopefully Microsoft is already working on fixes for some of these issues.
From slimmer bezels to a better camera, water resistance, and more, we hope to see a few things on the Surface Duo 2.
Better rear-facing lens camera
At the top of our list of things we'd want to see in a Surface Duo 2 is a better camera. The Surface Duo has a single 11-megapixel front camera with an aperture of 2.0. The phone also doesn't have a rear-facing camera sensor. This means that you have to flip the Duo’s two screens over and flip them every time you want to take a photo.
Microsoft has optimized the camera software on the Surface Duo so that you can easily switch between the screens to take a photo. However, many people have feared that the photo quality on the Surface Duo might not be that good. Compared to other modern smartphones with two, three and even four main camera lenses, the duo cannot simply replace a DLSR for professional photos in most situations.
The duo also use PDAF (phase detection autofocus) technology to focus on images. It's not always as accurate as the laser autofocus on other modern phones in the same price range as the Duo, especially in low light.
And here are three photos with the Surface Duo … same scene, different result? Be the judge. pic.twitter.com/vE67f3cAaT
– Arif Bacchus (@abacjourn) August 31, 2020
With this in mind, we hope Microsoft will consider adding a second camera to the back of the device on the Surface Duo 2 to make taking photos easier without having to turn the phone. A sensor with more megapixels or the addition of a second camera lens would also be desirable so the photo quality could be improved.
That means, of course, that some key design changes need to be made to an already thin phone. We do know, however, that Microsoft experimented with this idea because an early prototype of the Duo had a camera hump on the back. We hope it's about the Surface Duo 2.
Better specs with support for 5G and microSD cards
Another controversial area surrounding the Surface Duo is the “outdated” specifications. Microsoft is launching the duo in mid-2020 with a mobile processor from last year – the Snapdragon 855. This is nothing new for the company – Microsoft Surface Pro, the 2-in-1 tablets, have always been a year behind the newest Processors from Intel back to this year's Surface Pro 7.
The Snapdragon 855 was originally introduced by Qualcomm in late 2018 and launched in March 2019. Since then, it has been found on many other phones, including the OnePlus 7 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the LG V50 ThinQ, and the Sony Xperia X1, as of 2019.
At the time Microsoft was developing the duo, this processor was probably considered the newest and the best. However, in 2020 and next year, it's a bit dated and even doesn't offer support for 5G – which most new phones in the same price range as the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G already support.
In some of these other phones, the Snapdragon 855 is very snappy – good enough for multitasking and the many other things Microsoft says the duo can do. However, compared to other premium phones in 2020, the duo is a bit behind at launch when it comes to internals.
For example, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 comes with the Snapdragon 865+, which has 5G support. The Fold 2 also has 12 GB of RAM compared to the Duo's 6 GB. That extra memory would have been useful for the duo, especially when it comes to multitasking.
Then there is no support for SD cards. This has always been a big feature on Microsoft's Surface devices and even on the LG Velvet. The Surface Pro, like the Surface Book, has a microSD card slot. However, the duo doesn't have any. If you need additional storage, you'll have to pay and upgrade to the 256GB model. We sincerely hope the Duo supports 2 SD cards to remove the hassle of paying for additional storage space.
We also hope that Microsoft will launch the Surface Duo 2 with a newer processor. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G 5G processor would make a lot of sense as it is the newest from Qualcomm and it wasn't announced until May. However, judging by the Duo, it wouldn't be surprising to see an older processor in the Duo 2, perhaps the 765G 5G. This is the same one that can be found in the LG Velvet 5G.
Improved design with slimmer bezels
One final point that many have mentioned when reviewing the Surface Duo is the overall design. While the phone is thin and light – it's one of the thinnest devices Microsoft has ever made – it still has a fatal flaw. The bezels.
Unlike most modern 2020 smartphones like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the duo has thicker frames on the top and bottom of the phone. These are available because Microsoft had to lay thin cables in a duo and lay the cables for the hinge. They make the phone look a little unsightly and inefficient, even if they give your hands something to grab when holding the duo.
Microsoft has learned a little from this problem in the past. After people complained about the Surface Pro lineup with thick bezels, Microsoft listened and introduced the Surface Pro X, which shrinks the thick bezels for an all-round slimmer look. If Microsoft could do this with the Surface Pro X, we hope it can do the same with the Duo 2.
Other things for the list
While the camera, specs, and design are the top three things we hope Microsoft can improve on the Surface Duo 2, we hope the Duo 2 offers many other things as well. That includes adding Qi wireless charging, a feature that is as good as usual on modern smartphones. Also on our list is NFC support, as it has become essential for contactless payments as well as sharing files with Android's file sharing feature, Nearby Share. Finally, there's a seal in place as we all want to avoid accidental water damage to a $ 1,400 smartphone.