ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley provides all of the details of the new Microsoft Surface Duo, including its $1,400 entry price and availability in early September. As an engineer and mobile enthusiast, I am intrigued by what Microsoft is offering and am considering the Surface Duo for my own testing just like I did with the first Samsung Galaxy Fold that I later sold off.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold offered some amazing innovation in mobile technology in a commercially released form factor we hadn't seen before. The Surface Duo offers a dual screen experience similar to what LG has been offering for more than a year and improving with each release.
I was expecting more from Microsoft, in terms of software innovation, and maybe we will see more in this area with further evaluation and testing of the device. As of now, it looks like a fairly stock Android experience on two large displays with a high price and older specifications.
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- Price: The LG Velvet is available for just $600 and the LG V60 for about $900. The Surface Duo starts at $1,400 for 128GB and $1,500 for 256GB.
- Processor: The Surface Duo has an older generation Snapdragon 855 processor while the LG V60 has a Snapdragon 865 and the LG Velvet a new generation 765G.
- 5G: The Surface Duo doesn't support 5G while both LG models do.
- NFC: Sorry, you won't be using Google Pay while out and about with the Surface Duo. LG's devices have NFC and also support the LG Pay system.
- Camera: An 11 MP camera is available on the Surface Duo while the LG Velvet and LG V60 each offer two advanced high megapixel rear cameras and one front-facing camera.
- Display size: When opened up, the Surface Duo offers 8.1 inches of total screen size through two 5.6 inch displays. The LG Velvet and V60 each have two 6.8 inch 2460x1080 pixel resolution displays that give you a lot more space for getting work done. LG also has software designed to optimize use of the two displays, just like we hear with Microsoft's new offering.
- Wireless charging: While primarily a convenience factor, it's nice to have on the LG devices where you can rest the phone in the LG Dual Screen cover down on a charging pad to top of your phone.
- Utility: The Surface Duo is a big device with two displays that are always connected. With the LG Velvet or V60 you can pop out the main device and go running or out into the rain and use the device as a standard smartphone.
There may be more advantages to the LG Dual Screen solution, such as the IP68 rating and MIL-STD-810G drop/shock resistance, but we will have to wait for more details from Microsoft to verify these differences.
The Microsoft Surface Duo has stylus support and we will have to check out that functionality in more detail. The LG Velvet and V60 have advanced stylus support, making the LG devices some of the best for mobile phone stylus use.
There are some software enhancements Microsoft is offering for its suite of products and also a customized Kindle app from Amazon. I would love to see Amazon offer the same for devices like the LG Velvet or V60 too, but an app or two isn't enough justification to buy a less capable device.