Microsoft's dual-screen, Android-based 'Surface Duo' smartphone has been seen in the wild

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

While riding the subway, YouTube user Israel Rodriguez noticed the dual-screen device in the hands of a fellow passenger. The individual in question operated the phone for several minutes, seemingly without noticing that they were being filmed -- or perhaps Rodriguez asked permission.

Either way, the clip allows us to get a brief glimpse at how the Duo might function in the real world, without the perfect-world conditions of a major tech conference or reveal event. The Duo user puts the device through its paces, testing it in multiple form factors. They open it up like a book to use it in dual-screen mode, they fold it back so that the touchscreens face away from each other (one facing the user), and they also close it fully.

Though the Duo is clearly still a prototype and runs a bit slow at some points in the video, it's still an impressive and sleek little gadget. When used in book-like form, apps seem to be capable of displaying different information on both screens at once, and they adapt relatively quickly to horizontal or portrait orientation changes.

The Duo is Microsoft's take on the hybrid smartphone concept, and it seems to be just as versatile as some competing devices, like the Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X. Granted, it's missing the true folding-display tech they boast, but we're not so sure that's a bad thing. From our perspective, the Surface Duo looks like a considerably more practical phone than the Fold and Mate X, and its distinct design might just let it avoid the durability problems that plague those devices.

Perhaps the Duo will even be a bit cheaper, but at this point, we simply can't say for sure. Microsoft has not revealed the Surface Duo's cost, its exact release date, or any of its technical specifications. However, if the company truly has decided to move forward with semi-public testing (and this video isn't just an elaborate hoax), perhaps some answers will be revealed sooner rather than later.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Well, finally a well designed one! Samsung and other competitors could take a lesson from this one! No doubt it won't be cheap but after 10 to 15 more generations it might come down to where a retiree can afford it! LOL
 

psycros

TS Evangelist
I'm seeing an excess of edge-swipe gestures to invoke various pop-over menus and as usual it isn't working too well. You'd think by now companies would have learned to avoid this kind of thing. Enabling active swipes along multiple sides of the display or within different sections of a single side is a recipe for user rage.
 
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mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
I know its a long shot, but I would love for them to release a stylus version, a la 'Samsung Note'. I'd love to see some competition on that particular feature.
 

BigRedPDX

TS Booster
I'm seeing an excess of edge-swipe gestures to invoke various pop-over menus and as usual it isn't working too well. You'd think by now companies would have learned to avoid this kind of thing. Enabling active swipes along multiple sides of the display or within different sections of a single side is a recipe for user rage.
I agree with you on this. I mean, this device has two screens. The side swiping and action swipes don't seem all that necessary to me. I'm not upset about this having Android vs whatever Microsoft OS they would put on it. I'm curious to know what hardware lies inside that beast. I wouldn't mind being a tester.
 
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Danny101

TS Evangelist
I like the design. Good for a dual screen tablet. Big for my taste as a phone. With that, for me it would be prohibitively expensive.