Our verdict on the Microsoft Surface Duo 2: The software does not do the smartphone justice ↺
In our review, the Surface Duo 2 shines with a very premium exterior and a thin construction as well as good haptics. However, the plastic frame protecting the two curved screens somewhat tarnishes the premium feeling of the Duo 2.
Due to the fact that Microsoft as the creators of the Windows operating system and office software suite have ample experience in the software development field, one may expect a perfectly polished user interface from the Surface Duo 2. Unfortunately, this is not the case here. In our review, the optimization of the Android interface actually turns out to be one of the weak points of the Microsoft foldable.
Furthermore, the software of the Duo 2 lacks customizability and settings such as the display's color temperature cannot be adjusted, the camera app does not offer a Pro mode, and there is no way to adjust the refresh rate to save on battery, either.
Occasionally, inputs to the PixelSense touchscreen are lost and swiping gestures on the homescreen are only executed after a small delay. Additionally, we were sometimes unable to wake up the phone from standby after folding it up, which then forced us to do a reboot via a long press of the power button.
The portrait mode in particular appears to cause issues. Unlike in single-screen mode, it is not possible for example to make inputs using the keyboard. Similarly, the gesture controls do not change their orientation, which leads to horizontal swipes closing apps - this is confusing and not very intuitive. The system also seems to have trouble remembering when an application is closed in fullscreen mode.
Unfortunately, the "normal" landscape mode is not without its issues, either. For example, the most recent app occasionally pops up while typing and blocks the view of the letters you are typing, the volume of videos drops drastically when typing on the second screen and even Microsoft's own Skype does not support video transmission in the dual-screen window mode. After closing the application on the second screen, everything works normally again.
The fact that part of the web content is obstructed in fullscreen mode when browsing due to the hinge, which can block individual lines of text, is a more minor annoyance. Meanwhile, the cleverly designed glance bar only supports two applications aside from a volume and battery status indicator. Whether or not a business device needs a call or messaging notification in 2022 is also questionable.
Review of the Microsoft Surface Duo 2