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Microsoft Surface Duo 2 re-review: I get it now - The Verge

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 re-review: I get it now - The Verge

Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 launched in October 2021 with a laundry list of problems. But a recent price cut and a whole lot of software updates have transformed the device into something much better than it was then.

It’s exceedingly rare that a product actually gets better months after it was released. But Microsoft’s oft-forgotten Surface Duo 2, which launched back in October 2021 with a steep price tag and a laundry list of bugs and issues that made it very frustrating to use, has bucked that trend. In fact, the Duo 2 has improved so much that it’s now one of my favorite mobile devices, even if it’s still weird and unique enough that I can’t exactly recommend it to most people.

In case you’ve forgotten, the Surface Duo 2 is a folding phone with two big screens joined by a hinge. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3, which takes a single tablet-sized display and folds it in half to fit in your pocket, the Duo 2’s two screens make it feel more like two large phones attached together and running the same software. You can easily run two apps side by side as if you were holding two phones at the same time, or you can span a single app across both screens to mimic a small tablet. Both halves of the phone are thin enough that it can fold together like a book and fit into a pocket with relative ease. Pair it with Microsoft’s Surface Slim Pen 2, and you have a portable digital notebook that can work just as well for note-taking, reading an ebook, or drafting an email.

When I reviewed the Surface Duo 2 last year, none of its clever design or book-like features mattered. The device was effectively broken, held back by software bugs that made it infuriating to type on, frustrating to use, and ultimately disappointing. It was a $1,500 novelty that could only appeal to the most die-hard Microsoft brand stooges willing to put up with its many faults so they could have the never-launched Courier device they dreamed about over a decade ago.

The Surface Duo 2 doesn’t really work well as a phone, but can be a very useful pocket computer.

But, remarkably, Microsoft has not given up on the Duo 2. In fact, the company has consistently issued software updates on a monthly basis to address the many problems the Duo 2 had at launch. Some of these updates consisted of simple security patches and small bug fixes, while others, like the recent June update, included more significant corrections and added new features. Crucially, Microsoft has addressed the touch latency problems that were prevalent at launch and made it very difficult to type on the Duo 2’s virtual keyboard — or even navigate the interface.

Knowing that Microsoft has been attending to many of my original complaints with the Duo 2, I took advantage of a recent price cut (the phone can now be had for $1,000, which is still expensive but significantly less than its launch price) and a generous trade-in offer and bought one of my own. The goal was to see if I could get a better idea of what Microsoft is trying to accomplish with this device when show-stopping bugs aren’t standing in its way.

Post ID: 1f0d9395-74aa-4841-8f1c-a433843afcbb
Rating: 1
Updated: 6 days ago

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