September 26, 2020

Microsoft Surface Duo unboxing: What do you get for $1,400?

The Microsoft Surface Duo is finally in our hands. What do you get for $1,400? Let's take a look.

Microsoft Surface Duo standing upright on table closed

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Microsoft’s Surface Duo phone-tablet thingy just showed up on our doorstep. We’re pretty stoked to see the company’s new vision for a phone, years after it abandoned its own hardware and operating system. But almost equally interesting to Microsoft’s take on Android is the hardware, sporting two independent displays versus the bendable single-screened foldable devices we’ve become accustomed to seeing.

We’re not able to show you the software experience just yet. But you’re probably wondering, what exactly do you get inside that $1,400 box? Take a look in our Microsoft Surface Duo unboxing.

Unique hardware

Microsoft Surface Duo holding book mode in hand

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

As mentioned above, the Microsoft Surface Duo has some of the most unique hardware we’ve seen in a while. This phone is wicked thin, coming in at just 4.8mm when unfolded, or about 9.6mm when folded up. Compare that with any other phone, especially a foldable phone like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, and it’s clear Microsoft put a lot of work into making this thing as streamlined as possible.

Equally jarring is how wide this phone is. Even when put into a single-screen orientation, it’s about a third wider than most phones you’re probably used to. You’ll have to have your hands spread pretty wide to hold it, but it’s clear that Microsoft wants you to use this phone with two hands, like a book. I can see why the company is hesitant to call it a phone since it feels more like a tablet. At the end of the day, it still does most of the things a standard Android phone would do.

Microsoft Surface Duo at angle on table
Microsoft Surface Duo laptop mode
Microsoft Surface Duo standing straight through bars

You’ve got a single USB-C port on the bottom, a side-mounted fingerprint reader, a power button, and volume rockers on the right. The top is devoid of any buttons or ports. The hinge sits on the left. Microsoft spent a lot of time designing this hinge, and its one of the smoothest hinges I’ve used. There’s just enough force required to swing it around, and it can rotate a full 360 degrees, stopping anywhere in between. This means you can use it in a variety of orientations, like a laptop or a tent.

Microsoft Surface Duo standing upright on table open
Microsoft Surface Duo inside camera

The Surface Duo’s screens are 5.6-inch AMOLED panels, with hefty bezels on the top and bottom. There’s also a single 5MP camera with a flash on the right display. Microsoft said the camera wasn’t a priority for this device, but we’ll have to see how it fares for daily use.

The phone is made almost completely out of glass and metal, which makes it feel super premium. I really like this, but it does make me worry that it would shatter pretty easily if dropped. That’s probably why Microsoft included a silicon bumper in the box.

Microsoft Surface Duo accessories

Microsoft Surface Duo charger and cable

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Inside the box, there’s an 18W fast charger with a USB-C to USB-C cable and a silicone bumper case. The bumper case uses adhesive, which is a bummer considering the device looks much nicer without it. You’ll ruin it if you want to take it off. I would love to see a leather case made for this thing, specifically because it looks like a book.

Microsoft Surface Duo with bumper standing stright
Microsoft Surface Duo partially closed

Besides that, there’s not a lot going on here. This is obviously an extremely unique device, but my real interest comes in the software. We’re not allowed to discuss that just yet, but I’m curious to see how Microsoft handles Android across two displays.

There’s more to come after this quick Microsoft Surface Duo unboxing! Have any questions about the Surface Duo? Let us know in the comments down below and we’ll be sure to answer them in our full review coming soon.

Next: Microsoft Surface Duo: Who is it actually for?