Microsoft’s Surface Duo is bringing its dual screen smartphone device to Europe next week, but it will still cost a pretty penny.
The Surface Duo smartphone arrived in the United States in Q3 2020, but Redmond continued to saddle its Surface portfolio with a ‘premium’ purchase price, and the Surface Duo was no exception.
When it launched, the 128GB version of the device cost an eye-watering $1,399, whereas the 256GB version cost a staggering $1,499.
And the prices will still be wallet busting five months after its US arrival, when it launches in the UK, France, Germany, and Canada on 18 February.
In the UK, the entry-level Surface Duo will be priced from £1,349 in the UK, and can be purchased from either the Microsoft Store in the UK or retailer Currys PC World.
In Germany the device will be priced at 1,549 euros.
It does beggar the question how Microsoft hopes to convince a consumer market already burnt by its previous failed hardware ventures.
Microsoft for its part believes that the unique selling point for the Surface Duo is the fact that it offers two screens for multitasking.
This means one screen can have Twitter open for example, and the other screen can be running Office 365.
Microsoft last year had also previewed a dual-screen tablet called the Surface Neo, but has chosen not to bring that to market.
Both of those devices had a hinge in the middle for a mechanical fold, rather than utilising a bendable screen like the Samsung Galaxy Fold does.
So what do people get for the all that money?
Well, the specs are not exactly cutting edge. The Surface Duo is a two-screen folding phone, that features two 5.6in screens (resolution of 1800×1350 each) joined together with a hinge that folds a full 360 degrees.
Essentially, the phone opens up like a book, but can then fold all the way round.
It support Surface Pen, and that the device itself is 4.8mm thin.
The device will run Android 10, and whilst it can make calls and send SMS messages, Microsoft is not describing it as a phone as such.
It will be a 4G device, and is not 5G compatible, offering Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 5.0.
The Surface Duo ships with a ‘tried and tested’ Snapdragon 855, as well as a surprisingly tiny 6GB DRAM.
There is a single 11MP camera sensor above the right display that will be used for both front and rear-facing photos and videos.
The displays themselves are AMOLED panels with a pixel density of 401.
Battery wise, the Surface Duo will come with a 3577mAh battery.
Other features include USB-C fast charging and a fingerprint scanner, but there will no wireless charging or NFC capabilities.
To many observers however, Microsoft faces big hurdle in convincing users to back its idea with the Surface Duo.
With the hefty upfront purchase cost of the Surface Duo, its fairly lacklustre specs, Microsoft has given itself another mountain to climb in the mobile sector.