Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

First Impressions of the Microsoft Surface Duo Hardware

After being announced last year, U.S. preorders for Microsoft’s Surface Duo began earlier this month, with devices shipping to users in just a couple of weeks. Right on cue, Microsoft has begun seeding members of the press with review units — though, so far, the software remains embargoed. That means they are only allowed to show hardware, and that means quality videos like those created by Marques Brownlee and Justine Ezarik are the best demonstration vehicles.

So, what did we learn? Well, it appears to be very thin and very well constructed — particularly the hinge, which appears to be smooth and sounds sturdy. I have no idea when I might be able to try one of these things in person, but it appears to be impressive from a hardware engineering perspective.

Both videos also give us an idea of the retail packaging. There’s a giant box in both that seems to be only for reviewers, but it contains boxes for a Surface Duo and a set of earbuds. I know it’s a cliché to point out stuff like this, but it’s kind of funny how similar the Surface Duo — along with many other Android phones — is to the iPhone’s packaging.

Brownlee compares the Surface Duo to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold in his video. The Galaxy has always looked like a janky prototype and, in comparison to the Surface, it looks even worse. There’s still no chance that I would drop nearly $2,000 Canadian on any folding phone right now, but at least Microsoft’s attempt looks like a real product.