Microsoft Surface Duo: A cheat sheet

This Surface Duo guide covers features, pricing, and more details that you need to know about Microsoft's dual-screen device.

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The Surface Duo was announced on Oct. 2, 2019 during Microsoft's Surface Event in New York. Though Microsoft has unsuccessfully attempted to enter the smartphone market for years, its Surface Duo may be a step in the right direction. This Android-powered, dual-screened communication device is ideal for business users looking for more efficient ways to access, relay, and send information to clients and colleagues.

This Surface Duo cheat sheet will be updated as information about the device becomes available. This article is also available as a download, Cheat sheet: Microsoft Surface Duo (free PDF).

What is the Microsoft Surface Duo?

The Surface Duo is a dual-screened, Android-powered communication device that is part mobile phone, part tablet, and part camera. The Surface Duo has two 5.6" screens, and when it's released, it might include a stylus for ultimate productivity. 

When folded, the Surface Duo is the size of a typical smartphone, and it's covered with a Gorilla Glass backing and imprinted with the Microsoft logo. When opened, the Surface Duo features two 5.6" glass screens separated by the 360-degree folding hinge. The screens can operate as one large 8.3" screen or independently of each other. 

SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and smart person's guides

This means you can utilize one large screen (similar to a tablet), or perform multiple tasks at the same time such as watching a video or attending a video conference on one screen while googling or checking your emails on the other screen. When you use the Surface Duo in landscape mode, one screen of the device runs applications, while the other can be used as a keyboard or a game controller.  

According to a Microsoft rep, the Microsoft Surface Duo will run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset. The device is also capable of running apps from the Google Play Store, thanks to Microsoft's partnership with Google.

Additional resources

How can I use the Microsoft Surface Duo for work?

The Surface Duo was designed to help users achieve maximum "flow" and be as productive as possible, so it does lend itself well to business users. During the Surface Event, Microsoft's chief product officer, Panos Panay, outlined some examples. 

Panay explained that while using Outlook/email, you can have one screen displaying your inbox or a received message and the other screen could be used to compose a message, which would make sending emails more efficient. Another example: While using Microsoft Teams on one screen, information or documents can be accessed from the other screen, allowing for less lag time when retrieving and relaying such information. Users could also run websites side by side and drag and drop content between them as needed. 

SEE: Microsoft Teams: The right collaboration platform for your organization? (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What are the top competitors to the Microsoft Surface Duo?

Though not considered a foldable or a smartphone per se, the most direct competition for a device like the Surface Duo will likely include the Galaxy Fold, the Motorola Razr foldable, and Huawei Mate X.  

Additional resources 

When will the Microsoft Surface Duo be available?

At its October 2nd Surface Event, Microsoft revealed that the Surface Duo is not expected to be released until "holiday season 2020." 

No pricing information is currently available.

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Microsoft Surface Duo

Image: CNET/Sarah Tew