8 things we’d want for the next Surface phone
The Surface Duo marks a return to the mobile sector for Microsoft, albeit in a very unconventional form factor. Microsoft’s new device has two screens for better multitasking and productivity. However, it is far from a perfect experience.
For the full story, check out our review below, but there are a number of ways – from the price and spec sheet to the overall experience – that the Redmond company could have done better. Here are eight things we’d like to see for Microsoft Surface Duo 2.
Our verdict: Microsoft Surface Duo test
A far more sophisticated software experience
Probably the biggest problem with the Surface Duo is the horribly unpolished software experience. Sure, first generation products tend to have flaws that need to be squeezed. Unfortunately, these are less of a few bugs than a complete infestation.
You’d think the company would learn its lesson after delivering its last flagship in terrible condition in 2015. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Presumably the lack of portable paint is due to the company firing a ton of testers years ago. So we’d love to have a better out-of-the-box experience with the Surface Duo 2 and a number of last-minute updates to fix the duo.
A desktop mode
Microsoft was one of the first companies to offer a desktop mode for its smartphones in 2015 thanks to the “Continuum for Phones” function. In this way, you can output your Windows Phone on an external display and thus achieve a Windows-like experience – but with universal Windows apps.
Since then, we’ve seen Huawei, LG, and Samsung keep up to date with more robust desktop modes of their own. So we’d love to see Microsoft develop a similar feature. Redmond can use Android’s native desktop mode support to develop the feature. When you use corporate productivity tools like office and remote desktop software, you get a powerful combination.
Take on other flagships
The Surface Duo started off with the Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. In terms of chipset alone, it’s a tough piece of silicon. However, it’s still last year’s chipset while other flagship phones use this year’s top-notch processors. Meanwhile, RAM count is also something we’re more likely to see in affordable flagships and mid-rangers than expensive devices.
We’d definitely like the Surface Duo 2 to have a modern high-end chipset, more RAM, and more storage – or at least microSD support. Aside from boosting performance, a modern flagship processor would also enable other welcome features like 5G, higher quality photo / video capture, and better Bluetooth / Wi-Fi connectivity.
Another key feature missing from the Surface Duo is NFC, as Microsoft discovered that the standard for wireless connectivity on a device wasn’t worth $ 1,400. The company stated that it would initially focus on “basic scenarios”.
also read: What is NFC and how does it work? Everything you need to know
It’s difficult to accept this answer when the foldable devices from Huawei and Samsung offer NFC. You can certainly argue that their leaflets are more complex designs from a hardware standpoint. Hopefully the next Surface Duo device will offer the WiFi standard. This would mean that if you want to access public transportation and pay for goodies at the cash register, you can actually leave your traditional phone at home.
Better prices (or more features)
Using last year’s internals and some missing features can be justified if the Surface Duo was reasonably priced. Unfortunately the price is not at all reasonable.
Starting at $ 1,400, the Surface Duo is in the same price segment as the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. In fact, it’s a bit more expensive than the Galaxy Z Flip, too.
We definitely want Microsoft to cut prices a bit or add a ton more features to justify this day. In the latter case, there are plenty of other extras the company could bring to the table, such as: B. a higher refresh rate, a bigger battery, a lot more storage and 5G.
One of the most requested features from David Imel is that the Surface Duo 2 gets wireless charging capabilities. This is not an unreasonable request either, as it has become a staple of many premium devices in the past few years.
connected: The Best Wireless Charging Phones in 2020
We even saw Samsung’s folding devices charge wirelessly, proving that foldable designs can offer the technology too. Hopefully, at a time when even mid-range phones offer faster speeds, we’ll see something faster than wired charging at 18W.
Microsoft claims they’d have to add wireless charging coils on either side of the device, but we’d only fix one coil on the rear display. This would definitely add a bit more thickness to the device, but we think it’s worth it, especially if it means Microsoft could add a bigger battery.
A better camera experience
The Surface Duo isn’t meant to be a camera powerhouse, but that doesn’t excuse the bad camera experience we had anyway. Overall, Microsoft’s device only contains a paltry 11-megapixel shooter that lands on the front of the device.
Fortunately, the tablet / phone hybrid can be flipped the other way so you can shoot backwards with the shooter facing forward. It still seems like the Redmond company should have added a dedicated rearview camera or other front-facing camera (e.g. ultra-wide) to create a more flexible platform.
The Surface Duo takes solid photos, but the camera app is very barebones. Those expecting a night mode and other typical features might be disappointed. This is especially daunting when Microsoft is sitting on great camera technology either developed in-house or acquired through Nokia’s purchase. Features like Creative Studio Suite and Rich HDR (with adjustable HDR / exposure / flash intensity after shooting) are pretty nifty, so it’s a shame that none of these exciting features are available.
A better typing experience
Probably one of the most annoying things about the Surface Duo is the typing experience. David noticed that Microsoft uses its SwiftKey app by default (in one-handed mode) but that it was quite buggy and bad at suggesting words. Then he switched to GBoard but had to hold the device with one hand and wipe with another – an uncomfortable experience.
Continue reading: The 10 Best Keyboard Apps for All Types of Typists
For what’s worth it, you can use the Surface Duo like a laptop, with the keyboard on one screen and the content on the other. But David still thought this was a cramped experience compared to other phones. So we’re hoping for better support for third-party keyboard apps, as well as a more refined SwiftKey experience.
That’s it for our look at additions and improvements that we’d like to see on the Surface Duo 2. What do you want to see? Let us know in the comments!