a hinged iPad mini and Android 10 with the software as a big unknown

Microsoft announced its Surface Duo, a real surprise at their event at the end of last year. Yesterday, the Redmond company shared more details about the Surface Duo, clearing up some unknowns about the device. The most striking thing is that Microsoft has applied the idea of ​​folding devices (in this case, with a hinge) that gives rise to a tablet close to the iPad mini 5 when it is unfolded.

Surface Duo: a tablet with a hinge and the size of an iPad mini

a hinged iPad mini and Android 10 with the software as a big unknown

Surface Duo

iPad mini 5


Open 8.1 inches 2,700 x 1,800 pixels (3: 2), 401 dpi; closed 5.6 inches 1,800 x 1,350 px (4: 3), 401 dpi

7.9 inches 2,048 x 1,536 (4: 3) at 326 dpi


250 grams

300 grams


Open: 145.2 x 186.9 x 4.8mm; closed: 145.2 x 93.3 x 9.9mm

134.8 x 203.2 x 6.1mm


Snapdragon 855

A12 Bionic


Fingerprint sensor

Touch ID


$ 1,399 (excluding VAT)

449 euros (446 euros at Amazon)

It is evident that we are facing two totally different devices. But the similarity in size between the two is striking, given that the 8.1 inches of the Duo deployed they are very similar to the 7.9-inch iPad mini. Of course, the ratio of the screen is different, with 3: 2 of the first compared to 4: 3 of the second.

In terms of weight, the iPad mini exceeds it by 50 grams, which is quite a lot if we consider that we could consider both as devices to hold with one hand. The striking thing is that none of them dispense with the frames, leaving a fairly wide strip on the narrower sides. The frameless design has yet to make its way to these devices.

The Surface Duo is, when unfolded, very similar to an iPad mini in dimensions, size and screen

The rest of the specifications are more or less standard on each platform. The Snapdragon 855 processor The Surface Duo was introduced in December 2018 for the high-end Android in 2019, while the iPad mini 5 features a 2018 A12 Bionic. The two devices have fingerprint authentication and cameras for video conferencing and a rear one for photography and video (the Duo records in 4K).

Although what really distinguishes the two teams and is obvious (to some extent justifying a price three times higher), is the hinge of the Surface Duo.

Surface Duo: hinge and double screen with the software incognito

At the beginning of last year, the fever for folding phones was unleashed by the hands of Huawei and Samsung. A few months later, Microsoft surprised with its Surface Duo and now deploys more details about the device. One that does not have a folding screen but has a hinge that connects two screens.

Microsoft puts aside its experiments with Windows on small devices and uses Android 10. With the hope that the operating system and ecosystem of Google play take advantage of the possibilities of the Duo. The idea seems more successful than that applied to a smartphone, being a tablet that folds instead of a phone that “opens”.

The problem with the Surface Duo is the same as always in these cases: the support of its own software and, especially, that of third parties

However, as with the Mate X and the Fold, the big unknown is the software. In the video that heads this section, we see how the company interprets that it may be helpful such a device.

a hinged iPad mini and Android 10 with the software as a big unknown

In all the sequences we see, only one of them is shown by entering text. And there we see how the keyboard occupies one of the two screens in full, which is curious in a device that emphasizes so much to use a full app on each screen. At the time of drawing, it does not seem appropriate to do it taking advantage of the displayed screen and that is why Microsoft only shows it in one of them while in the other is Spotify.

a hinged iPad mini and Android 10 with the software as a big unknown

Many Microsoft apps featured in this video require some type of text input. Teams, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, ToDo. A feature like Scribble, which allows you to write in text fields with the Apple Pencil on iPadOS 14, would be a good idea for a tablet like the Duo. And despite this, we do not see any similar function.

If we take for granted a good integration of Redmond apps on the Surface Duo, it remains to be seen how Android apps will behave on it. Too many unanswered questions for a device with a starting price of $ 1,399 and little time to resolve them before its launch on September 10.

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