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

Surface Duo: a hinged tablet the size of an iPad mini

It’s the Surface Duo: an articulated iPad mini and Android 10 with the software like a big unknown

Duo the surface iPad mini 5
screen Open 8.1 inch 2700 x 1800 pixels (3: 2), 401 dpi; closed 5.6 inches 1800 x 1350 px (4: 3), 401 dpi 7.9 inches 2048 x 1536 (4: 3) at 326 dpi
Weight 250 grams 300 grams
Dimensions Open: 145.2 x 186.9 x 4.8mm; closed: 145.2 x 93.3 x 9.9 mm 134,8 x 203,2 x 6,1 mm
Processor Snapdragon 855 A12 Bionics
Authentication Fingerprint detector Touch ID
Price $ 1,399 (now TVA) 449 euros (446 euros at Amazon)

It is clear that we are faced with two completely different devices. But the similarity in size between the two is striking, given that the Duo’s 8.1-inch deployed they are very similar to the 7.9 inch iPad mini. Of course, the screen ratio is different, with 3: 2 of the first versus 4: 3 of the second.

In terms of weight, the iPad mini exceeds it by 50 grams, which is not bad considering that you could think of both as devices. hold with one hand. What’s striking is that none of them dispense with the frames, leaving a fairly wide stripe on the narrower sides. The frameless design has not yet made 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 high-end Android in 2019, while the iPad mini 5 is equipped with a 2018 A12 Bionic. Both devices have fingerprint authentication and cameras for video conferencing and a rear for photography and video (the Duo records in 4K).

It’s the Surface Duo: an articulated iPad mini and Android 10 with the software like a big unknown

While what really sets the two teams apart and is obvious (to some extent justifying three times the price tag), is the hinge of the Surface Duo.

Surface Duo: hinge and dual screen with software as a mystery

At the start of last year, the foldable phone fever was sparked by Huawei and Samsung. A few months later, Microsoft surprises with its Surface Duo and is now deploying more details about the device. The one who does not have a screen but has a hinge that connects two screens.

Microsoft is putting aside its experiences with Windows on small devices and using Android 10. In the hopes 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, above all, that of third parties.

However, as happened with the Mate X and Fold, the big unknown is the software. In the video that directs this section, we see how the company interprets that this can be useful such a device.

It’s the Surface Duo: an articulated iPad mini and Android 10 with the software like a big unknown

To write on the Surface Duo, you need to do without one of the two apps to occupy with the virtual keyboard.

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 which puts so much emphasis to use a full application 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 displays it in one of them while in the other there is Spotify.

To draw, the hinge interrupts the canvas and the stroke, so it’s best to only do this on one of the two screens.

Many Microsoft applications shown in this video require some form of contribution of text. Teams, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, ToDo. A feature like Scribble, which lets you write in text fields with the Apple Pencil on iPadOS 14, would be a good idea for a tablet like the Duo. And despite that, we don’t see any similar function.

An Overview of Apple Pencil on iPadOS 14: Squiggles, Fancy Shapes, Select and Edit, and a Data Detector

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

It’s the Surface Duo: an articulated iPad mini and Android 10 with the software like a big unknown