back to article We have bad news for non-US Microsoft fans: The incoming Surface Duo is underspecced, overpriced, and over there

Microsoft has followed the Surface Duo price and ship date with some detailed specs that will leave all but the company's most determined fans struggling to say much more than: "Is that it?" Those that hoped for something powerful under the hood are to be disappointed: The Snapdragon 855 at the heart of the Duo is… fine, but …

  1. Paradroid

    Battery capacity for starters

    3,577mAh powering a high end processor and TWO screens. Can't see this ending well.

    1. Phil Kingston

      Re: Battery capacity for starters

      I reckon a couple of extra mm thickness and ram a bigger battery in might have been a better option. Claimed 27 hour battery life, so probably 12 in real world. Yeah, nah, i'll pass.

      1. Paradroid

        Re: Battery capacity for starters

        The size of the battery had me thinking only one part of the device contains a battery. I've done some digging and Pocket Lint say there are two batteries, which makes it surprising they couldn't fit in more capacity. Guess they made it very thin because it doubles up in thickness when closed and pocketed.

    2. SuperGeek

      Re: Battery capacity for starters

      My UMIDIGI Power 3 phone has a 6150mAh battery in it, and that was only £144 off Amazon. Cracking phone too, running AOSP with no bloat!

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    Why do Microsoft do hardware? Whenever they do it, it invariably ends badly.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      They did nice mice.

      But $199 for earbuds that run flat and inherently have more distortion than decent $15 wired ear buds?

      My entire 6" phone cost lest than that, and is pre-pay talk/data and unlocked for free after a year.


      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        Their ergonomic keyboard was pretty legendary, too, IIRC.

        1. Synkronicity

          Re: Why?

          Both their 360 and X1 controllers are also fantastic and hold up remarkably well years later, especially in comparison to Sony's controllers. It's weird that Microsoft can't seem to deliver anywhere near that level of reliability with their $200 Elite line of controllers, which basically fall apart after a few months.

        2. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Why?

          I'm typing this on one of their Internet Pro keyboards - non ergo, but with all the necessary media/browser keys, both USB and PS/2 connectors, and a (USB1, unpowered) hub built in. Still ticking along nicely with nary a fault after about 20 years. And I hold their mice - most of them - in pretty high regard. Credit where it's due.

          Nothing will change my opinion that their software's shite, however.

          1. Claverhouse Silver badge

            Re: Why?

            I always thought Microsoft should have switched over to hardware, where they had their strengths, and left the OSes to people who knew what they were doing.

        3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          You mean legendary as in the printing on the key caps starts to fall off within a couple of weeks of use? For such an expensive keyboard to do this compared to under £10 keyboards or those from OEMs such as HP or Dell where the printing is still OK after 10 years? Just not acceptable. The mechanical side is solid enough and keeps on running, but every one that I've seen has had to be replaced due to the key caps, that and because of the design of the thing (unavoidable) being incredibly dirty too.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Why?

            I used the original Natural keyboard for 7 years, none of the key caps fell off.

            I replaced them with Natural Multimedia keyboards in the early 2000s and threw them out last year, all keycaps were still intact, even if a few were worn smooth.

            I also have 2 Natural Ergonomic 3000s, no problems on either. Same for my Surface Ergonomic and the Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard. I recently upgraded that to the current Ergonomic keyboard released at the end of last year.

            All have between hundreds and thousands of hours of typing behind them and none of them have lost key caps.

          2. steviebuk Silver badge

            Re: Why?

            Depends which ones and who's using them. I've dell stock Dell keyboards rub off real easy because they aren't laser etched. And the person using them had long nails and insisted on typing with the tips of her nails. This was on a Dell laptop keyboard.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      I'm wondering why Microsoft can write an operating system for phones but can't sell it.

      You'd think after all these years they would know how to sell an OS.

      1. PerlyKing Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        At the risk of taking obvious bait, maybe it indicates that their OS doesn't sell on its merits?

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        That is the problem, they can sell an OS, but the alternative was Google Android, which was "given away", it only cost you your soul*.

        * well, at least the right to track your soul throughout eternity.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          That sounds a lot like Internet Explorer

    3. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      No clear clue as to why they don't even try to compete. I once had a MS ergonomic keyboard, PS\2, and it was quite nice. That was 20 years ago!

    4. hitmouse

      Re: Why?

      At one point Microsoft had more hardware designers than the top 10 OEM PC makers put together. To a degree it's providing a kick in the pants to hardware companies that are not innnovating and/or are dying slowly by only selling low-margin grey boxes.

    5. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      Maybe computers, but they've always done solid peripherals - joysticks, controllers, mice, keyboards; even steering wheels. They don't made such a wide range any longer, but they did make some quality items.

    6. jonathan keith

      Re: Why?

      Their Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 joystick is absolutely first class. Mine is still going strong after twenty two years.

  3. Nunyabiznes

    irritated customer base

    Why would anyone be irritated by not being able to buy this? Seems like you should be happy that valuable retail shelf space isn't being taken up by overpriced tat.

    It seems like MS has its thumb out trying to hitch hike while standing on the train tracks, as far as mobile goes.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: irritated customer base

      Dressed as a tramp and not even bothering to thumb?

  4. Rich 2 Silver badge

    MS **STILL** Making phones???

    I thought they’d finally thrown the towel in on that particular fiasco years ago.

    Some people never learn.....

    1. Updraft102

      Re: MS **STILL** Making phones???

      This new, "innovative" Microsoft is just copying every idea it sees. The whole Surface lineup is trying to capture Apple's "luxury goods" magic, and its Microsoft store is a pretty close copy of the App store or the Play store walled gardens (though the Play store walled garden has a gate). They've achieved 90% of the market for traditional PCs, so you'd think they'd realize they know how to do "Windows," but they keep trying to copy everyone else. They even copied Ubuntu's twice a year release schedule and nomenclature (they just removed the hyphen to make things less clear), though they missed the LTS bit. They're not innovating... they're demonstrating a corporate example of "monkey see, monkey do."

      1. hitmouse

        Re: MS **STILL** Making phones???

        I call BS. Jobs tried to poison the well with Tablets because Microsoft beat him to it. Mr Calligraphy was forced to tell the world that no one wants a stylus. Apple basically had to wait for Jobs to die to start doing an Apple Pen etc.

        The Surface came out of frustration with OEMs making grey boxes and mobile grey boxes. Far from copying everyone else, Apple, Google , Amazon etc are full of ex Microsoft people doing stuff that was initially done inside Microsoft.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: MS **STILL** Making phones???

          Kind of true in some ways. I once used a touchscreen (stylus only) slab PC running XP tablet edition. Other than being entirely setup for mouse and keyboard, and while the extra applications that came with the XP tablet edition tried to help with this through the improved, but still awful, on screen keyboard and the handwriting input, the rest of the OS was mouse and keyboard only. Mostly mouse only of course.

          Many years later the relaunch of a less capable device was touted as the first of its kind. Hmmm.

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: MS **STILL** Making phones???

          Tablets with a stylus are a niche for Apple, a single digit percentage of iPad Pro buyers get the stylus.

          Apple showed Microsoft what people really wanted in a tablet, after Microsoft had failed three times over a decade and a half to create a tablet market. You can't give Microsoft credit for being "first" with making a tablet based on their failed efforts and canceled products. That would be like giving GM credit for creating the modern electric car market in 1996, despite the EV-1 being killed in 1999 and GM ignoring electric cars for nearly 20 years after.

      2. Getmo

        Re: MS **STILL** Making phones???

        The $200 wireless headphones is a dead giveaway here that that's exactly what's going on. I believe that's the same price point Apple sells the Airpods at, which after release just a few months later Google announced theirs at the exact same price.

        Of course, it was no coincidence that was the same year both companies removed headphone jacks from their mobile offerings. Even though it's a scammy move, still a pretty good marketing decision.

        This just seems like Microsoft's a day late and a dollar short to the party. Anybody who bought into the overpriced earbuds that do the exact same thing as a $15 wired pair but worse in literally every way, probably already own them. And if they're going to buy more, they're probably going to buy into their brand. How many suckers does MS think are still out there who will buy this crap?

        1. logicalextreme

          Re: MS **STILL** Making phones???

          And assuming it's the usual $200 = £200, that'd be the same price as those popular Sony ones sell for too. Which means that they've all gone and matched the price point that I've told myself I'll be prepared to buy some wireless earbuds at once it's halved.

  5. RM Myers

    "irritating its non-US fanbase" by not offering them the phone

    Given the price and specs, I fail to see why this would irritate anyone outside the US. For US residents, yes this is irritating. Are they trying to out-Apple Apple?

    1. hitmouse

      Re: "irritating its non-US fanbase" by not offering them the phone

      There are hundreds of consumer IT hardware products that you can't get outside of the US except by personal import, and even then you'll be faced with electrical adaptor and warranty issues. This is not news.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: "irritating its non-US fanbase" by not offering them the phone

        It's probably also because being cheap they employed US-only designers therefore the mechanical and electrical design only permits usage in the US. There's a reason that so many devices are available in the US and "rest of world" variants. The US devices typically have to use US only radio circuitry which I understand is more expensive compared to equivalent for the rest of the world (probably patent and scale of production related) and any cost savings they can make at the same time to counter this are often taken. As a result the US variant of a mobile device is often slightly less well specificed than the rest of the world variant, or slightly more expensive, but this can be hidden in exchange rates.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      We have GOOD news for non-US Microsoft fans: The incoming Surface Duo is underspecced, overpriced, and over there


      Suspect ElReg headline writers were trying to be ironic, but failed...

  6. Snowy Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Sounds like good news to me

    Great we are not getting the under specced, overpriced hardware over here sounds fine to me!!

  7. Andy Tunnah

    Even the most hardy fanboys won't want this.

    That isn't even midrange spec, that is some entry level hardware there. And combined with that price, you'd have to be short in the head to go for it.

    What a joke.

  8. Danny 5


    Does anyone in their right mind still want a Microsoft mobile device? After what they did to the beautiful Lumia series? I recently put the hammer to my old Lumia 950. I needed it as a backup, but once that was no longer the case, I did what I set out to do the moment I replaced it, I utterly destroyed the piece of #%^@$@% (it's a shame we can't post pictures here, it was quite a show! the battery exploded, filling the area with a cloud of white smoke).

    Microsoft have proven themselves incapable of creating a good value mobile device, anyone still buying them is delusional.

    1. logicalextreme

      Re: Ha!

      I feel like being able to vent your frustration by breaking a Microsoft-branded device in two probably carries a catharsis you just don't get with Samsung or Logitech.

    2. Jay 2

      Re: Ha!

      Indeed. I'm sure enough people have been burnt by the multiple attempts by Microsoft to do a phone/phone OS. As other commenters have said, it's just MS playing "me too!".

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Hey Satnad!

    Please keep this device to yourselves. It is as has been said, over priced, underspec'd and basically shite when compared to what is out there.

    I will admit that there might be a few small niches where this is perfect but the SOC is positively ancient and the battery capaicty stinks.

    Just take a look at the latest Lexus ux-300e

    It's design is from 2015 (and that is being kind)

    Using CHAdeMO is DOA when Europe has gone CCS. Where are the 350kWh CHAdeMO chargers? {cue sagebrush blowing in the wind}

    The on board charger is 2013 tech level.




    I see much of the same with this device. If it had been released in late 2018 or early 2019 then maybe but in the second half of 2020 and USA only???

    Memories of the Zune come flooding back.

  10. Big_Boomer

    Phone meh!

    Almost all of us have one, they all look nearly identical, they do what you need them to do. I get that new ones need to come out fairly regularly, but just how many £1000+ phones are they selling? Are that many people really paying £60 per month on 24 month contracts just so they can tell their friends that they have the latest Hoodat Universe 14X with more processing power than all of NASA and a camera that can fill TakTek with 8k 120fps drivel? Meh!!!! There has been nothing new in smartphones since forever it seems. Everyone is talking up 5G but it's just a small speed increase,.... if you can get it.

  11. ArchieTheAlbatross


    So, this device whilst not exactly crap, is distinctly underwhelming.

    It is very expensive for what it is.

    It is not available outside of the USA.

    How is this a bad thing?

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Question

      It does have one redeeming feature of it's direct competitors in folding format:

      The screen looks to be in two separate pieces from the start, none of this "foldable" stuff so there is a chance that it will keep working for longer.

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