Microsoft Floor Duo Fingers-on Assessment: Home windows Cellphone Is (Kinda) Again

Microsoft Floor Duo hands-on assessment: Lastly, a Floor telephone

“The Floor Duo is bringing Microsoft again to smartphones, and I am prepared for it.”

Nice dual-screen design

Modern, elegant look

Quick Qualcomm processor


Will not launch till late 2020

Keep in mind Home windows Cellphone? Yeah, certain you do. A pricey effort to catch as much as a market that had already crushed it, Home windows Cellphone was a flop. And if you happen to can’t beat ‘em, be a part of ‘em – which is why Microsoft simply introduced the Floor Duo, a dual-screen, Android-powered telephone that appears each bit just like the folding telephone you’ve been dying for.

Microsoft shocked the world by displaying off the gadget through the annual Floor October 2019 occasion in New York Metropolis, the place journalists anticipated to see new merchandise – the Floor Buds – and updates to current laptop computer traces, together with the brand new Floor Professional 7 and the Floor Professional X. We’d even heard rumors dual-screen PC was coming, which Microsoft delivered with the Floor Neo. (Heck, simply learn our roundup of all the pieces Microsoft introduced on the Floor occasion.)

Nobody imagined there might be a brand new Microsoft telephone. But right here it’s.

The Floor Duo is basically two 5.6-inch joined by a 360-degree hinge that’s hidden behind a sophisticated slip of steel a mere four.eight millimeters thick. Other than a quantity button and an influence button, skinny strips that sit on the left aspect of the gadget, the Duo is unmarred by lower outs, bumps, or different modules that give reviewers and clients suits. The multi-camera hump on the again of the brand new iPhone 11 Professional? There’s nothing like that right here.

I spent a while with the Duo, folding and unfolding it. The motion was easy.

I spent a while with the Duo, folding and unfolding it. The motion was easy. The Duo feels hefty, very like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. That’s to be anticipated. These gadgets are two telephones in a single, so there’s some additional weight. It didn’t really feel unwieldy, nevertheless, or so heavy that it could develop tiresome within the hand.

The prototype was powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, the newest smartphone chip from the silicon large, however you may count on a bump earlier than Microsoft releases these merchandise subsequent 12 months in time for the 2020 vacation season. There was no discuss of 5G, the subsequent era community that’s all the fashion within the mobile world. That’s to not say that Microsoft gained’t bundle it in, or promote a mannequin with one, however they didn’t point out it someway and declined to reply questions on 5G.

microsoft surface duo review surfaceduo handson pressMicrosoft

The software program wasn’t engaged on the mannequin I used to be allowed to make use of, however a Microsoft consultant confirmed off a few of the energy of the gadget, and it’s spectacular. Too typically, we’re held again by the truth that we now have a single display screen with out even realizing it. Think about Outlook. Not a day goes by once I don’t flip backwards and forwards between calendar and mail to verify whether or not I can take a gathering, or verify the time of an appointment. I noticed the Floor Neo open a calendar on one display screen and a mail on the opposite, and was confounded by why nobody has executed this earlier than. Why aren’t all of our laptops twin display screen?

To open an app into each screens, merely drag it onto the hinge. Some apps will naturally increase in a logical means – electronic mail inbox at left, the message you’re studying at proper. Others would require builders to make use of new APIs Microsoft is releasing along side Google to allow assist for the gadget. However the energy is clear. Image the Flipboard app really flipping pages throughout screens. Image the Kindle app as a e book. Image your self dragging and dropping an Excel graph right into a Phrase doc – properly, okay, you most likely wouldn’t do this in your telephone, however you would.

Whereas this can be a Home windows telephone, it’s not a Home windows Cellphone. Microsoft is partnering with Google to carry a model of Android to the Floor Duo. It’s an attention-grabbing, sudden collaboration that raises many questions, and Microsoft has few particulars to share. It’s clear — provided that the software program on the unit I examined wasn’t even purposeful — that this concept remains to be in its early levels.

The Floor Neo is a prototype at current, an illustration of what the longer term would possibly seem like. Nevertheless it’s tantalizing, and builds off the “foldable telephone” idea in intriguing methods. The wedding of software program and is what makes a tool like this shine, and that’s the place Microsoft excels.

Home windows Cellphone 2020? Yep, that sounds a-okay.

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