The Microsoft Floor Duo, Microsoft’s first-ever Android telephone (we’re not counting the Nokia X), was introduced nearly a yr in the past. There have been official photographs and even stay pictures of the dual-screen telephone floating round for a lot of the yr, and Microsoft has simply been quietly creating it. In the present day, the corporate is lastly prepared to speak specs, launch date, and worth. The telephone is up for pre-order now, it ships September 10, and the value—anticipate it—is $1,399.

Earlier than we dig into the small print, a fast spec rundown: the telephone comes with two 5.6-inch, 1800×1350 (4:3), 60Hz OLED panels joined by a 360-degree hinge. A Snapdragon 855 powers the telephone, with 6GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of storage, and a 3577mAh battery. There may be one 11MP digital camera above the proper display screen that doubles because the entrance and rear digital camera, because of the hinge. The system comes with a USB-C port on the underside, a single speaker, a fingerprint reader, Android 10, and assist for Floor pen enter. Gross sales appear to be US-only for now, and moreover being bought unlocked, the telephone can also be on the market at AT&T.

It is considerably thrilling to see Microsoft’s first Android telephone, particularly when it has such a singular type issue and sports activities the corporate’s premium “Floor” model. However $1,400 is some huge cash to ask for this system, particularly when the spec sheet has so many deficiencies in it. I have not tried the telephone but, however I’ve quite a lot of considerations concerning the Floor Duo.

First, the 3577mAh battery is extraordinarily small. A single-screen Galaxy S20 has a 4000mAh battery, and the Extremely model is at 5000mAh. Neither of these telephones is making an attempt to push twin 5.6-inch shows. Shows account for the overwhelming majority of smartphone battery utilization, and there can be no getting round the truth that two of them are going to make use of quite a lot of energy. The Floor Duo is extraordinarily skinny, at simply 4.8mm when open, and simply over double that (9.9mm) when closed. Microsoft positively prioritized thinness over battery life.

Whereas concessions had been made for thinness, it doesn’t look like the Floor Duo can be all that simple to hold round. The complete dimensions are 145.2mm (H)×186.9mm (W)×4.8mm (D) when open, with the telephone folding up into a fully ridiculous, pocket-busting, 93mm width when closed. Display sizes would possibly get larger yearly, however that’s largely because of thinner bezels, taller telephones, and taller screens. The width of smartphones has been surprisingly secure. Simply evaluate 2015’s Galaxy Note5 with a 5.7-inch display screen to one of many largest telephones at present available on the market: the Galaxy Observe20 Extremely, with a 6.9-inch show. The widths aren’t very completely different: 76.1mm on the Note5 in comparison with 77.2mm on the Observe 20 Extremely. One of many causes width would not actually change is that telephones type of have to suit right into a pocket. One of many widest flagship telephones ever was Google’s Nexus 6, at 83mm, and that was instantly deemed too huge by the whole business. The Nexus 6 was uncomfortable to hold round in a pocket and restricted your motion, and no telephone has approached this width since.

The Floor Duo is 10mm wider than the already-too-wide Nexus 6. It’s the widest Android telephone ever by a big margin. And we are saying “telephone” as a result of the Floor Duo just isn’t designed to be a leave-it-at-home pill system. It’s meant to be your main system, and also you’re supposed to hold it round. No dimension is just too massive for somebody who carries a bag, however if you wish to have your main system in your pocket, the Floor Duo would possibly make you stroll humorous.

On the earth of Android, dual-screen units are probably not a brand new product class. Most lately, LG has shipped equipment that flip its flagships into dual-screen units for the previous two years, and whereas the Floor Duo actually seems to be higher, the fundamental type issue considerations are nonetheless right here. One factor I’ve discovered from making an attempt out these units is that typing on a dual-screen telephone could be a problem.

Enlarge / Like different dual-screen units, it doesn’t look like the Floor Duo helps a cut up keyboard. So typing requires you to both shut the telephone or awkwardly hunt-and-peck with one hand.


The entire thought of a touchscreen keyboard is that you just wrap your arms across the sides of the telephone and sort along with your thumbs, however you’ll be able to’t try this with a second display screen in the best way. Tablets and foldables work round this by having a cut up keyboard that places thumb-accessible keyboard halves on the left and proper facet of the display screen. The sophisticated display screen setup has stopped dual-screen Android telephones from having a cut up keyboard up to now, and Microsoft’s personal press photographs solely present the Floor with a traditional, one-screen keyboard awkwardly hanging out on one of many screens. On LG’s telephones, any severe typing requires you to 360-fold the second display screen out of the best way to sort, and having to consistently fold and unfold the telephone to sort is awkward. Having such a barrier to typing has made previous claims of “dual-screen productiveness” ring hole, and it would not look like the Floor Duo is fixing this subject.

There’s additionally lots concerning the spec sheet that simply appears misplaced for a $1,400 telephone in 2020.

  • Microsoft’s newness to the smartphone recreation and the Floor Duo’s extraordinarily lengthy growth cycle imply the telephone is transport with final yr’s Snapdragon 855 as an alternative of this yr’s Snapdragon 865 (although we will not complain about that an excessive amount of).
  • The Floor Duo solely has 60Hz shows, when most telephones releasing this yr are leaping on the high-refresh-rate bandwagon, a uncommon business development that really does considerably enhance the person expertise. Even the foldables are getting there, with the Galaxy Fold 2 transport a 120Hz inside show.
  • 6GB of RAM just isn’t lots for a high-end Android system in 2020, with solely Google transport such a low quantity in a flagship system. Additionally remember the fact that a dual-screen system encourages multi-tasking, so the Floor Duo ought to have larger RAM calls for than your regular smartphone.
  • There isn’t a NFC, so neglect tap-and-pay.
  • The system has a single speaker.
  • It additionally would not have 5G, however nearly nobody ought to care about that at this level.

Fourteen-hundred {dollars} can also be a load of cash to ask for a tool that has at all times appeared like a midway compromise between a single display screen system and a foldable smartphone. A great foldable smartphone could be inherently superior to the Floor Duo design. You’ll get all the identical side-by-side app advantages however with the addition of a extra productive split-screen keyboard and the power to make use of the system like a pill once you need. A foldable could be a big-screen system for watching video, taking part in video games, utilizing a tablet-style app, or looking a desktop webpage. The Floor Duo won’t ever be a very good system for these use instances. To be clear, the system does have a mode that merges the 2 screens into an enormous 8.1-inch show, however it is going to have an enormous hole down the center.

The entire argument for a dual-screen system was that foldables aren’t prepared for prime time, and the Floor Duo was a stopgap between now and the longer term. That appeared cheap a yr in the past when the Duo was first introduced, however now Samsung is gearing as much as ship the second-generation Galaxy Fold 2 with a glass show cowl and a number of different enhancements. The unique Fold, at ~$2,000, was greater than the Floor Duo, however Microsoft actually cannot make a price argument at $1,400.

The excellent news is that, in an announcement to Android Central concerning the lack of NFC, Microsoft appeared to trace that it is simply getting began with the Floor Android line. The corporate referred to as the system a “first-generation design” and stated it should “hearken to buyer suggestions and apply that lens to future iterations of the product.”


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