The Surface Duo Review

So here in the UK we are still patiently awaiting for Microsoft’s official release date of the Surface Duo. Of course, I couldn’t wait any longer as those of you who follow me will be aware of my upcoming brand Bobbi | London™ where I’m working on developing a collection of Corporate Bags & Tech Accessories so I needed to get hold of a Microsoft Surface Duo to ensure my products are tailored for the device. So I have manged to get hold of my Surface Duo from the US via Big Apple Buddy. Yes, there was a total premium to pay: £1199.93 for the Microsoft Surface Duo including device and concierge fees and a further £231.44 towards UK customs fees, but the Surface Duo did not disappoint.

It arrived ahead of schedule, so I was rather excited to receive my Surface Duo. I may have also performed a small victory dance as soon as the couriers left. Had a busy schedule during the day so I didn’t get a chance to unbox until I was on route a couple of hours of a journey in the evening. Needless to say, by the end of the journey I had a configured Surface Duo with all my accounts, restored & accessible.

Unboxing the Duo was a pleasure, clean lines hassle free packaging as always from the Microsoft Surface team. The Duo itself was surprisingly thinner (in its closed form) than my Samsung S9 that I transitioning from, and lighter to hold. The device resolution is rather crisp.

I removed one of the sim cards from my S9 (as it is a dual sim phone there were two) enabled my mobile teething hot-spot, and I was ready to go. After inserting my sim and powering on the Surface Duo, I was waiting with baited breath to see if there would be a UK regional setting. And phew! there was the United Kingdom option to select, so after a few clicks I was done. There was an update around 250MB which needed to be downloaded and installed using WiFi not mobile data, before you are granted access to the home screen. As I was on the move in a car I was lucky to be able to have managed to pick up a decent signal via my S9’s tethered hot-spot to download the update. It took a little longer than if I had been at home running the setup over WiFi. (what can I say, at times my commute is the only down time I get)

It took me a moment to get used to the gestures to open / close, navigate the apps, and snapping to either screens or dual screens, however you soon get the hang of it and it becomes second nature. It was refreshing to see the Microsoft Launcher applied as default, with all the familiarity of the Glance Page on your left swipe, Home pages on your right with a vertical scroll of all of the remaining apps.

The synchronisation of my apps from the play store happened seamlessly in the background as soon as I logged into the Google Play Store App. My recent call logs and messages were also restored. Leaving me to sign into my  account to restore my contacts, authenticator app, M365 suite etc. and I was back online.

  • The sim card tray has been thoughtfully placed as in comparison to my S9 I now have a stronger 4G signal indoors. For those of you concerned about banding issues. No problems there, as long as you order an unlocked version of the device. 4G LTE has no issues.
  • Single Front facing camera, but I’m getting the hang of simple folding the device over to use as a camera, scan QR codes or documents to OneDrive.
  • The microphone picks up the sound of even a clicking mouse in the room.
  • With Bluetooth 5.0 capability and aptX codec the sound quality is pretty impressive.
  • Some apps are little glitchy so be ensure to run updates for them to load smoothly. I usually schedule a nightly restart on my devices (need to locate the setting)
  • No NFC capability, having said that I have a smart watch which I use for contactless payments (that I am yet to configure)
  • No Qi charging capability but I’m not finding the plugging in a cable too much of a hinderance.
  • No Dual sim capability.

These missing features have been historically prevalent in the top end models of Windows Phones, the dual sim feature is a real miss for me, which I look forward to seeing in the future model(s).

Overall, I see this device as an extension to my Surface Pro with an added benefit of a handheld so the benefits and mobility of this device for me personally, far outweighs the missing capability.

So I totally forgot to carry my US Travel Adapter at the weekend in order to charge this device.

Thankfully I was carrying one of my products from my debut collection: The Bobbi | London™ Slimline Fast-Charging UK Travel Plug came to my rescue to charge my Surface Duo over the weekend via it’s USB Type-C ports.

The Slimline Fast-Charging UK Travel Plug is now officially available for purchase via the Bobbi | London™ store.

Less then 24hrs and its been an absolute pleasure to use the Surface Duo while writing this blog post, a beautifully designed piece of kit. I love using a wider screen again on a mobile device as my Samsung S9 took me quite some time to get used to its narrow screen. The battery has been great and a single charge has lasted me all day into the early hours of the following morning, there is a nifty little feature providing you a precise time you can expect the charge to last, yet I found in my experience the device exceeded that time by a couple of hours.

My husband, siblings & parents are all heavily invested in the Apple users, yet they have all commended Microsoft for this device being designed so elegantly. They have even gone as far as saying if it wasn’t for them being so dependent in the Apple eco-system they would buy one.

“This is the device of the Year 2020, any new upcoming phone including the expected Apple iPhone 12 won’t be able to beat it!”

Quoted: Rishi Bajaj, Apple User.

A breath of fresh air to hear for me, as you can imagine I’ve been the sole advocate of Microsoft technologies in my household for around 15 years or so.

As a closing note, I’m looking forward to being more productive via my Surface Duo. After stepping away from my home office (where I have my Surface Pro connected to 3 monitors) and retiring to the couch for the evening. When you run a couple of businesses it never stops. The Surface Duo will alow me to have my downtime and be produtive at the same time.


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