KEY POINTS

  • Microsoft has entered the dual-display and foldable smartphone category with the Surface Duo
  • Samsung is also preparing to release the second-gen Galaxy Z Fold 2
  • The two devices are very different in design and function despite being smartphones

Microsoft just launched the new Surface Duo, a dual-display Android smartphone designed for maximum productivity and enjoyment. This device is very much unlike other dual-screen foldable devices in the market, including Samsung's first Galaxy Fold and Motorola's Razr.

The Surface Duo is primarily designed to give users “a new way to get things done,” Microsoft said. It is focused on “mobile productivity,” offers “flexibility to do more,” is meant to let users take advantage of the “best of Microsoft 365, together with Android apps” and comes in an “original design, created by Surface.”

Samsung, on the other hand, also recently announced the new Galaxy Z Fold 2, the successor to the Galaxy Fold. This new device builds upon what the first foldable had. It now has a full-size external display, a notch-less internal display, a new hinge based on what the Galaxy Z Flip had and an upgraded set of cameras at the back of the device.

Here's a quick comparison of the two devices.

Display

The Surface Duo has two displays, both of them accessible when the device is unfolded. Each display measures 5.6 inches diagonally but can be combined to give users 8.1 inches of screen estate. Both are AMOLED panels with 401 pixels per inch. Both are protected by Gorilla Glass. The two displays have a small gap between them but can work as one huge unit.

Surface Duo Microsoft's new dual-display Surface Duo. Photo: Microsoft

The Galaxy Z Fold 2, on the other hand, has a narrow 6.2-inch cover display that allows it to be used as a regular smartphone when folded. Inside, there's a 7.6-inch screen that allows device owners to use it as a tablet when unfolded. Samsung said the inner display is protected by ultrathin glass.

Cameras

The Surface Duo only has one so-called 11MP “adaptive camera.” Microsoft said it is capable of recording 4K and 1080p videos, both at 30 fps and 60 fps. This camera offers portrait mode, panorama mode and burst mode. It also has “super resolution zoom” and “super zoom up to 7x.”

Samsung hasn't said anything about the Galaxy Z Fold 2's camera setup, but it's worth noting that the rear camera looks like the one on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The device also has a front-facing camera nestled inside a punch hole at the top of the inner display.

Other features

Samsung hasn't revealed much about the Galaxy Z Fold 2. It did, however, promise to reveal more on Sept. 1, CNet reported. Until then, fans won't have anything to go by expect rumors and teasers.

Microsoft, on the other hand, revealed that the Surface Duo is a powerful productivity device that lets users work on two apps at the same time and browse two different websites at the same time.

It also allows people to draw with the Surface Pen, play via xCloud, fold to prop up and watch videos, type easier, read in the same way they read from a book, browse and take calls.

Samsung hasn't revealed the Galaxy Z Fold 2's price at the moment, but since the first model cost about $1,980, it's safe to assume it will be priced around this rate as well.

Microsoft, on the other hand, said the Surface Duo will retail for $1,399 for the 128GB model and $1,499 for the 256GB model.