Microsoft is focused on making a good Surface, not a good phone.
Microsoft’s new Surface Duo smartphone is available now for preorder, and begins shipping to customers in the U.S. starting September 10. It’s a new form factor for Microsoft, bringing together the best of Surface with a new, dual-screen form factor powered by Android. Microsoft calls it a Surface, but it’s also very much a phone.
But don’t expect all the usual phone features on Surface Duo, because they’re not there. Features such as 5G capabilities, wireless charging, and NFC support are all missing from Surface Duo. These are features that most people paying $1,400 for a phone would expect, but you won’t find them on Surface Duo.
NFC is a big deal for people in areas where things like tap and pay are frequently used, so to not have NFC inside the Surface Duo is a big omission especially to those who almost exclusively use their phone for payments. But it’s not just about payments, NFC is sometimes also used for external accessibility accessories and other important uses.
Here’s Microsoft’s official reason for why Surface Duo doesn’t have NFC, and by extension, support for tap and pay:
Surface Duo does not currently offer NFC. The role of any first-generation design is to focus on fundamental scenarios that solve customer challenges. Surface Duo is purpose-built for mobile productivity and giving people new ways to complete complex tasks while away from their computer. With this core priority complete, we will listen to customer feedback and apply that lens to future iterations of the product.
In short, Microsoft says that the first generation of Surface Duo is focused on its fundamentals. The things that make it a great phone aren’t a priority for version one, as the company has focused almost exclusively on making sure the dual-screen form factor is perfect from both a hardware and software perspective. This is also the same reason why Surface Duo doesn’t have a great camera, or other common-place smartphone things.
This first Surface Duo is out to prove that the form factor works. It’s about Microsoft building a great Surface that can fit in your pocket, and not about building the best phone. Microsoft will likely focus more on making sure Surface Duo is a great phone with version two, but for version one, it’s focused on making Duo a good Surface by ensuring it’s a productivity-driven device with unique capabilities that you can only find on the Duo.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s official reasoning for Surface Duo not having top of the line specs and features? Let us know in the comments.
Microsoft Surface Duo
Two screens are better than one.
Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.