Surface Duo fans: never heard of split-screen view?

Okay, for all the fans of the Microsoft Surface Duo: have none of you ever heard of “split-screen view” in Android 9.0 (“Pie”) or later?

Here’s Excel and Word running side-by-side on my Android phone: sure, you’d not want to use them at that size, but if you did the same-thing an Android tablet with a large, high-resolution screen, then I am curious what a Duo would accomplice for you that using this mode (on a far-cheaper tablet) wouldn’t?

Conversation 10 comments

  • wunderbar

    Premium Member
    12 February, 2021 - 1:18 pm

    <p>You kind of made the point when you said "<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">sure, you’d not want to use them at that size"</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The appeal of the product is that you can use it as a single screen when you want, but then also get a second screen that's the same size, not cutting the existing screen in half.</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">whether the Surface Duo is the right product, or made the right compromises to get to the product it is is up for debate. For the record, I don't think the Surface Duo is a great product, but the utility of the two screen approach is what makes it compelling for those who like/want/use it. The answer is literally "two apps at the same time with a usable display"</span></p>

    • dftf

      12 February, 2021 - 2:11 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#612989">In reply to wunderbar:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes… but I did say "if you did the same-thing [on] an Android tablet". (On a phone, you'd not want to be editing documents full-stop: but it's the only Android device I have to take the screenshot on.)</p><p><br></p><p>So my point was: you could buy a much-cheaper Android tablet, with a large, high-res display, along with a decent stand-case, and a portable Bluetooth keyboard, then use "split-screen view" to accomplice the same-thing as the Duo AND spend way-less money. Your only issue would be that some apps don't support split-screen view — but all of Microsoft and Google's main ones do, and all web-browsers I've ever tested. So for the audience the Duo is aimed at, virtually all of their apps should.</p>

      • remc86007

        12 February, 2021 - 2:21 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#613009">In reply to dftf:</a></em></blockquote><p>The problem is that that Android tablet wouldn't fit in your pocket like the Surface Duo does. That is the real advantage.</p>

        • dftf

          12 February, 2021 - 3:09 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#613013">In reply to remc86007:</a></em></blockquote><p>I'm sure you could find a tablet that is the same area as the Surface Duo when-folded (i.e. a tablet the same area as one of the Duo's screens).</p><p><br></p><p>And then if you use the Duo in "laptop style layout" (document on one screen, full-size keyboard on the other) then I see no-difference between a Duo and a tablet paired with a Bluetooth keyboard.</p><p><br></p><p>Okay, it's one extra thing to carry… but for how-much cheaper they'd both come to, is the Duo really worth that? (Plus: how-many people with a Duo can faithfully say they type only on it, and never pair it with an external, physical keyboard?)</p>

      • wunderbar

        Premium Member
        12 February, 2021 - 2:22 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#613009">In reply to dftf:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>You continue to prove your own point with the "buy this, and then this other thing, and then this other thing, and then this other thing" to replace the functionality.</p><p><br></p><p>Don't get me wrong, I'm not going out and dropping $1800 Canadian dollars on the Duo when it comes to Canada. but I definitely see the use case. If it had a capable camera the $999 USD price would be tempting.</p>

        • darkgrayknight

          Premium Member
          12 February, 2021 - 2:37 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#613014">In reply to wunderbar:</a></em></blockquote><p>I really like the idea of it (and if it had started at 999, I probably would have been more likely to buy it). I'll wait until the next version, but this would be closer to what I want: one device to handle most tasks I need to do until I am back at a developer machine.</p>

        • dftf

          12 February, 2021 - 3:12 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#613014">In reply to wunderbar:</a></em></blockquote><p>Not really… most people who have a phone or tablet buy a case for it, and the style where they fold-over (that open like a book) are very-common. So that's your stand already covered.</p><p><br></p><p>And if you're going to be editing documents on-the-go, are you really going to be doing all your typing on the Duo on-screen, or pair with a Bluetooth keyboard?</p><p><br></p><p>For those who'd do the latter, then why not just get a cheaper tablet, and use "split-screen" like I've suggested?</p><p><br></p><p>The Duo only seems useful if (1) you definitely do not want to carry a separate keyboard or (2) you're happy to do all your typing purely on-screen</p>

  • rob_segal

    Premium Member
    12 February, 2021 - 3:25 pm

    <p>You may not want to use split-screen view in landscape mode on a phone or carry around an android tablet in your pocket, but running two apps side-by-side on the few occasions you need to could be better on a Galaxy Fold. I haven't used either a Surface Duo or Galaxy Fold, so I'm not going to say one works better than the other in this case, but the Galaxy Fold has advantages over the Duo (outside-facing screen, better camera system, not as wide when folded).</p>

  • dftf

    12 February, 2021 - 4:33 pm

    <p>Okay, reading comments here (and on other sites), maybe it might be worth looking at each specific use-case:</p><p><br></p><p><em>(1) Using the device's two screens to have two full-sized apps side-by-side:</em> sure, to replicate this on a tablet with split-screen you'd need a bigger-size tablet if you wanted both apps to be the same size as they'd be on each <em>Duo </em>screen. But given the massive price-difference, I'm sure many would be happier to either compromise, or carry a larger-screen tablet…</p><p><br></p><p><em>(2) Folding the device to mimic a laptop; use one screen for one full-screen, landscape app, then use a full-screen keyboard on the screen laid flat: </em>in this case, surely it would be better to just buy use a tablet with stand alongside a Bluetooth keyboard? It'd work-out way cheaper, and I can't imagine anyone who needed to regularly type long-documents on a <em>Duo </em>would do-so exclusively on-screen, rather than pairing an external keyboard. And you could consider a Chromebook: they run Android apps now.</p><p><br></p><p><em>(3) The great hinge on the device means it makes a great portable TV / gaming-device: </em>any use of the device that involves using only one screen seems utterly pointless to me — that's the entire USP! Just use a tablet with a stand.</p><p><br></p><p><em>(4) It may become like a future Nintendo DS for gaming — imagine a FPS with the action on one screen, and your stats or a map on the second: </em>no… developers aren't going to code features like this when most devices will remain single-screen. And has Apple made any mention of any future iOS devices going dual-screen? Yeah, no… sorry.</p><p><br></p><p><em>(5) I prefer reading on it, as it's like a book — one page on each screen: </em>you've got to be kidding me! And I hope you're not using an app that actually makes the pages turn when you fold and unfold the device or that hinge will be wearing out fast!</p><p><br></p><p>I look-forward to eating-my-words in say 3-5 years when dual-screen Android devices do take off! ;)</p>

  • helf

    11 January, 2022 - 2:01 pm

    <p>As a MS Surface Duo 1 owner I can honestly say that this is my all time favorite Android device and in my top 5 for mobile devices that I have owned. HOWEVER, I would *not* recommend it to 99.9% of people I know. It is a terrible "phone". But it is a fantastic multitasking machine for me.</p><p><br></p><p>Two monitors is almost *always* less of a PITA to manage than one wide one and having to hand hold the window manager in tiling or freeform window management. </p><p><br></p><p>Split screen is great… if you have no other options. It sucks horribly on most phones due to screen sizes and resolutions. It is awful and totally incomparable to two panels when you are trying to input using the onscreen keyboard and still be able to see another app’s screen. If you are using an external keyboard, then, sure, it works OK.</p><p><br></p><p>Also, switching between apps on the two panels works way more reliably than trying to switch out *one* app in regular split screen.</p><p><br></p><p>I use mine heavily and constantly have multiple documents on one screen while I have a heavily used SSH session or 5 on the other.. it’s just a joy to use vs a regular android phone or tablet. </p><p><br></p><p>In short, managing two panels is a LOT easier than trying to manage a poorly bolted on afterthought that is split screen tiling in Android. </p>

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