Surface Duo Drops to $999, Heads to the UK

Posted on February 11, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Microsoft Surface, Mobile with 35 Comments

Microsoft reduced the price of the Surface Duo from $1399.99 to $999.99 this past week, and it will start selling the device in the UK on February 18. (UPDATE: And in Canada, France, and Germany.)

The Duo’s first price cut puts it in much more affordable territory, though given the poor reviews, you might want to wait a bit longer. Granted, it’s natural to wonder whether the Duo’s two displays limit how much Microsoft can cut the price. But a $400 cut is a $400 cut, and this device could start to get interesting if it ever hits the $700-$800 range.

Regarding the UK launch, Microsoft announced in mid-December that it would finally bring Duo to countries other than the United States in 2021. “In early 2021, we’ll be offering Surface Duo in Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany,” Microsoft wrote at the time, providing links to be notified when exact dates were available.

Well, the UK notification just hit paydirt: It’s happening in one week, on February 18.

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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Surface Duo Drops to $999, Heads to the UK”

  1. sherlockholmes

    But im not going to buy it. Too expensive and outdated hardware.

  2. ponsaelius

    Microsoft and mobile hardware.

    Too many people have the scars of Windowsphone to sign up to this one.

  3. openmisere

    I wish it was available in Australia. I've been waiting for it to be released here.

  4. Usman

    It's now 2 snapdragon generations behind. It's not worth it unless it's on a fire sale

  5. jonahemery

    Interestingly the price drop isn’t happening in Canada. They are actually going to try to sell it at $1899 CA. Good luck with that Microsoft, you should sell like 10 of them from some very dumb fanboys.

  6. diono

    I've had the Duo since launch and it is hands down the best phone I've ever had. I cannot understand the hate this device gets. Having two apps open at once is amazing. Having Two browsers, or a map, or whats app open while doing something else is game changing.

    • dftf

      In reply to diono:

      I wouldn't say "hate", but £1349 is a lot of money just for the benefits of (1) having two documents open side-by-side, rather than having to switch between them, as you would on any-other Android tablet or phone; or, (2) have one document open in landscape orientation on one screen, and on the other a full-screen, landscape keyboard that's easier to type-on, but still not as-great as using a physical keyboard.

      Whereas, for a cheaper price, you could just get an Android tablet, along with a decent stand and Bluetooth keyboard (and even a mouse, too!); put the tablet in landscape orientation, and then use Android's "split-screen" mode to have two apps side-by-side...

    • Greg Green

      In reply to diono:

      I don’t think it’s hate, it’s just being ignored because it’s expensive. And so far there’s nothing for the average tweeter, you tuber or other ‘influencer’ that really needs two screens. That’s economic not hate.

  7. ngc224

    I can kind of understand Microsoft finally releasing the Surface Duo in a limited way, knowing it was going to be a disaster. What I don’t understand, is releasing it into even more markets.

    They’re clearly betting big on what’s to come next with a pocketable Surface.

  8. LouS

    I'm on Verizon, does it even work on their network? How well? By the time it its $700 they'll have announced the Duo 2, wondering if I should just wait. LOL

    I'd love to give this a try, but $1k is still a lot of $ for something that has marginal (at best) reviews. I can always go back to my paid off Pixel 3XL if I don't like it, other than declining battery life and a lousy microphone it still works. And it gets OS updates monthly. Isn't the Duo still a major OS revision behind?

  9. dftf

    I get mixed-feelings about the Duo.

    Currently, I have no real-need to run multiple Android apps side-by-side. If I just want to, say, browse the web while having a YouTube video play, I use the "split-screen" mode to do this, so I can't see any personal need for the Duo. (Sure, many apps don't support Android's split-screen view: but not-enough for me to justify needing a dual-screen device).

    The only real use-case I can see is "I need to edit documents when travelling, and will have the document I'm typing on one screen, and then a reference website or document on the other. The larger screens are better for this, and I prefer not having a single-screen Android phone or tablet and having to constantly switch apps".

    And I think this is a limited use-case. (1) Given the current pandemic, how many people are regularly travelling now anyway? (2) How many people want to do long edits purely via an on-screen keyboard? Sure, you could carry a keyboard and mouse with you to pair, but then, why not just get a slim Chromebook, which will be cheaper, and current versions of ChromeOS can run Android apps, I understand. And (3) if you'll rarely be travelling, something like Samsung Dex would offer a cheaper solution, or for supported devices, the "Your Phone" app will let you run multiple Android apps side-by-side on your Windows 10 laptop or PC.

    Maybe if a future Duo 2 allowed you to detach a screen, and essentially then turn it into two independent tablets, so two people could do different things, then when you snap them back together it returns to the original session, it might offer something unique. But for now I just wonder how-many people can live purely on Android, need to regularly have two apps running side-by-side, are travelling frequently and are happy to do most of their editing purely via the on-screen keyboard...

  10. sevenacids

    It's also heading to Germany the same day. Starting at 1549 € (including VAT), which is about $1870. What a joke.

  11. pecosbob04

    Ooops, the forum seems to have hiccuped and swallowed my recent comment referring to the Duo's failure as evidenced by the 29% fire sale recently announced by Microsoft (cf. original iPhone). I wonder what happened?

  12. MacLiam

    I am still interested in the concept, but the underpowered original has no appeal to me as a device at almost any price. I'm hoping the current price reduction means they are cleaning out retained overproduction before announcing a more impressive second-gen model for at least the US in the next few months. If the Duo2 doesn't appear, that's a pretty clear indication this product line is headed the way of the Phone, the Band, several applications...

  13. stevem

    Starting from £1,349.00 almost twice the price of what it costs in the USA with todays exchange rate!!!!!!

  14. matsan

    Still burned by my first gen Surface experience were we got it in Sweden 3 months before it got end of life. To all Canadians, Germans and French people out there - bon voyage!

  15. rmlounsbury

    This is an interesting development and the price drop combined with what I can sell my Note 10 drops my actual purchase price to ~$599 which I'd be fine with. My Note 10 is already running the same chip set and I have no performance issues so I'm not immediately concerned about performance on the Duo.

    My bigger concern with the Duo is that it seems Microsoft is still figuring out the software update cycle. Microsoft didn't get the Dec + Jan security updates out until February and there is no clear date as to when we will actually see Android 11 hit the device (and I believe it should also get Android 12 next year). It seems as though we will get a Duo 2 and the product isn't going away anytime soon but I do have some concerns on how much effort MS puts behind the software.

    Either way, I'm still very intrigued by the Duo and if I end up being able to pick this up with any other discount it ticks to no brain territory for me.

  16. snow.steve22

    My question is: has anybody stuck with the Duo long enough to be able to comment on whether updates have taken the rough edges off this device and made it semi-reliable or is it still in the buggy state in which it was released. This would go a long way to deciding whether this is something to attatch yourself to or just money down the drain on a yet another dead-end product.

  17. will

    Even with the price drop, I do not see this helping this device take off. I have used one in the store and have not found a case for it being any better than a cell phone or tablet.

  18. chaad_losan

    This "phone" was always a solution looking for a problem.

  19. crunchyfrog

    Certainly this is the price that it should have launched at.

    Let me briefly share my experiences: I bought the $1399 unit when it first launched and was and still am impressed by the technological feats that Microsoft designed into it. After using the device for about two weeks, the initial novelty of the dual screens wore off and honestly I still cannot see the practical application of two screens for most people. One thing that really troubled me was just how fragile this device is and there's no practical way to protect it from drops or impacts. It's literally a glass and glue sandwich with a plastic frame.

    I find that a single screen device works just as good or better than having two screens that are constantly shifting around to where you end up half the time with the buttons or its single speaker on the opposite side than where you were expecting.

  20. crunchyfrog

    The concept of multiple screens (and now folding screens) has been around for a while. The Kyocera Echo had a dual screens like 10 years ago and it bombed horribly. I asked my carrier how many folding screen phones they've sold so far and he laughed at me.

  21. onetokeep

    Coming to the UK priced at £1379 apparently. That's almost twice the $999 at current conversion rate. No thanks.

  22. Martin Sjöholm

    I just want to play Donkey Kong on it

  23. red.radar

    Only value i see it bringing is to a niche collector so it can sit on a shelf next to a sidekick.

  24. remc86007

    My wife has had one since launch and she still really enjoys it. I haven't heard a single complaint about the thing after the two months of patching it received (which really did fix most of the UI bugs). Particularly noteworthy is how the battery lasts 3x as long as her Iphone 8 did and seems to outlast my Note 10 around 2 to 1. It seems impossible given the bigger screens and the same processor, but somehow it manages to have 60%+ battery at the end of the day when my Note 10 is about dead.

    She claims to use the dual screens at work (she's a nurse), but the primary use of the design I see her taking advantage of is putting the thing in "tent mode" for watching video. We have spent many hours in breweries, coffee shops, etc. with it on the table showing a race, football, soccer, or basketball game that she wants to keep track of casually. She is way more into sports than me and having the Duo as a sort of portable tv (that doesn't have to be awkwardly propped up) has made her more willing to go out with me during "big games" which is a nice compromise versus her not seeing the game she wants to watch or me being stuck at home with the TV taken.

    • dftf

      In reply to remc86007:

      "She claims to use the dual screens at work (she's a nurse), but the primary use of the design I see her taking advantage of is putting the thing in "tent mode" for watching video"

      So... just get a much-cheaper Android phone or tablet with a decent case that can fold-over and also do this?

      Of all the uses I can think of for the "Duo", this seems an odd choice: I can fold it in such a way I can watch content on one of its screens, totally ignoring the second one, thus negating the main USP it has...!

  25. garrygbain

    Hi Paul, we're just about in June, any ideas when MS will drop the UK price for the duo?

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