Just last week on this channel. We were exploring what it means to blur the line between smartphone and computer, but i guess the reality is that ive been thinking about it since about 2007, when i realized during an otherwise uneventful, walk around my college town, that i could post a new live journal Entry yep – i was one of those guys right from my pocket instead of going home for my computer this week, instead of replacing a pc with a smartphone were talking about bringing a pc feature to a smartphone the idea of a second screen. Yes, this is the surface duo 2 from microsoft, and yes, youve seen it before on mr mobile, but its not the phone. You remember, Music. I cover a lot of folding phones on mr mobile, but the surface duo isnt, like other foldables, its not trying to hide the hinge between its two halves, its using it as the border between two separate workspaces. If its book, like design, seems like too much for a daily, carry smartphone well dont, think of it like a book, think of it as a phone with the second screen you deploy when you need it now. Unfortunately, the first surface duo was fatally undercooked at launch and even the sequel was beset with enough bugs and bungles to obscure microsofts vision for getting things done. But i promised that if the sequel got better id, give it another look and three substantial software updates later thats, just whats happened well its not quite up to the level it should be.

And yes, i will talk about that. The biggest issues with keyboard, responsiveness and gesture controls have finally been mostly resolved in the words of my windows, central friends, the duo 2 is actually good. Now that means ive gotten a much clearer picture of the dual screen philosophy that is, the duos raison detre french raison detre. It helped that i got into twitch earlier this year. Watching live video is a completely different animal than watching youtube, because you need a full screen for the feed and the live chat and, of course, when youre streaming on twitch well, that extra real estate is even more helpful in my work world its helpful too each Week see, i need to file a bit of paperwork for the mr mobile videos. I publish and dual displays make it a lot easier. You know i can take info from the production list and youtube app from one screen and transpose that info into the delivery form on the other. Same goes for reviewing thumbnail art from my design team. I can keep it in view in air table on one side and give feedback in slack on the other, but you dont have to be in the content business to appreciate a second screen. In the past few weeks, ive helped my friend search for wildly overpriced, brooklyn apartments, with messenger on one side and zillow. On the other, when my other friend sent me a link to a news story, i could open the page while still keeping my place in the conversation, and that also came in handy when i wanted to quote one of the articles more absurd paragraphs back to him.

A calculator alongside venmo evernote, alongside google docs, you get the idea heck. If you build your home screen right, you dont even need to open an app. The right widgets will give you daily and weekly weather your schedule and your recent notes instantly available. As soon as you open the phone, sadly, there still arent many apps optimized to span across both screens witness the annoying gap in spotify and the columns that dont line up in apps with tablet mode layouts. Ideally, app developers will have an easier time, smoothing out those rough edges. Once google rolls out android 12l slated for later this year, and if you use microsoft apps you can already see where that will go. Outlook, in particular, is a pleasure with its list of emails or calendar events on the left and details of the same on the right and, of course, the full screen app. That really makes this hardware shine is amazon, kindle even back when the first duo couldnt do anything else right. It was still a better e book than anything out there. The same hinge that makes that book posture possible also enables a feature that ive wanted ever since those palm centro live journaling days, 2007s htc tilt first put the notion in my head that a kind of pocketable laptop might be possible, and you know the surface duo Is that its always been able to sit like this, but only recently has the swift key keyboard been swift enough to actually keep up.

I wish the keyboard didnt bury the settings and function row in the hinge when you set it to full size and why it doesnt stretch all the way across the lower screen is a mystery as massive as all this wasted space. Anyway, you can take this fully to the absurd place with a mouse if you want or go with the far more sensible accessory of the surface slim pen as i covered back in december, this is far more capable now than it was at launch and the magnetic Mounting approach makes for a mighty convenient one handed handle speaker. Playback is higher quality than youd expect from a device. This thin and callers had nothing but good things to say about the audio quality coming from my end as well, and if the laptop paradigm doesnt do much for you well, how about a nintendo ds being able to play a classic like fire watch in my hands With a dedicated screen for controls, it kind of made my week again, microsofts vision has never been the problem, its just that weve had to wait until now for the execution to well mostly catch up yep. That means theres still some pain to pass around and no its, not just the camera, well get to that right after this cheap, simple, reliable. Usually you have to pick two, but my sponsor surfshark has consistently been ranked all three by sites like toms guide. Surfshark is a virtual private network or vpn that gives you private access to the open internet.

What does that mean? Well for one thing: it can prevent your internet service provider from giving special treatment to certain types of content like throttling your video streaming speeds. Speaking of video ever try to watch a show, but its not available in your region well surf shark can help there too, and if your travels take you to a country with internet censorship, laws surf shark can help. Keep you connected whether youre on your smartphone tablet or laptop get the vpn that eats other deals alive, hit up surfshark at the link below and pay as little as 2.49 a month when you sign up for two years, using the code below thanks to surfshark for Sponsoring this video at a little over five months old, the surface duo ii, is starting to get into price drop territory, but so far those have been limited duration. So at press time this is still a fifteen hundred dollar phone. Before you drop that kind of cash, you need to know what downsides youre facing. Most importantly, those keyboard and touch response fixes are still only most of the way there occasionally in certain apps for seemingly no reason, itll still slow down from time to time. Also, this might be a cloud gaming situation, but that firewatch gameplay session became real frustrating the minute i had to try climbing a ladder and, more broadly microsoft, still hasnt managed to wrangle android into delivering the perfect dual screen life heres.

A good example. Ive got reddit open on the left and when i tap a link id like it to open on the right, well nope in native reddit or in baconreader, the link opens where it is completely ignoring the available second screen. The same is true in chrome or edge. Unless you take the explicit step of long pressing to open in a new window, the second screen will just sit there dumbly doing nothing. It gets worse in instagram, which really shouldnt be a surprise. Given that platforms shameful showing on anything but an iphone switch accounts and the app will switch screens for no good reason elsewhere, it just depends on the app telegram, is half broken crashing all the time and just generally being a dope and if youre doing something that Takes a while and has pop up prompts like setting up a smart watch, say well, the app will occasionally leap over the hinge and steal focus from whatever you were doing anyway. I bring up wear os because well, if you want to get any useful notifications when the duo 2 is closed, you kind of have to have a smart watch as hopeful as i was for microsoft, to bring new features to the glance bar its made. No progress since release, as far as i can see it still only lights up for phone calls and a handful of system functions, and there are no plugins for third party applications. Then theres just the weirdness.

That comes and goes. The latest update introduced a strange home screen, bug that occasionally, mistakes taps on one screen for taps on the other widgets occasionally break for no reason, and you still cant customize the launcher even to do something as simple as reassign a downswipe gesture to notifications. Instead of system search folks, the microsoft launcher is customizable on other phones, its just surface duo, buyers, whove, gotten the shaft on this. I dont get it and finally theres the camera as a foldable. The duo 2 is more versatile than most phones out there, because it can serve as its cameras own tripod. Can you get okay shots with it in good lighting sure? But do you want to spend the time youll need to do so? Probably not the viewfinder is slow to launch slow to capture and isnt great with moving subjects. Now i had similar complaints with samsungs galaxy s22 ultra, but in a side by side series of shots from my brooklyn stomping grounds, the samsung surpassed the surface more often than Music. To not mind, the camera is just the worst of both worlds. Its large optics module makes the duo 2 look and feel more awkward than the first duo, especially when youre talking on the phone and, despite that it still under delivers in image quality and frankly, i dont see microsoft ever becoming truly competitive. In this respect, all the folks who made those old windows phones, the paragons of smartphone photography back in their day, are long gone.

Ironically, as much as i load, those hypey partnerships, phone makers keep striking with old world camera companies. Microsoft is one of the few companies that might actually benefit from such a thing, and yet, despite all the downsides, despite the fact that my galaxy fold 3 is a better fit for my specific needs, despite the fact that even my razor is simpler and easier to Use i keep coming back to the duo too now thats, not a recommendation. I still think 9.99 is a better price point for a device with this many compromises, and i also think id judge the duo 2 even more harshly, if i werent so predisposed to embrace the unconventional i mean there will always be a part of me willing to Forgive a weird phones, shortcomings in exchange for doing something, no other device. Does i do admire swimming against the current. I do admire boldness and i genuinely think the idea of a dual screen phone deserves to exist. Even if i simultaneously believe that the future of that dream will be realized by software on a truly folding screen instead of two independent ones, if the android 12l release does for foldables, what many of us hope it will. I think that that combined with the price drop might finally make the duo 2 recommendable without quite so many asterisks folks, if you own a surface duo 2 – and you can share your experiences without bludgeoning those of us who are willing to call out its shortcomings.

Please leave a comment below this. Video was produced following five months with a surface 202 review sample provided by microsoft and sorry to say this leather skin is not planned for wide release, but i thank my longtime sponsor dbrand anyway, for this custom made one off. Neither microsoft nor any other company was given editorial input, copy approval or even an early preview of this video. Those rights are reserved for sponsor spots and the loan sponsor of this video is surf shark until next time, ive been michael fisher.