Here's everything you need to know. 

When is the Surface Duo release date?

The Surface Duo's landing page on the Microsoft website mentions the same release window as was quoted when the device was announced back in October 2019: 'Holiday 2020'.

However, we now have confirmation that it will start shipping on 10 September, courtesy of an official blog post. There have long been rumours that it would arrive early, but until now a specific release date wasn't known. 

The initial release will be US-only though, and it's not clear when the device will make its way to other countries.

Microsoft has indicated that it will "share more information about market expansion at a later date", although this could be dependent on the demand and reception of the Duo. 

Microsoft Surface Duo
Image: Microsoft

How much will the Surface Duo cost?

As has been the case with nearly all foldables so far, the Surface Duo doesn't come cheap.

In the same blog post as mentioned above, a starting price was revealed: US$1,399.99. That translates to around £1,071 at the time of writing, although you may have to pay as much as £1,399 in the UK too.

That will get you a version with 128GB of storage, while stepping up to 256GB will cost US$1,499.99

If you are based in the US, you can pre-order from the Microsoft Store, as well as via Best Buy and AT&T.

That puts it in direct competition with the Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip (£1,300) and the £1,499 Motorola Razr

Surface Duo folding phone

Microsoft Surface Duo specs

Alongside the recent announcement of the Surface Duo's price and release date, a number of the rumoured specs were confirmed.

These include those leaked back in May by Windows Central's Zac Bowden:

Other key specs are as follows:

  • 2x 5.6in 1800x1350 OLED displays, can become single 8.1in 2700x1800 screen
  • 4:3 aspect ratio (3:2 when combined)
  • 3,577mAh battery split across both displays
  • Support for video up to 4K 60fps
  • Side-mounted fingerprint sensor

The use of a chipset from 2018 may come as a surprise to some, but the 865 requires a separate 5G chip and was unveiled after the Duo made its debut. It may also have allowed Microsoft to keep costs down slightly.

We also have confirmation of the apps that will come pre-installed on the Surface Duo, courtesy of Windows Latest. Given this is an Android phone, the 35 apps include 20 from Google and 15 from Microsoft. 

Talking of Android, Microsoft has confirmed to Android Authority that the Surface Duo will receive three years of software updates. This should take it right up to the release of Android 14, and matches similar commitments made by Google and Samsung recently.

If you'd like to see the Duo in action for yourself, Microsoft has published a 35-minute deep-dive video, featuring Chief Product Officer Panos Panay. This was initially only available to select members of the press, before being released publicly on 13 August. 

We discussed the latest developments in episode 28 of Fast Charge, Tech Advisor's weekly phone show. Jump to 22 minutes in the below video to hear our thoughts on the Surface Duo:

Earlier leaks

Just ahead of the official announcement, prolific leaker Evan Blass gave us a closer look at the device. 

Microsoft Surface Duo dual screens
Image: @evleaks on Twitter

The key takeaway from is the home screen's search bar, which appears to be using Google and not Microsoft's Bing. However, as some have pointed out, this is one of the requirements for third party manufacturers to use Android, and can easily be customised by the user. 

The Surface Duo will apparently ship with Android 10, but an update to Android 11 will be available soon after. We also now have a concrete look on how Android will look on the Surface Duo, courtesy of Windows Central.

Image: Windows Central

All Microsoft's own apps will be built to work across both screens, often using one side as an overview and the other to dive into something specific.

Via an emulator build of the Surface Duo's software, Windows Central has also give us an in-depth look at how multiple functions on the device will work:

The video also confirms what has long been suspected - on the Surface Duo there is the option to choose between traditional on-screen buttons or gestures for navigation. 

However, all these demos are shown using Microsoft's own apps. We don't know how many third-party developers are updating their apps to take advantage of both screens, or whether they'll be ready in time for the Surface Duo's release.  

In addition to having full Surface Pen support, Windows Latest has unearthed some exciting functionality for creatives.

Via an API known as 'Hinge Angle Sensor', developers will now be able to build functionality into their apps to allow a smooth transition when the Surface Duo unfolds. 

The same article also hints at Microsoft working on gesture support for the Duo. Among those mooted is a double-tap of the pen to take a screenshot. The above video also confirms what the same article suggested, with the option to choose between 

Below is the information we found out when the Surface Duo was unveiled in October 2019: 

The Duo is essentially a smaller version of the Surface Neo. They’re both dual-screen folding devices, but the Duo is a smartphone running Android.

It has a pair of 5.6in 1800x1350 OLED displays separated by a 360-degree hinge, so this isn’t a single folding screen like the Galaxy Fold. On the back is Gorilla Glass and the design means you can bend it into various different forms like a convertible 2-in-1 laptop.

Surface Duo Android

Microsoft has also made it compatible with the Surface Pen stylus, but little else has been confirmed about the Surface Duo. The video shown looks like USB-C is the chosen port.

There have been various sightings of the Surface Duo since its unveiling, including from Microsoft employees. Senior Director Frank X. Shaw very deliberately placed it on the table of his work from home setup, before highlighting a potential use case while following a recipe:

Chief Product Officer Panos Panay has previously showcased its photography capabilities:

The Surface Duo wasn't the only dual-screen device announced by Microsoft at its October event. Read all about the Surface Neo here

At the same event, the company announced the Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X and Surface Earbuds.