Alan Martin

Was deputy editor on Alphr, now a tech and politics freelancer.

Sep 19, 2021
Published on: Tom's Guide
1 min read
Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Microsoft’s second attempt at an Android smartphone — the Surface Duo 2 — is very likely to emerge this week at the company’s Surface event on Wednesday. And while we’ve already heard some very promising things about the core specifications, an FCC listing for the device has helped fill in some of the gaps very nicely.

While confirmation of Wi-FI 6, multi-band 5G, NFC and ultra-wideband are all very welcome, it’s the mention of “Wireless Power Transfer” that is particularly interesting, as that typically refers to some kind of Qi wireless charging — something missing from the first-generation Surface Duo.

But Windows Central, which originally spotted the listing, is skeptical. Such an upgrade would require built-in charging coils, which take up a fair amount of space. Given the leaked images we’ve seen of the Surface Duo 2 show a device that’s just as thin as the original (when open), that feels like a tall order. Even if the coils themselves can be included, it feels like the heat generated in such a small area would be too tough an engineering challenge to overcome.

Nonetheless, the listing mentions “Wireless Power Transfer," so unless it’s a mistake there must be wireless charging of some kind. Windows Central speculates that this may be inductive charging for accessories — possibly a version of the Surface Pen built for mobile. If correct, this could be supported in the same way the iPad Pro can charge the Apple Pencil when magnetically attached, although the site admits that there’s been precious little mention of Surface Pen in the leaks so far.

We shall have to see what Microsoft unveils at the event on Wednesday. A recent Geekbench listing for the Surface Duo 2 suggests that the company has learned the lessons of the previous generation with flagship internals to complement the form factor. The listing appeared to confirm the presence of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset, backed up by 8GB RAM. Pictures also show it targeting another weak spot in the original — photography — with a triple camera array. There’s also talk of a higher refresh rate screen.

With Samsung reducing the cost of its new Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, the pressure will be on Microsoft to do the same with its two-screen device. Last time around, it launched at $1,400, but the price was rapidly slashed, falling as low as $410 at one point. It will be interesting to see how aggressive the company intends to be with Surface Duo 2 pricing this time around.