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Microsoft Surface Duo 3 release date, pricing and specs rumors

Microsoft is releasing smartphones on a regular basis again, but it has a different approach than many other companies. Despite running Android, Surface Duo includes two separate displays that can be stacked on top of each other. This is in stark contrast to Samsung, Huawei, and Oppo, the other top foldable device makers at the moment.

However, Microsoft still has a long way to go to convince people that Surface Duo is the future of foldable devices. Due to the long delay between the announcement and release of the original model, it seemed outdated and overpriced. A second try in 2021 didn’t get any more affordable as a patchy software experience made it difficult to justify.

However, several key hardware updates show that Microsoft is heading in the right direction. This makes the prospect of the third generation Duo really exciting – that’s what we know at the moment.

When is Surface Duo 3 coming out?

Based on the first two generations, Microsoft has adopted an annual update cycle for the Surface Duo. We do not expect a repeat of the phased release of the original model:

  • Surface Duo – September 2020 (US), February 2021 (UK, Canada, France, Germany), April 2021 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland)
  • Surface Duo 2 – October 2021 (UK, US, France, Germany, Australia, Canada)

However, according to Windows Central, there may not be a new Surface Duo this year. This is what author Zach Bowden’s sources say, Microsoft is allegedly targeting a 2023 release instead. Obviously, this can still be changed, but it will give the company time to focus on working with the software.

How much will the Surface Duo 3 cost?

Pricing is usually revealed as one of the last details of the product, so it’s no surprise that the Duo 3’s pricing remains a mystery. However, we can still use the prices of the first two generations as a rough guide:

  • Surface Duo (128GB) – £ 1,349 / $ 1,399.99
  • Surface Duo (256GB) – £ 1,449 / $ 1,499.99
  • Surface Duo 2 (128GB) – £ 1,349 / $ 1,499
  • Surface Duo 2 (256GB) – £ 1,429 / $ 1,599.99
  • Surface Duo 2 (512GB, Black only) – £ 1,589 / $ 1,799.99 (Black only)

Microsoft may decide it’s time to make Duo 3 more affordable, especially if the hardware upgrades are relatively minor. Around the same MSRP, most likely with a price increase only in the event of major updates to the new model.

Surface Duo 3 design and rumored new features

As you would expect at this early stage, there are very few specific rumors about the Surface Duo 3. Apart from the Windows Central article above, the only page worth mentioning is the Specs Tech website.

Here’s a list that claims to be the Duo 3, with a few key stats. No sources are mentioned, so it is impossible to verify how reliable this information is. But at first glance, it seems that all of the above makes sense.

First, it will presumably run Android 12 out of the box. Even if Google releases Android 13 before the next Duo is announced, Microsoft’s hardware is unlikely to be among the early adopters. Since the Duo 2 is still running Android 11, and the original Duo is stuck on Android 10, this looks like a pretty solid bet.

Hopefully it will be Android 12L. In 2022, Google is releasing a new version of Android specifically designed for tablets and foldable devices, which should make them more optimized and more intuitive. Of course, Microsoft will probably continue to work on its themed launcher, which should include some Duo-specific tweaks.

Another spec that makes sense is to use Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor under the hood. It is listed here as the Snapdragon 898, although we now know it is called the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Moving to a 4nm chip with the new architecture should provide a useful performance boost, so that also seems likely.

Microsoft will also increase the overall screen size of the Duo 3 to 8.5 inches, according to the website. That’s more than 8.3 inches on the Duo 2, and suggests each display will be 5.9 inches instead of 5.8 inches. It is unclear if this will be achieved with the same total footprint (by reducing bezels), and there is no mention of resolution or refresh rates.

Cameras are also supposedly set to be upgraded. Specs Tech suggests Microsoft will keep the triple rear camera and 16MP ultra wide-angle lens, but will update the wide-angle and telephoto lenses to 16MP. However, as we have seen in the past, there is no guarantee that this will improve image quality. The listing does not mention if there will be any changes to the 12MP front camera.

Surface Duo 2

Both of the other specs mentioned are identical to the Surface Duo 2. Presumably the same 8GB of RAM and 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of internal storage will be available.

Nothing groundbreaking here, so it could be what we see in the Duo 2. It will be an iterative update, but it makes sense: the device’s hardware has been well received so far.

We’ll update this article as soon as there is information about Surface Duo 2. In the meantime, you may also be interested in the upcoming Surface 5 laptop.

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