I purchased a Microsoft Floor Duo – my ideas (overview)
After I first heard in regards to the Floor Duo final 12 months, I’ll admit that I used to be intrigued but in addition skeptical. I didn’t actually perceive what I might really do with telephone that folded closed and had no use in that place.
It wasn’t till I noticed Microsoft’s demo a couple of weeks in the past after I mentioned to myself, “Wow, that is one thing I might really use”. The multitasking capacity is one thing that I’ve been lacking with my handheld and having a second unbiased display appeared like a method to enhance that. So I went forward an preordered one.
Sadly, this isn’t the Android I used to be on the lookout for. Granted, it’s a tremendous gadget with fairly a couple of options which can be in contrast to every other gadget on the market. Nevertheless it simply misses the mark for me on the software program aspect and feels extra like a beta launch to me.
Frankly, I don’t have the time or endurance to take care of this many bugs on a tool that I take advantage of so incessantly all through the day. After only a week, I’m already contemplating returning it. I can see how this gadget might nonetheless be helpful although…to a sure group of individuals. It’s simply not for me but, and I’ll clarify why beneath.
That is the half that originally gained me over. The design of the Floor Duo is admittedly cool, being the one “telephone” that folds 360 levels from shut to open and has two unbiased screens. Certain, the Galaxy Fold has at all times been fascinating to me, however the Floor Duo takes the cake as a result of it really appears like one thing I’d wish to carry in my pocket.
The construct high quality backs up the design too. After I took it out of the field and dealt with it, it feelt like a premium gadget. And the hinge? Excellent. Microsoft has a number of expertise with hinges, and it reveals right here. Opening and shutting the gadget is simply what I might count on it to be, and there’s even a satisfying resistance if you shut the gadget.
What actually impresses me is simply how skinny it’s. Even closed, it’s solely a tiny bit thicker than my OnePlus 7 Professional. And after I first unfolded it, I used to be in awe of how skinny it was and but nonetheless felt sturdy. With all my dealing with, I didn’t really feel like I might break it as a result of it was too skinny. However that doesn’t imply it isn’t delicate.
Reality is, it’s nearly utterly lined in glass, open or shut. Yeah positive, it’s Gorilla Glass 5 – I get it. However advertising apart, glass is glass; and should you drop this factor on concrete or a tile ground, you’re going to have greater than only one panel to repair. You could find yourself with all 4 panels cracked, and I can’t think about what that may price to restore.
And thus, Microsoft features a silicone bumper with the gadget. I personally discover it sort of ugly, however then once more, aren’t all telephone circumstances? It will get the job carried out although and provides a raised edge throughout the perimeter, making you are feeling somewhat extra comfy with laying it on a desk with out scratching it.
I opted to not use my bumper although, primarily as a result of it’s important to make a aware choice whether or not or to not use it, proper off the bat. The bumper is held on with an adhesive, and I’m undecided should you’ll have the ability to get it again on once more if you determine to take away it as soon as.
Display screen and each day use
Getting again to the design, let’s discuss these screens. They’re really fairly good – each equivalent in measurement, decision and brightness. I’ve learn stories that some can inform the distinction between the white level on the screens, however that’s not the case with my unit.
The screens look similar to every other premium smartphone, being AMOLED, very brilliant, and good coloration gamut. The one factor lacking is that they’re restricted to 60Hz refresh fee. With all the opposite flagships being 90+Hz, I really feel like that is sort of a letdown.
At first, the bezels didn’t trouble me. However after a couple of days, they undoubtedly began to make the gadget look somewhat dated. It additionally restricts the facet ratio to being four:Three as a substitute of the popular 16:9 or 19:9 that you simply see on most different units.
That is particularly obvious when watching motion pictures. Until you’re watching Star Trek reruns, you’ll infrequently reap the benefits of the complete 5.6” of actual property. When watching many motion pictures, it matches to the equal of a four.75” display, except you zoom in and lower off the perimeters.
You even have the choice of panning apps throughout each screens, however I hardly discovered that helpful. It’s nonetheless a four:Three facet ratio. Additionally, the hole between the screens is handled like misplaced actual property, so if there’s any textual content within the crack, you possibly can’t see it. In the event you’re utilizing the Disney+ app for instance, you possibly can’t even see the play/pause icon in the course of the display.
The buttons are all lumped on one aspect of the right-hand display. Quantity buttons are on high, with the ability button proper beneath. There’s additionally a fingerprint scanner proper beneath the ability button. Additional down the fitting edge is a Sim tray and the USB-C charging port is positioned on the underside edge. Apart from that, the remainder of the sides are completely clear.
The fingerprint scanner is nothing to write down residence about. It really works, however it wasn’t at all times registering my thumb as quick as I’d like. It’s so stinking small that it’s solely detecting a skinny strip of my fingerprint, so you actually have to maneuver your thumb lots to ensure that it to detect the half that you simply initially registered.
There’s a repair, however boy, what a compromise. To make it work each time, I registered my similar proper thumb as 5 completely different fingerprints. After that, it opened each time and comparatively faster.
I nonetheless discover the fingerprint sensor on my previous telephone sooner, however that’s solely as a result of I can wake the gadget with the thumb scan (which may be very massive and built-in on the display). The Floor Duo solely wakes when opening, except you have already got the gadget open and off. And in that case, there’s an excellent second earlier than the display activates after a profitable thumb scan.
The audio system and microphones aren’t a spotlight of the design, by any means. To be frank, they’re simply oddly positioned. The primary speaker that you simply’ll hear system sounds and media from is definitely on the highest of the left display. There’s additionally a microphone built-in with it. The speaker on the fitting display is definitely for telephone calls solely, and the microphone for that’s positioned on the backside middle.
What this implies is you should be utilizing the fitting display when making your telephone calls. However when watching motion pictures, it’s higher to make use of the left display, since that speaker might want to face you. You may nonetheless hear it when it’s going through away, however why would you need the amount to go in direction of in all places however in direction of you? And sure, this implies mono sound…
High quality management goes to be an enormous deal on this gadget. There’s a number of adhesive getting used to maintain this glass hooked up. And the entire glass is raised, so I can actually see the potential for unevenness within the glass gaps. My unit didn’t endure from this, however others on-line have reported imperfections within the glass.
Additionally reported are crooked fingerprint scanners. Mine barely had this however I by no means would have observed with out wanting fastidiously. None concern for me. However I did have a blemish on my plastic border, which I observed straight away after I opened it. It’s not a blemish I might count on for such an costly gadget.
So that almost covers the bodily design (digicam will likely be lined beneath). I’d say that I’m happy with it as a complete, however there are some main sacrifices you should make so as to take care of having a telephone of this nature. I assume it simply needs to be this fashion to ensure that it to be so skinny although.
Hold studying although, as a result of this isn’t the purpose the place I began to surrender.
The Floor Duo makes use of the Snapdragon 855 CPU and has 6GB of onboard RAM. I can reside with the CPU, since I’ve the very same one on my Oneplus 7 Professional and it nonetheless works nice. I believe they skimped on the RAM although. 6GB simply isn’t sufficient for it to carry out as a multitasking “answer” in my trustworthy opinion.
My Oneplus has 12GB of RAM and is noticeably smoother when switching between and working apps. And for the reason that Floor Duo is working apps concurrently in lots of circumstances, extra RAM is essential to have readily available.
Software program bugs apart (that’s within the subsequent part), the Floor Duo performs fairly nicely normally. I did expertise some lagginess, particularly when utilizing two apps without delay. Nevertheless it wasn’t horrible. The advantages outweighed the results in these circumstances.
One factor that actually helps is to unlock developer settings and scale back your animation scaling and transition to .5x speeds. This principally cuts all transitions from closing and app switching in half and provides the shows fewer pictures to course of. Tbh, you need to do that with all telephones – I do.
The screens have been largely lined earlier, however they’re 1350 x 1800 decision, should you have been curious. AMOLED, 60Hz, full gamut and Gorilla Glass 5. Do I would like to say there are two of them?
The battery is 3577mAh, which is definitely fairly respectable contemplating the dimensions of the gadget. It’s break up throughout either side of the gadget, however is related as one. No, I wouldn’t have needed a thicker gadget so as to have higher battery life – this gadget is the best measurement for my part.
I actually can’t say a lot in regards to the battery life besides that it has lasted me the entire day. It doesn’t say a lot although, as a result of I actually really feel that I’ve used my telephone rather less than regular, simply due to the inconvenience of getting to open it on a regular basis. There was sooner or later the place I left it folded open the entire day and it lasted simply nice – so there’s that.
The UBC-C helps quick charging, however is restricted to 18W. It is a little behind the competitors and much more in order that they omitted wi-fi charging from the design.
The digicam might be the largest sacrifice you’re going make, should you determine to make the Floor Duo your personal. Reality it, it’s not that good. It’s solely 11MP which is much lower than many of the competitors on the market. It’s adequate for a selfie cam and merely simply sufficient as your most important shooter.
In regular lighting, it takes respectable pictures. I believe the colours might be higher, however the general high quality of the picture is respectable not less than. However in low lighting, the images aren’t good in any respect. In any respect…
I assume I’ve been spoiled by good cameras or respectable picture correction software program, as a result of this one has neither and it reveals. The final time I used to be taking footage with these limitations was in all probability with my Moto X in 2014. Curiously sufficient, that digicam had comparable specs.
I additionally discovered the antenna to be fairly weak on this gadget. At work I used to be getting 1 much less bar than I did on my Oneplus telephone. It’s powerful to guage by “bars” however I did drop a pair calls, which hardly occurs with my different telephone.
At residence, it was method worse, as a result of I hardly obtained sign in any respect. I actually have a sign booster at residence, so I don’t know what to make of it. Both my telephone is simply incompatible with the indoor antenna or the antenna on this telephone is simply not sturdy in any respect. And with out Wi-Fi calling, it’s simply not adequate to me.
For reference, I’m on Verizon.
All these options are more than likely restricted by the dimensions of the gadget. That is particularly so for the digicam, as that is the primary telephone in a very long time that I didn’t need to have a digicam bump, and the gadget is extremely skinny as it’s.
So it’s a trade-off on kind, however contemplating the general price of the gadget is so excessive, it’s a tough capsule to swallow, with all these compromises. And I haven’t even gotten to the enjoyable half but.
Software program and Usability
There’s a number of other ways to make use of the Floor Duo. The way in which I began was to maintain the gadget closed always whereas not utilizing it. In a method I sort of prefer it as a result of it provides to the novelty of the gadget. It additionally protects the screens, which I’m tremendous paranoid of scratching or breaking – particularly because it’s inconceivable so as to add display protectors to this gadget.
Like I discussed earlier than, I got here to some extent the place I used to be utilizing my telephone much less and fewer, primarily as a result of it was such a problem to tug it out of my pocket and open it, merely to verify my notifications. I discovered myself utilizing my smartwatch much more, however even that’s restricted on what it could possibly do.
So then I spent a while utilizing the telephone folded open all day. Paranoia of scratching the screens apart, I appreciated this fashion somewhat higher. It was simpler to tug out of my pocket and simply use. It additionally lessened a number of the bugs I encountered whereas simply needing to make use of the telephone in single display mode.
So the way it works is like this: if you open the gadget, the gadget defaults to utilizing two screens. It’s solely if you fold the opposite display into an angle the place it decides you don’t need it that it’ll flip off the second show. If you wish to change shows, merely flip the gadget over and double faucet the opposite display. It “ought to” change the app to the opposite display.
I say ought to as a result of it doesn’t at all times work for me. One of many many bugs which can be plaguing this gadget. However I’ll get to these shortly.
One other mode I loved is laptop computer mode. That is the place the underside display is laying face up and the highest display is angled. I used this mode incessantly for watching movies.
It’s additionally helpful for typing as many apps will ship the keyboard to the decrease display whereas on this mode. So that you get to get pleasure from a full panorama view of Chrome within the higher display, with the keyboard utterly out of the best way. You may even decide up the decrease display for simpler typing. It sort of jogged my memory of a Nintendo DS on this mode.
Apart from Microsoft’s core apps, that are nice, there weren’t many different apps which can be optimized for panned dual-screen utilization. Kindle was fairly cool as a result of now it appears like an actual e-book with one web page on both sides. I discovered it very straightforward to carry the gadget with two fingers on the decrease hinge.
However aside from that, the one factor I used to be actually doing in Portrait mode(or e-book mode) was multi-tasking. And that is the place my frustrations actually began to kick in.
First off, should you’re getting this telephone now, my first bit of recommendation is to spend an excellent hour taking part in with gesture navigation or else simply flip it off. They’re tremendous irritating and right here’s why. With gesture navigation turned on, there’s no nav bar. There’s merely a gesture bar on the backside of the display, which is admittedly low profile and stays out of the best way. Not dangerous up to now, proper?
Swiping up from the underside acts as a house button, which is fairly pure to each iOS and Android 10 customers. Even opening latest apps is fairly straightforward, which is swiping up and holding for a second. It’s the again gesture that’s troublesome although, which requires you to swipe from both the left or the fitting of the display.
And the rationale it’s from both aspect is straightforward – should you’re on an app on the fitting display and wish to swipe the left edge, you really will contact and scroll the left display, more than likely. So swiping from the fitting aspect on the fitting display and swiping from the left aspect from the left display is one of the best ways to make use of the again button motion.
However if you’re in panorama mode, it’s completely different. When you rotate, the nav bar will transfer to the fitting hand aspect of the rotated display. So swiping from the fitting aspect now will really trigger a house motion. So for each the higher and decrease screens, solely swiping from the left will trigger a again motion. Confused but? You really get used to it however it takes some time.
However when you get used to it, you understand one thing lacking. With swiping from the left being tied to the again motion you utterly lose all swipe from the left performance for all apps. Keep in mind the slide-out drawer that might be opened in your favourite wiki or discussion board app from a left swipe? Effectively you’ll have to take away that muscle reminiscence and revert again to hitting the hamburger icon as a substitute, as a result of it’s now damaged.
My first intuition after coping with all this was to disable navigation gestures. By doing this, you get the usual three-button navigation such as you do in Android, solely you continue to can nonetheless change apps from one display to a different utilizing the gestures. For some time, I believed issues have been good as a result of the slide-our drawer gesture was restored for all my apps. Every thing was good till I performed my favourite recreation.
The difficulty with the three button nav bar is that it’s not persistent in terms of full display apps. So it auto-hides when not in use. Usually that’s okay, however this navbar is ultra-sensitive and tends to pop up randomly after I contact the display. So with one in all my favourite video games, it saved showing randomly and overlayed it on high of the underside portion of the display, overlaying a number of the performance. Unacceptable and annoying…
At that time I gave up and am now again to utilizing navigation gestures. It’s nice, however I’ve to take care of the lack of left swipes on a number of apps. Hopefully the following patch resolves these issues.
After a couple of days with navigation gestures although, I’m nonetheless not totally used to it. I imply, I’m higher for essentially the most half, however I nonetheless make errors lots. I’m randomly sending apps to the opposite display, as a substitute of closing them. And after I imply to ship them to the opposite display, typically I shut them.
To make it much more irritating, typically I simply plain can’t shut an app. Normally, it’s full-screen video, however typically I simply need to rotate the gadget or cycle the display energy so as to get the telephone to reply and let me shut an app.
However that’s not all the problems I’ve been having with the software program. There are much more annoying bugs that appear to have no explicit trigger. Slightly than attempt to type by way of all my ideas, I made a decision simply to make a piece the place I describe them particularly (within the subsequent part) and go away it at that.
For sure, if there’s a cause to keep away from this gadget, these bugs are it. It’s a troublesome capsule to swallow if you spend $1500 on a tool and it’s stuffed with bugs that make it borderline irritating to make use of typically.
But when ignore the bugs for now and focus on the positives, there’s a number of good issues to be mentioned in regards to the performance of the Floor Duo. If all the problems ever get resolved, I believe Microsoft is admittedly on to one thing.
Let’s discuss tent mode for instance. When it really works correctly, it’s extraordinarily helpful, particularly if you need others to look at a video with out having to carry the telephone in your hand.
And in that handheld panorama mode, I discover it extraordinarily helpful and productive to have the ability to kind stuff into Chrome whereas watching a Youtube video on the display above. Even with the ability to watch a film whereas I do some web analysis is a pleasant perk.
The very last thing I wish to cowl is the digicam which might be essentially the most irritating software program to make use of that already produces underwhelming outcomes. Reality is, I generally discovered it a battle to make use of.
Your typical intuition is to open the digicam app both in your launch bar or within the app drawer. Relying on what display you launch it from is the place the app will launch. So if you would like a selfie, open it on the fitting display and if you wish to shoot an image of one thing else, open it on the left.
Sadly, this isn’t as straightforward should you simply open the digicam app, fold your telephone again after which attempt to change sides. There’s just one digicam, so there’s no “change digicam” button. So in case your digicam is in selfie mode and also you wish to change it to the opposite aspect, it’s important to maintain the telephone the place the digicam is parallel with the ground and hoe the opposite aspect offers you the choice to modify app sides. And even then, it’s important to hope it really works. Ugh…
The higher technique to resolve it’s to show off the display with the ability button. Then maintain the gadget usually with the aspect you wish to present the digicam view from and double-tap the ability button. This fast launches the digicam and try to be all set.
I can’t let you know what number of instances I missed an excellent shot due to how finicky this digicam app is. In case you have youngsters, this isn’t the gadget you wish to be taking footage with, on the fly.
The very last thing I wish to point out is a bug that could be restricted to only me. For some cause, I’m unable to connect with Wi-Fi whereas I’m at work. I referred to as Microsoft about this they usually mentioned that it was one thing with the best way my IT dept arrange Wi-Fi.
I’m going to name BS on that although. Not solely does my IT dept not know what the issue is, I’ve had in all probability 12-14 Android telephones over the previous 11 years they usually all labored simply nice. The one exception was my HP Touchpad that was working a customized Android Rom, which struggled with Wi-fi in the identical method – however it was software program associated.
In order that just about put the nail within the coffin for me – I can’t use Wi-Fi at work…
Different Bugs, Gripes and Frustrations
Slightly than attempt to combine all my points right into a cleverly worded overview, I made a decision to bundle my leftover observations right here as a substitute. Reality is, there have been simply too many and I didn’t wish to go away something out so as to make issues circulation higher.
–Mono Speaker – There’s solely a single speaker on the gadget. When utilizing tent mode or single display, it’s both pointing at you or away from you, so it’s important to select correctly what display you need.
-Auto rotate – Generally when making an attempt to look at a film, it gained’t auto-rotate appropriately when in “laptop computer mode”. I’ve discovered that it occurs most incessantly when the opposite display is on the far left web page on the launcher(the web page that has your calendar, duties, not too long ago used apps, and many others). The one repair is to shut the app and reopen and check out once more.
-Full display video – Often, I watched full-screen video utilizing Netflix, Disney+ or Youtube. With gesture navigation enabled,, I typically discovered it inconceivable to shut the app that was taking part in the video. The house gesture would merely do nothing and there was no technique to shut the app. The one method round this was to both flip the display on and off, or rotate the gadget 90 levels and again once more. Then the house gesture would operate correctly.
-Lack of lively app – When utilizing an app in twin display mode after which folding the display again to make use of single display mode, you’d suppose the lively app would seem on that display. However that’s not at all times the case. It will solely present you the content material that was on that display if you folded it. For instance, on display 1 could be Netflix, taking part in a film. On display 2 is nothing. I fold the display again to show solely display 2, however all I see is my app launcher. In the meantime, Netflix is taking part in within the background. The one technique to get to it’s to flip the telephone round and double-tap to wake the display.
Tent mode – Tent mode is nice for displaying movies and content material to others. The difficulty is that if the display is on the improper aspect, significantly the aspect that doesn’t have the speaker, you’ll end up wanting to modify it again to the opposite display. However on this mode, it’s not really easy to modify screens. In tent mode, the opposite display is totally off and is just accessible for switching when the lively display is parallel with the ground. Not intuitive in any respect! When you do that, you possibly can double-tap the opposite display to maneuver the video to the opposite aspect. A greater answer? Fold your display utterly again and maintain it the place the speaker aspect is up. Open your app and video, then open the tent and stand it up.
Current apps – In navigation gestures mode, there’s no technique to open your latest apps up with out opening an app(any app). By doing this, the nav gestures bar seems from the underside and you’ll swipe up and lengthy maintain to open the recents menu. A easy repair for that is to disable navigation gestures, however it comes with a value of getting a randomly showing nav bar that incessantly will get in the best way of some apps(it’s not persistent and unhides on a regular basis).
Apps gained’t shut – Generally an app simply gained’t reply to navigation gestures to shut. I observed this with movies lots(Above)! However there have been different instances it occurred with apps too. In some situations it will work after a couple of makes an attempt. However the positive technique to get it to work is to cycle to standby and again. One other method that labored more often than not is to open the telephone to dual-screen and rotate it, however typically even this didn’t work.
Panning throughout two screens – Your intuition is to do this with a number of apps, however put together to be disillusioned for many of them. Till dual-screen telephones change into widespread, it’s going to be a tough ask to get devs to assist it with their apps. Most of them doubtless gained’t have a dual-screen telephone to check it with and I don’t consider there’s a straightforward technique to do it through software program. Till that is mounted, each app you attempt to pan goes to have a niche with lacking pixels between it.
Worth and Availability
The Floor Duo is accessible on the Microsoft Retailer and at Greatest Purchase. The 128GB model is $1399 and the 256GB model is $1499. Contemplating there’s no expandable storage and also you’re already spending an absurd about of cash for a telephone, you may as nicely get the 256GB model.
For the pen, you may have some choices. You will get the Floor Pen for $111 on Microsoft’s web site, or you possibly can settle for lots of cheaper alternate options. My favourite is the Bamboo Pen, however there’s one other even cheaper alternate options accessible on Amazon as nicely.
I can’t say it’s been a blast making an attempt this gadget out. Usually I’m throughout new ground-breaking expertise, as I used to be first in line for the Asus Transformer pill and AiO and have been a part of dozens of Kickstarter campaigns prior to now. However that’s the factor – this appears like I obtained one thing from a Kickstarter, however paid premium costs for it.
I simply really feel that Microsoft might have carried out a greater job optimizing the software program and perhaps this was launched too quickly. However judging from the dated specs, perhaps this launch is simply extraordinarily late they usually simply needed to get their models out the door earlier than they turned much more out of date.
I believe a part of the blame is Android too. It’s not precisely made for dual-screen operations. However we are able to’t actually blame Google. In any case, they and Microsoft are rivals, proper?
The telephone continues to be solely per week previous although and maybe Microsoft will have the ability to clear up a number of the software program messes with some patches. They did point out month-to-month updates and maybe Android 11 will repair a number of the points I’ve been seeing.
However software program points apart, it is a very costly gadget and has some merely common specs, save for the second display. What you’re actually paying the large bucks for is the shape issue, which in the meanwhile is one in all a form.
In order that’s what all of it comes right down to – is that this telephone going to profit you? I believe that in case you are consistently switching between 2-Three apps regularly, have the endurance for MS to work out their buggy software program, and don’t care about with the ability to take good footage, perhaps it’ll be just right for you.
However for many others, I’d suggest that you simply cross on this mannequin and watch for the following one. Or higher but, wait a couple of months and purchase one of many a whole bunch of open field/refurb gross sales which can be about to hit the market. I’ve a sense MS goes to get a number of product returns within the subsequent couple of weeks.
For me, I’m undoubtedly going to cross on this mannequin. There’s simply an excessive amount of of a downgrade coming from my previous telephone, together with however not restricted to awful digicam, weak reception, much less RAM, barely much less battery, slower charging, slower display refresh, mono sound, lack of Wifi calling. And oh yeah, $1500.
If it wasn’t for the software program bugs, maybe I might have given it extra of an opportunity. However due to that, I actually suppose that we’re the beta testers right here and there’s a greater worth answer coming within the quick future.
That every one mentioned, I actually do suppose Microsoft is on to one thing right here and this might very nicely be the way forward for telephones. With higher software program integration and a few higher specs, I’m completely on board with this as my subsequent telephone…offered the worth is cheap.
I imply, after I tolerated the bugs, I actually did prefer it. Actually. I can completely see myself utilizing this gadget regularly. However to ensure that that to occur, it both must be polished, or half the worth. Higher digicam software program would assist too.
However hopefully, we see some extra teaming up with Google and Microsoft on the following design. Even perhaps reviving the Nexus partnership to take action? I worry with out Google supporting a second display as a part of the OS by default, this concept won’t ever totally take off.
I might love to listen to what different Microsoft Duo house owners consider their units up to now. In that case, please go away a remark beneath. I’ll have mine not less than one other week if anybody has any extra questions.