Microsoft is making a move that should have been made months ago – they are dropping the price of the Surface Duo. With a $400 price cut, the Surface Duo will now start at $999 in the US.
The wording around this news from The Verge suggests this is a permanent price cut, but most sites selling the Surface Duo all make it look like a promotional discount. It should be a permanent cut if it isn’t, as the Surface Duo was always over-priced for the specs provided by Microsoft.
When we reviewed the Surface Duo shortly after launch last year, I called it “really bad” and said that Microsoft should be embarrassed by its software. I pointed out that it would take several updates worth of bug fixes in order for it to improve and Microsoft has mostly done just that. In the months since that review, Microsoft has released three updates to address stability, touch responsiveness, and add Android’s monthly security patches. None of the updates add new or exciting features because Microsoft really did need to spend months taking care of bugs.
I actually re-purchased a Surface Duo a month or so ago at a hell of a discount to see if Microsoft had improved the device at all. I can tell you that the most recent January update fixed a lot of the touch responsiveness issues I experienced. The unit I have runs pretty well now. So Microsoft has stabilized their super expensive, outdated folding device, they just need to add new features and convince developers to add dual-screen experiences to their apps.
Should you buy a Surface Duo at $999? Probably not. It’s still running really old hardware, doesn’t have NFC, and is kind of a pain in the ass to use. But if you see further discounts and you think a Surface Duo could see a good amount of couch action as a WiFi device, sure.