The Surface Duo is having a rough week. Microsoft’s dual-screened Android-powered mobile device has a unique form factor and offers a new way of working. To achieve this, it needs consumer confidence in the software and the hardware. It’s the latter that has been heavily discussed online, and not in a good way.
First up is a cosmetic issue; while these do not have a bearing on the functionality of the Surface Duo, when you are paying upwards of $1400 for the device, you don’t want it to loose its lustre after a few weeks. User reports of the plastic on the Duo starting to yellow strongly suggest that this isn’t a chemical reaction within the plastic, but a material that is quick to pick oils and grease. Nevertheless it’s not welcome.
Then you have the plastic cracking around the USB-C port. The thin nature of each side of the Surface Duo leaves little room around the USB-C port for moulding and it’s a natural weak point in the design. Those reporting cracked plastic between the port and the edge of the plastic note that charging the device is unaffected.
A small number of users are also reporting broken and seized hinges. Given the core nature of the Surface Duo this is a serious problem for those users affected.
While these issue clearly have an impact on the individual, the damage they can do to the Surface brand itself should also be considered.
The Duo is already asking a lot of customers. It is a high priced mobile device with a new form factor. The latter requires a certain amount of faith that the new way of working will be beneficial to the user, while the former will always cause those who do not instinctively buy into the bleeding edge to consider all the factors carefully.
If reports of these Surface Duo faults continue to stay prominent, then consumers are going to find it that little bit harder to justify a purchase.