The Microsoft Surface Duo, its first Android phone under its own name, is arguably a beautiful device that unfortunately belied a half-cooked software experience. Its looks didn’t come without a price, not just literally, and now that the reviewer honeymoon phase is over, the Surface Duo’s physical warts are starting to, well, surface. Beyond being extremely difficult to repair, it seems that the dual-screen folding phone isn’t that durable after all.
When JerryRigEverything’s Zack Nelson put the Surface Duo through his usual tests, the phone survived but not with flying colors. The plastic frame creaked, flexed, and bent but it was saved from completely breaking half by the hinge system. Now it seems that even that hinge isn’t actually that reliable.
Reports have started to come out on Reddit about owners of the Surface Duo experiencing issues with the hinge. At least one ended in the top hinge no longer functioning while others have observed that the strong mechanism sometimes has to be forced to even lay completely flat. Given the overall structural integrity of the device, that’s not exactly something you’ll want to do regularly.
Compared to real foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or the Motorola Razr, the Surface Duo’s hinge system is pretty basic. You’d think that its simplicity would translate to durability but that’s turning out not to be the case.
These reports come on the heels of complaints about the Surface Duo’s plastic frame around the USB-C breaking with very little force applied. At this point, the supposed benefits of not having a more fragile flexible screen are pretty much becoming moot with the Surface Duo slowly breaking apart anyway. Unfortunately, unlike what reviewers have complained about the most, these can’t be fixed by software updates and will require a complete redesign, pretty much like the first Galaxy Fold.