Hate, Love and the Duo 2

I’ve been away from the forum for a little while recharging my batteries, but slowly the pull of pen computing is drawing me back. So time for a short update…

I continue to have very mixed feelings about my Duo 2, especially recently. I originally bought into the Duo concept because my use case was largely computationally-based with only a little telephone use. Although the OG Duo had its UI problems, they were mostly tolerable because I didn’t have to use its truly awful telephone UI. At first, the Duo 2 seemed to be an overall improvement, but I don’t feel like the several months of updates have markedly improved the UI. Life has its twists and in an unexpected development, I suddenly found that my telephone use has had to dramatically increase, a combination of both business and family issues. The Duo 2 isn’t the greatest device for this kind of use. In addition, I’m dissatisfied with a few other operational aspects…

<> Screen rotation is frustrating. There’s apparently something about the way I hold the Duo 2 that constantly makes it rotate sideways and when I hold it perfectly upright, the ■■■■ display won’t rotate back upright; it stays sideways. Shaking doesn’t help, either.

<> For as long as MSFT has worked on touch, I still experience touch freezes every so often. At first, I thought it might be because my holding hand was inadvertently touching the active part of the screen, but I’ve refined how I hold the device and I’m still getting freezes.

<> And the phone interface still really sucks. I need to be able to access the keypad on some longer calls to enter data or selections, but the UI will time out and I frequently can’t get back… so the call has to be aborted. I really don’t understand why there isn’t an option to keep the phone UI constantly on during a call…???

<> Over time, the camera bump (and the inability to fold the Duo 2 completely flat) has become more irritating to me, especially since the cameras are not all that much better.

<> And, of course, no list would be complete without mentioning MSFT’s laggardly (if ever) adoption of Android 12 / 12L, the version of Android that might actually provide a significant improvement…

I have some other, less important, issues with the Duo 2, but this is enough. In fairness, I will say that the dual screen concept works well and I take advantage of it all the time. So there are things to love about the device but as time goes on, and with MSFT making only minor / mostly unnoticeable improvements, the downsides are starting to weigh more and more heavily…

I’m not quite sure what the future holds, here. If there is a Duo 3, it will have to be a major improvement to attract my interest. I just bought a 6th Gen iPad Mini (as I was threatening to do earlier this year) and I intend to run all of my companion apps on that platform (Apple versions of these apps are simply better than the Android versions). That knocks one of the big props out from under my Duo 2 use case. With that, a slab phone now looks like it would be a better daily carry. I don’t particularly like a 2-device solution, but if each device happens to work better for its part of my use case, maybe I’ll give it a try. Time will tell…


The phone app’s UI will time out?! Holy #$@*, did I dodge a bullet last autumn when I cancelled my Duo Deux order. I have frequent l-o-n-g calls with VA medical for just about any little thing (US government, natch) and that would makes me throw it against the wall sooner or later. Why has that never been mentioned in any reviews?

My guess is there won’t be a Duo 3.

Steve - as you may recall, I was in love with my Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 last fall until I had two hospitalizations and new grandkids on the ground, and the attraction of that big screen and back I ran to iPhone 13 Pro. At first I used Mini 6 (which I also loved) but moved to iPad Pro 11 by the lure of a laptop replacement. I will admit, however, that the iPhone 13 Pro/Mini 6 was/is a better combo than the iPad Pro 11 unless you are in that rare group like me who wants to get to a single computing solution. All that said, I’d give an iPhone a try because the synergy between it and iPad is solid, smooth, and they coexist excellently.

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@dstrauss Interesting suggestion and frankly one that had not occurred to me. Although my wife has an iPhone, I have never been attracted to them, probably because, years ago, the device seemed too restrictive to me (walled garden). I simply liked the Android model better, especially the Galaxy Note concept.

Fast forward to today and I’ve had no serious reason to consider a non-Android phone… until now. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look into it when time permits…

I tend to use Duo 2 for outbound calls. Haven’t experienced this issue. And I’m able to use other apps while on the call. :man_shrugging:

@Bishop : I’ve always thought that must be some way to keep the phone UI up, but I’ve done my research and if there is, I couldn’t find it. Every once in a while, after the interface closes, I’ll sometimes see a floating hot button that reopens the UI, but I’ve only seen it a couple of times and it does not appear consistently.

One contributing factor is that I find the twin screen form factor extremely clumsy to manipulate while the screens are active. If it is folded fully back during a call, I almost invariably (and despite my best efforts) touch the screen as I try to unfold the Duo… and anarchy ensues. Another irritation factor is that I have very poor success using the “double tap here” gesture to reactivate a dark screen. It almost never works for me. So my point is that the phone UI design, coupled with the screen width and its large active area with no reasonable bezels by which to hold it all conspire to make the phone UX frustrating…

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Believe me, I agree with your clumsy description. And I would still prefer completely flat 360 fold. (But then I’d prefer Windows Phone 10 too.) I only fold it back to one screen when I’m involved in a prolonged text message exchange, or writing a long email and using both hands. I am using the charging cover, which does give me a decent ability to grip the edges and keep my thumbs off the screen(s).

Over the next week or so, I’ll see if I can replicate the other things you’re dealing with.

See, we all deal with work-arounds regardless the ecosphere…

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If they had come out with a plastic bodied Duo running Windows for ARM, this could have been cool. Microsoft missed the mark again trying to migrate to ARM.