Features may be on hold, but I can still post reviews. Now, now... If you resent paying £120 for a Microsoft Slim Pen 2, and then either another £30 for a charger for it, or another £60 for the Surface Duo 2 Slim Pen Cover, there's another way. Go third party and save a fortune, plus you get standard USB Type C charging into the bargain. This Renaisser 'Digital pen for compatible Windows 10 devices' is perfectly good enough for most stylus activity on the Duo 2 or indeed any other Surface Pro or Go tablet...
Features may be on hold, but it seems that I can post reviews. Not there's a huge amount to tackle at 'All About Towers' right now, but for the sake of completeness, here's a look at two of my favourite new skins for the Microsoft/Android flagship, the Surface Duo 2, quite transforming its look...
That Microsoft went with glossy oleophobic Gorilla Glass for the back and front of the Surface Duo 2 is a contentious issue. When clean and new, it feels and looks tremendous. But as time goes on the glass does acquire fingerprints and dust, plus it's always slippery. And slippery isn't good for a relatively fragile folding smartphone. With physical 'in situ' cases almost impossible because of the Duo 2's 'fold back' mechanics, the next best thing is a 'skin', a grippy adhesive panel on front and back to take the brunt of daily wear and tear and to help ensure the phone doesn't get dropped. Enter XtremeSkins, also available for just about every other phone in existence if you want to make a naked phone 'grippier', and bringing 'wood' to my phone for the first time since a Mozo back graced my Lumia 950 XL!
Surface Duo 2 month continues, it seems, with a belt case that almost perfectly fits my own requirements. Hey, it only took a month of searching, but I got there in the end. If you're a fan of belt cases (like me) then this is the one you want, run don't walk, etc. to AliExpress. If you're a confirmed 'pocket' person, pouring scorn over belt case wearers, then a) you're missing out(!), and b) this probably won't be of that much interest!
Continuing our Surface Duo 2 coverage - a possible next step for Microsoft-loving Lumia enthusiasts and also a refreshing 'something different' for Android fans - we have a £82* leather case from premium accessory maker Noreve. In summary, beautifully made (though perhaps go for a different colour?) but there are some design and usability issues that you need to be aware of.
Leaving aside the whole 'started on Windows' back story (hence 'Surface Phone', its longed-for name for so long), the Surface Duo arrived with Android on board and we now have the Android 11-running Surface Duo 2, which I reviewed here two months ago. With a Duo 2 now permanently at 'All About' Towers, and in addition to software features, I'm going to be reviewing some of the accessories available for this unique dual-screened smartphone/tablet. Starting with the crazily priced but ultimately, dare I say, essential, official Duo 2 Bumper. Oh, and... Happy New Year!
You'll have seen my unboxing and first impressions of the new NexDock 360 - a lapdock? A portable monitor? A fancy screen-enabled USB hub? Well, just as with the previous NexDocks ('2' and Touch), the NexDock 360 is all of these. Slightly smaller than its predecessor, the '360' adds a twist in being able to fold back from laptop to tent to tablet. Which is pretty cool, even if the bezels and speaker situation mean that you might not do this very often. The highlight for 'All About' fans is, of course, that this can expand your Windows 10 Mobile or Android* smartphone to a desktop experience. Plus it's a flexible HDMI monitor for everything else. Including iPhones and games consoles.
2017’s Project Andromeda, four years on, has evolved through Surface Phone (unreleased), Surface Duo (2020, poorly received and very poorly selling), to the new Surface Duo 2. It has specs right up with flagships of today, a truly innovative form factor (as per the original concept), and is priced at an absolute premium. But is it for you? I attempt to answer that in my full review below.
What a great idea and implementation. One high current braided (non tangle) cable to suit everyone. USB-A or Type C to Lightning or (again Type C) - a few of these in your gadget bag and it really doesn't matter which one you pull out, since you just adjust the ends as needed. Supporting up to 60W power transfer, at under £20 this is a cable that thoroughly tickles my gadget brain!
Whether a fan of Windows (for AAWP) or Mobile in general (for AAM), one thing you'll have been keeping an eye on from Microsoft is their affordable ultra-mobile PCs, the Surface Go range and Surface Laptop Go. Despite the headline, this isn't as easy as a simple A-B comparison, since each is available in a surprising number of variants - thus, I'll try a compare using broad strokes and concentrate on giving a flavour of what each is good at.