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Microsoft Surface Duo Phones Are Falling Apart at the Seams

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Microsoft Surface Duo Phones Are Falling Apart at the Seams
A closeup of a broken USB-C port
Josh Hendrickson

The Surface Duo is a bold take on a new mobile device category that almost no one should buy. It’s ultimately a first-generation device that suffers from first-generation mistakes. And nothing shows that more than the incoming reports of cracked USB-C ports and bulging displays. Unfortunately, that includes this Review Geek writer’s Surface Duo.

When the reports started pouring in from Reddit that Surface Duo suddenly had cracked USB-C ports and building displays, we held on reporting. It’s hard to say how widespread the issues are and what user interactions contributed to the problem.

A closeup of a slightly bend Surface Duo with a cracked port.
Look closely and you can see the glass lifting from the seams, dust is already trapped inside. Josh Hendrickson

But now, the Surface Duo I personally purchased started showing the exact issues others have described. What started as a hairline crack near the USB-C port developed into a full break. And a close inspection reveals a curvature to the display that didn’t exist before. The glass is lifting from the back just above the USB-C port, and dust made its way in already.

A closeup of a Surface Duo with a noticeable bulge and glass separation.
Zoom in and you can see the dust making its way into the glass bulge. Josh Hendrickson

As a work-from-home writer living in a global pandemic, I don’t leave home often. The Duo spends most of the time on a desk or in my hands. It’s seldom in my pocket, and I’ve kept the included bumper on the device since day one. I only removed it to take pictures of the issue.

And yet, the USB-C port still cracked, and there is a noticeable separation of glass right above the port in question. It’s obvious part of the problem is the Duo’s frame. It’s white plastic, and due to the slender profile of the Duo, the plastic housing is incredibly thin around the port.

We’re not sure how Microsoft didn’t discover the issue in testing, it took less than a month of real-world use to show up on devices in the wild, after all. But hopefully, the company will fix the problem before releasing the next version of the Duo.

For now, I’m left wondering if it’s worth getting a replacement when it seems likely to happen again. For now, I’m left wondering if it’s worth getting a replacement when it seems likely to happen again. It’s a phone like no other, but that doesn’t matter if the device will just break again in a month.

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