You can actually turn your Surface Duo device into an Android PC

by Alexandru Poloboc
Alexandru Poloboc
Alexandru Poloboc
News Editor
With an overpowering desire to always get to the bottom of things and uncover the truth, Alex spent most of his time working as a news reporter, anchor,... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Are you already bored with your Surface Duo or other Android devices?
  • We're about to show you a neat little trick you actually didn't know about.
  • Inside almost all latest Android gadgets there is a hidden developer mode.
  • Accessing this secret option can turn your device into a little Android PC.
surface duo desktop

There are a lot of Surface users out there, and many of them have opted for a Surface Duo to have in their pockets as well, besides the tablets or laptops that await them at home.

Why, you ask? Well, one of the best-selling features of the Surface Duo is the productivity boost it supposedly offers.

And it’s true, as having two screens means you can do more at once. But we know how the human mind works, and many have been wondering if they can add another monitor.

The answer is you can, and the gadget actually has a hidden desktop mode feature which, when turned on, can turn your Duo into a mini Android PC.

How to enable desktop mode on your Android device

If you want to test this out, you don’t even need a Surface Duo, any Android phone running Android 10 or Android 11, that supports video output over USB-C, will actually work.

This hidden desktop mode is woven into the developer mode, so not many ever used it until now. Keep in mind that this will never work on Pixel devices because Google disables video output over USB-C.

All you have to do in order to access it yourself is open the Settings menu and scroll down to the bottom, where you need to tap on About.

Now, tap on the build number a total of seven times, and then enter in your PIN to confirm. Once you did that, scroll back to the main page of the Settings menu, choose System and then tap Developer Options.

As a final step, scroll down to the Apps section and toggle the switches for Force Desktop Mode, and Enable Freeform Windows.

We’re done, and all that’s left is to reboot your phone and then plug it into a display using a USB-C connection.

However, the Desktop Mode on your Surface Duo device isn’t as fun or effective as Samsung’s DeX mode.

Sure, it’s a neat trick you can do from your portable device, but it only lets you open the same apps from your phone in a windowed mode and you can drag the apps around your screen, and resize them like you could on a Windows PC.

You can also open additional apps on the main screen of your Duo, and apps can even be opened on the secondary screen by dragging up to open the app drawer.

Another important factor to consider is that the experience is buggy for the time being. Crashes are pretty common, leaving your screen blank.

So, now that you know this neat little trick, you can try it out for yourself and see what you think. Have you tried this yet?

Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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