This study presents the characterization results of a newly developed dual detector in-line phase x-ray imaging prototype. Comparison of modulation transfer function (MTF), noise power spectrum (NPS) and detective quantum efficiency (DQE) for both detectors was conducted when they worked in the dual detection mode, in which two images are acquired simultaneously at a single exposure. The MTFs of the two detectors are almost identical, showing that the blurring caused by detector1 does not significantly weaken the resolving power of detector2. With a 40 kVp and 4 cm thick BR-12 phantom filtered x-ray beam, the transmittance of detector1 was measured to be 32%. The characteristic response and DQE of the two detectors almost coincide, showing that the two detectors have similar imaging performance under the imaging conditions of this study. The DQE of detector2 at the different source to detector distances (SID) also demonstrate a high level of agreement, implying that the reduced exposure level caused by elongated SID did not degrade the performance significantly. The study validated the design of the dual detection configuration for phase x-ray imaging, which has the potential for improving the accuracy of diagnostics at clinically acceptable radiation doses. © 2008 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.