Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds are finally ready to hit shelves, and they’ve brought the new Surface Headphones 2 along with them. The new active noise cancelling headphones take on the latest from Beats, Sony, and Bose, with more battery life to go alone with it.
Surface Headphones 2
Microsoft’s second-generation headphones promise better sound quality and longer battery life over their predecessors, but the same easy control over just how much of the real world makes it through to your ears. The Omnisonic sound system has been tweaked, with 13 levels of active noise cancellation that can be controlled using the dial on the left ear.
The right ear gets the volume dial, which controls up to 115dB of output. As before, there’s support for Bluetooth, USB-C, or an old-school 3.5mm cable; Microsoft includes the latter to in the box, plus a carrying case.
Battery life is up to 20 hours, while playing music over Bluetooth, with active noise cancellation switched on. A 5 minute charge is enough for close to an hour of music playback, Microsoft promises. There are, of course, microphones for using the Surface Headphones 2 as a hands-free kit, whether that’s for calls or for dictation in Windows 10.
Swift Pair is included, for easier connecting to that Windows 10 PC. There are mute and touch control interfaces too, and the headphones automatically pause playback when you take them off, and resume when you put them back on. Microsoft has redesigned the ear cups as well, so that they rotate 180-degrees to sit more comfortably when you have them hanging around your neck.
As well as the Light Gray of the originals, the new Surface Headphones 2 will also come in a Matte Black finish. Either way, they’ll go on sale from May 12, priced at $249.
Surface Earbuds aren’t exactly new – in fact, Microsoft took the wraps off its Apple AirPods and Google Pixel Buds competitor back in October last year. Their release was delayed until now, however, alongside the Surface Headphones 2.
You still get three sets of silicone ear tips to choose between, and touch gestures support for controlling playback, volume, and calls. If you’re a Spotify user on Android, you can summon playback instantly with a triple-tap. A version of the Omnisonic audio system for earbuds is used, too, and each earbud has dual microphones.
There’s Swift Pair, of course, and a battery good for up to eight hours per earbud. With the case good for two additional charges, that means 24 hours of playback in all. A 10 minute charge is enough for an hour of use, and the case charges via USB-C.
The Surface Buds are IPX4 waterproof rated, and they support both the SBC and aptX audio profiles. Surface Earbuds will go on sale from May 12, Microsoft says, priced at $199.