The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 is used to correct the errors of the original Surface Headphones. Most of them are successful. The Surface Headphones 2 (price: $ 249) offer longer battery life, better noise cancellation, and overall audio performance. In addition, you get the Office 365 functionality, which is an excellent addition for Microsoft fans. While this is a great second act for Microsoft, is it enough to get Surface Headphones 2 on the main stage with people like Bose and Sony? Let’s find out in our Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Review.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Review: design and comfort
“Functional, not noticeable.” That is the motto when it comes to Microsoft and its sound hardware. The company hasn’t made any changes to the original Surface headphones, except that consumers can choose between matte black or light gray. Incidentally, everything runs as usual. The headphones are made from a mixture of aluminum and plastic. The extensions and yoke are made of metal, while the rest are made of plastic and the ear cups are made of black leather and memory foam.
If you look at both sides of the lower part of the headband, you’ll see an embedded, shiny Microsoft logo. You will find all of the buttons along the right ear, including power and mute. This page also gives you a USB Type-C port and an audio input. The other buttons are cleverly embedded in the ear cups (more on that later).
The Surface Headphones 2 was a bit stiff when I first turned on the over-ear cans, which resulted in a slight pressure around my ears caused by the oval ear cups. But after about 20 minutes the headphones loosened a bit and it was smooth. I was quite surprised that I didn’t feel any pressure when I carried it. They’re not as light as the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, but I’ve worn the Surface Headphones for four hours with no discomfort for the first 20 minutes.
The Microsoft Surface headphones 2 weigh 10.2 ounces and measure 8 x 7.7 x 1.9 inches. It’s a little heavier than the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 (9 ounces, 8 x 6.5 x 2 inches).
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Review: Setup and Control
When you turn on the Surface headphones for the first time, they can pair when the beautiful woman’s voice informs you. After going to the Bluetooth menu and pressing the couple, this cute, quiet voice turns into a cold robot voice. In my case, I was told that the cans are now connected to my Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
Just like the 1st generation Surface headphones, the new touch controls have been integrated into both ear cups. A quick tap in the middle of one of the ear cups plays or pauses everything you see or hear. The cans also have an automatic pause function that stops the music as soon as you remove the headphones. Double tap skips a track forward or answers a call, while triple tap skips a track or ends a call. To reject a call, press and hold the ear cup. This is also used to call your digital assistant.
Speaking of digital assistants: unlike its predecessor, Surface Headphones 2 is not dependent on Cortana. If you call your digital assistant now, this is your usual program. On the Apple iPhone XS Max I used Siri and Note 9 called Google Assistant.
But the controls don’t stop there. Each ear cup also has a knob. The right side controls the volume level, while the left side controls the 13 levels of headphone active noise cancellation.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Review: Features
I haven’t been an MS Office 365 user for a few years, but with Surface Headphones 2 I want to reconsider this decision. Just like the Surface Earbuds, the Surface Headphone 2 lets you do fun things with certain Office 365 programs. For example, the cans can be dictated in real time with relatively good accuracy in Microsoft Word. Of course there were some problems, but this can be expected with most dictation software. The function even worked when I turned up the volume on my LG TV.
And because I couldn’t get enough of the sound of my voice, I tried the Live Captions function in PowerPoint. As the name suggests, the feature uses Earbuds’ dictation feature to create subtitles in real time so that the people in the back of the room who can’t hear you can read you and follow you. Just like the dictation feature in Word, my words are transcribed almost as quickly as I said them. And when I introduced myself to a crowd who spoke another language, Live Caption can be translated in real time into more than 60 languages, similar to Google Translate.
And finally, Surface Earbuds can read your emails for you as an Outlook user if you use the iOS app with the “Read my email” function.
Like the originals, the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 has a total of 13 active noise reduction levels. At the maximum setting, Surface Headphones 2 dampened my TV properly and completely muted it at a volume of 15. The Bose did it a little better by muting the TV to 20. I passed a group of children during my daily walk in the neighborhood. When I turned on the Surface Headphone 2, the ANC did it so that I could barely hear their boisterous conversation even before I started listening to music.
But now and then you might want to hear what’s going on around you, for example when my friend tried to tell me the statistics about the boxer he was watching. In those moments, turn the ANC all the way down until you hear the voice of this happy woman announce that ambient noise control has been activated. As the name suggests, you can use ambient noise control to adjust the amount of ambient noise that is filtered into the soundscape.
The Bose has the same technology as the transparency mode. When this option was enabled, I could hear the boxing match comment I was watching when I heard Chizzy Stephens’ “Catching Villians” at 50% volume.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Review: performance
The Surface Headphones 2 have 40mm free-edge drivers that the company claims to deliver omnisonic sound, a feature that offers an impressive experience. I haven’t determined whether Omnisonic is a buzzword or not, but I can tell you that the Surface Headphones deliver rich, balanced audio that doesn’t rely heavily on bass or treble.
When I heard Javier’s “Crazy” with a flat equalizer, the sound was a bit narrow. The bass guitar was a little aggressive, but it wasn’t enough to drown out other parts of the track like the strings, the synth keyboard, the cymbals and the drum. The lower end of the Bose was much more sophisticated, which I flattened the equalizer out of. This reluctance let the more sensitive instruments in the tracking room breathe, and I had a pleasant time switching between concentrating on the individual parts of the track and the beautiful tenor of the singer.
Then I played Jay-Z’s “Guns & Roses”, which is mainly based on Lenny Kravitz’s electric guitar, drums and what sounds like a guiro. The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 have reproduced Lenny’s Licks and its scratchy delivery on the hook and conveyed the boastful flow of the rapper. The Bose could deliver more details because I could hear more of the hectic guitar tweets, but it was undoubtedly a more distant performance, even though both headphones were set to 50% volume.
The last song I played was Sade’s “Jezebel”, in which I enjoyed the artist’s complaint, accompanied by an acoustic guitar, then a sad saxophone and a keyboard. The sound stage is so forward that I feel like I’m standing in front of the artists. Again, the Bose gave a productive, more detailed performance that allowed me to appreciate the intricacies of the route; However, it wasn’t as warm as the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2.
Battery life and connectivity
Microsoft has ANC-enabled surface headphones with an estimated lifespan of 20 hours. This corresponds to the Bose. I used the cans for two days to hear Tidal, watch The Toe Bro videos, and answer calls. Even after all that, I still had 10 hours of battery life. If you need to charge in no time, 5 minutes offers an hour of battery life when fully charged after 2 hours.
Thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, the surface headphones can be connected to a variety of devices with a range of 800 feet. I left my smartphone in my bedroom with the door closed and could hear my music wherever I was in the house. I even ended up in my garden without any problems. However, the connection became somewhat volatile when I entered the hall of my apartment building to go out on the street.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Review: Call Quality
Thanks to the integrated microphones, receiving and receiving calls via Surface Headphones 2 is a pleasure. I called the cans several times and nobody could see that I was using headphones. Each caller described a loud, clean tone with no echo or background noise unless I was standing on the street and an ambulance or a police car drove past. Whether I was watching TV at home or walking down the street, I heard my callers.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Review: conclusion
These are first class headphones! With the Surface Headphones 2, Microsoft has achieved the high goals we expected from the originals without making too many changes. With the adjustable ANC and ambient noise control, you can control how little or how much noise you leave inside. The sound is warm and sometimes a little forward, but still offers a great listening experience. Touch controls are easy to master and you get many productivity features.
Sure, Microsoft hasn’t made any drastic changes to the design, but as comfortable as the cans are, I have no complaints, especially at a competitive price of $ 249. But if the silence is golden and you prefer to be delivered in an elegant, sleek package, you should go for the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700. For just $ 50 more, you get the gold standard for noise canceling and headphones. It’s incredibly comfortable and delivers balanced, detailed audio.
For Microsoft fans, however, the Surface Headphones 2 is undoubtedly worth buying.
8th total score
The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 offers better noise cancellation and sound quality with longer battery life and a number of cool productivity functions.
- Comfortable design
- Warm, rich audio
- Office 365 compatible
- Good active noise cancellation
- Audio is sometimes not clear enough