The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 has finally been unveiled. The wireless headphones and all its refreshed features, including 20 hours of battery life, will be available to purchase soon.
In our Microsoft Surface Headphones review, we gave Microsoft’s debut cans 4 out of stars. And the Surface Headphones 2 seem ready to make the excellent ‘phones even better. With improved active noise cancellation controls, a longer battery life, Swift Pair fast Bluetooth pairing and a $249 price tag, the Surface Headphones 2 are shaping up to be a sexy set of headphones.
But are the Surface Headphones 2 ready to challenge the category-leading Bose 700 or Sony WH-1000XM3 for the best noise cancelling headphones title? Microsoft’s pair won't beat Sony’s in battery life, but offer more ANC levels than Bose’s and cost $150 less.
The headphones will also support the live caption technology introduced with the Microsoft Surface Earbuds, making it perfect for productivity and presentations. There's certainly a case for Microsoft’s newest headphones being some of the best accessories for Surface users.
We'll have to conduct a full review of the Surface Headphones 2 before coming to conclusions, but we're excited about what's on paper right now.
Here's everything there is to know about the Surface Headphones 2, including how to order a pair of your own.
Color: Light Gray and Matte Black
Battery Life: 20 hours
Voice assistant: Cortana, Google Assistant and Siri
Active noise cancellation: Yes, 13 levels
Controls: Power button, Mute button, Volume dial (right ear), Noise Cancellation dial (left ear)
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 release date and price
The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 cost $250 and will be available to order starting May 12. Microsoft will list the Surface Headphones 2 on its website, although the headphones should be available from third-party retailers like Best Buy, too.
Whether you opt for the brand's Light Grey finish or have eyes on the new Matte Black look, you could have your own pair of Microsoft Surface Headphones by the end of next week if you order at launch.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 design and controls
Like the original Surface Headphones, the Surface Headphones 2 are an attractive pair of cans. In fact you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the old pair and brand new one. The beauty and alternations are in the details, and the Surface Headphones 2 have several worth admiring.
The 10.2-ounce cans consist of firm, yet pliable aluminum extenders, circular plastic cups and a steel headband. It appears the Headphones 2 sport the same soft-touch exterior, while soft memory foam surrounds the inner ear cups for a pillowy fit.
What's entirely fresh about the Headphones 2 is its controls system. While on-ear dials can be used to change the volume and 13 ANC levels, new tap sensors let users touch to skip tracks, answer calls and summon a voice assistant.
Plus the Surface Headphones 2 can sense when wearers take the cans off, pausing music until they're put back on.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 specs and battery life
Like the first Surface Headphones, the Surface Headphones 2 pack Microsoft's 40-millimeter Free Edge speaker. While it supports Bluetooth, you can also listen through a 3.5-millimeter audio connector.
The Surface Headphones 2 support Cortana, Siri and Google Assistant, meaning users can pair their voice assistant of choice for on-the-go help. Cortana is most in sync with Microsoft's system and, similarly, the Headphones 2 Swift Pair feature only works with Windows 10 PCs.
When Headphones 2 are connected to Windows, users can take advantage of the live caption technology Microsoft unveiled at its last Surface event. Rather than type, users can talk to work in Word, Outlook and PowerPoint, including translation into over 60 languages.
Microsoft says the Surface Headphones 2 last for 20 hours on Bluetooth and with ANC enabled. ANC zaps juice. so users might get longer when it's turned off. A 5-minute charge offers an hour of music, meaning the headphones should be entirely charged in just under 2 hours.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 outlook
We'll need to conduct a full review of the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 to gauge its audio and active noise cancellation performance against the competition. While we can say the Headphones 2 look great on paper, we'd need to spend hands-on time with the cans to test them in the grades that matter most.
We're big fans of the first Surface Headphones, so there's no reason to suspect we won't like these new ones, too. But wireless headphones are improving at a steady pace, and we'll need to feel the effect of Microsoft's enhancements for another 4-star rating.
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