Why should Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa have all the fun? Credit: Tom's GuideDuring its Oct. 2 event, Microsoft announced it was getting into the headphone game and bringing Cortana along for the ride. The newly announced Surface Headphones are set to launch sometime this year for $350.
One thing's for sure, Microsoft is definitely going after Bose and Sony. Decked out in what appears to be light-gray plastic, the Surface Headphones are said to offer a whopping 13 levels of active noise cancellation.
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You just turn the ring on the right earphone to adjust the level of ANC, a feature that's unheard of in premium ANC cans. Even in a very noisy hands-on area, the noise cancelling managed to block out nearly all of the surrounding din, and we liked that we could have precise control over how much ambient sound we could let in.
Credit: Tom's Guide
The over-ear headphones are also outfitted with 8 microphones -- four of which are focused on make sure everyone on the other end can hear you loud and clear.
As far as Cortana, the digital voice assistant, it works just like you'd expect, say "Hey Cortana," to summon her and then state your command. You can also tap the right earcup, as there's a touchpad built in. And as the name suggests, the headphones will play nice with Surface laptops, but since they're Bluetooth, you can use them with all manner of compatible devices -- including the iPhone XS.
Microsoft is giving the Surface headphone an estimated battery life of 15 hours, which is below the 20 hours from the Bose QC35s. The headphones charge via USB-C, and they come with a mute button in addition to 3.5mm jack.
The most pleasing thing about the Surface headphones is how supremely comfortable they felt. In fact, the soft cushiony material on the inside of the earcups feel even more plush than my Bose QC35s.
However, we still have to put both the audio quality and that battery life claim to the test.
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