Review of Microsoft surface headphones
According to JBQ, The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 are cheaper than many of the best consumer ANC headphones offered by Sony and Bose, with the features and specs that come with them. Plus, this headset looks absolutely gorgeous. It also has its drawbacks: you can’t disable ANC without enabling ambient passthrough, and the touchpads are easy to accidentally activate. However, it’s a great headset for conference calls.
What we like
- Great minimal design with rotating rings that work well
- Adjustable ANC and pass-through sound
- Super multi-point connection
- Comfortable to wear
- USB-C charging
- Good microphone, microphone mute button
What we don’t like
- Touch-sensitive ears may be activated randomly
- Without folding hinge
- battery life
- There is no way to disable ANC
It seems like every major company is trying to get their foot in the game with one of two products: wireless headphones or noise canceling headphones. However, when you’re as big as Microsoft, you can do both. We used Microsoft’s Surface 2 headphones for two weeks to get to know all the strengths and weaknesses of this active noise canceling (ANC) headset. So should you get a pair?
Editor’s note: This Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 review was updated on April 21, 2022 to include an inline FAQ and update the score with our reader poll results.
People who want multi point connectivity and often need to switch devices will appreciate the seamless connection switching here.
Travelers and cafe patrons who want noise cancellation will appreciate the bright but noticeable Active Noise Canceling (ANC) function.
Anyone with a slightly smaller budget than Bose or Sony can afford can save at least $50 by getting the Surface Headphones 2.
How to use Microsoft Surface 2 headphones?
I don’t usually talk about the carrying case that a pair of headphones comes in, but I’ll say it here: I’m really impressed with the hard case that comes with the Surface Headphones 2. What I like most about it is its slim profile. I can just take the bag in and out of my bag without any problem. The headset is also slim, and the earcups rotate 180 degrees, so you can slip them into a bag, or wrap them flat around your neck when not in use. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a folding hinge, so if you’re really tight on space, it’ll be hard to fit in your bag.
In addition to this one improvement, it is difficult to distinguish the Surface Headphones 2 from the first generation model. You get the same minimal design that’s just as attractive here as it was on the first model. As much as I enjoy the sleek new style of something like the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, Microsoft’s Surface Headphones seem like my ideal tool of the future.
But it’s not just the looks that make the Surface Headphones 2 design good, the headset is really comfortable. I can wear it all day and never feel like my ears need a break. Just remember that the ear cups don’t breathe well at all, something to consider if you live in a humid area.
Mans can putting Microsoft Surface headphones in a backpack
Unfortunately, the lack of folding hinges makes putting them in a bag a bit of a pain. For more protection, be sure to use the accompanying hard case.
The problem I have with the Surface 2 headphones is the material on the bottom of the headband. I don’t understand why Microsoft doesn’t use the same memory foam that is on the earcups. Instead, the headband has a rubber cushion that pulls on my hair when the headphones move slightly. It’s more of an annoyance than a pain point, but still annoying for an expensive headset.
How do you control Microsoft Surface 2 headphones?
Both earcups on the Surface Headphones 2 are touch-sensitive and have rotating rings around the edges that allow for full control over everything from playback to noise cancellation. You can pause or play music with a single tap on either ear, while a double or triple tap on the earcup skips between songs. Tap and hold your finger on the ear cup to access your device’s voice assistant. To adjust the volume, you have to rotate the ring in the right ear while the left ear controls the noise canceling power.
ANC strength can be adjusted by turning the ring.
The touchpads are very sensitive, so I often stop playback unintentionally. Just like the original Surface Headphones, the second generation model has 13 different levels of noise cancellation, ranging from maximum cancellation to an ambient mode that uses the built-in microphones to amplify what’s going on around you, so you don’t have to. Remove the headset.
Should you download the Surface Audio app?
JBQ says, In addition to guiding you through the pairing process, the Surface Audio app also has a few additional customization options you can make to the headphones. For example, you can change the name of the headphones, check for firmware updates to make sure you’re up to date, adjust the noise cancellation strength, and even choose between a few different EQ presets if you want (or create a new one yourself. ). None of these are necessarily essential to using the headphones, but being able to EQ the headphones to your heart’s content is always worth playing around with.
How to factory reset Microsoft Surface headphones
If you’re having trouble with your Surface 2 headphones or just want to factory reset them so you can give them to someone else, there are two ways to do it. The first is simply by holding the power button for 20 seconds. An audio message will inform you that the headphones have been reset to default settings.
The second method is through the Surface Audio application. With the Gaming headphones connected to your source device, open the Surface Audio app and click the gear icon next to the Surface Headphones 2 image. This will bring you to the device settings and at the end you will see an option to reset the cans to factory settings.
How is the connection strength of Surface Headphone 2?
While the Surface Headphones 2 looks very similar to the original Surface Headphones, the inside has been tweaked to be more competitive with the rest of the headphones on the market. While the original versions had no support for high-definition Bluetooth codecs and only Bluetooth 4.2, the Surface Headphones 2 have Bluetooth 5.0 as well as aptX support.
This means that more information is transferred from your source device to the headphones, which should be slightly better quality, although it doesn’t really matter if you’re using them connected to an iOS device as iPhones are only compatible with the AAC codec. If your source device doesn’t support the codec, don’t worry, the headphones will default to SBC, which is the Bluetooth codec shared by all Bluetooth devices.
Connectivity is generally very strong, and it has some of the best multi-point technology I’ve used. While I’m connected to my laptop and phone, the Headphone 2 switches between them. If I’m listening to music on my laptop, all I have to do is pause the music and press play on my phone and the headphones switch to the phone seamlessly.
The most interesting thing is that they can even detect which device you are using.
According to the Windows website, you need Windows 10 on your computer to get the latest features. I haven’t tested these on a Mac or a PC running an older version of Windows, so I’m not entirely sure how they’ll work with your particular machine – but if you’re like my dad, it’s worth considering. It doesn’t get rid of Windows 7.
How do you pair Microsoft Surface headphones 2?
The Microsoft Surface Headphone 2 button and earcup ports.
Pairing with Surface Headphones 2 can be done with or without the Surface Audio app, which guides you step-by-step through the pairing process and provides additional features.
If you don’t feel like downloading the app, you can always pair the old fashioned way by long-pressing the power button for five seconds until you hear a little beep that says you’re ready to pair. From there, just find the headphones in your Bluetooth settings like you would any other pair of Bluetooth headphones. If you don’t want to deal with any of this, you can always plug in a reliable audio cable for connectivity.
You can slide between 13 different ANC levels, though we did our testing at maximum intensity. If you look at the graph, you can see that there is a difference between the normal passive isolation that only affects sounds above 1kHz and the ANC at its highest setting.
The steady hum of an air conditioner drops below 1kHz, and this set of ANC headphones does a good job of delivering sounds half as loud as they would otherwise sound. While these can’t take the crown from the Sony WH-1000XM4 or the Shure AONIC 50, they’re still effective.
wait something is different:
The frequency response and isolation plots of this paper were measured with our old test system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test rig (and appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection.
It will take some time to update the results of our old tests, but we’ll update this review (and many more!) when we can get some sound quality measurements, isolation performance charts, and standardized microphone demos. These are revealed by our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white). Each new microphone sample begins with the statement: “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration…”
Thanks for staying with us, and we hope to see you again when we get everything sorted out.
How is the sound of Surface Headphones 2?
How is the battery life in Surface Headphone 2?
This is one of the key areas where the new Surface Headphones 2 improve over the original, which was advertised as only 15 hours. Microsoft claims that this new model will provide you with 20 hours of continuous playback with active noise cancellation enabled. In our testing, we managed to get 17 hours and 47 minutes, which isn’t quite on par with the claimed 20 hours, but still not bad. At least you can charge it via USB Type C.
Is active noise cancellation good on Microsoft Surface 2 headphones?
You can slide between 13 different ANC levels, though we did our testing at maximum intensity. If you look at the graph, you can see that there is a difference between the normal passive isolation that only affects sounds above 1kHz and the ANC at its highest setting. The steady hum of an air conditioner drops below 1kHz, and this set of ANC headphones does a good job of delivering sounds half as loud as they would otherwise sound. While these can’t take the crown from the Sony WH-1000XM4 or the Shure AONIC 50, they’re still effective.
wait something is different:
The frequency response and isolation plots of this paper were measured with our old test system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test rig (and appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take some time to update the results of our old tests, but we’ll update this review (and many more!) when we can get some sound quality measurements, isolation performance charts, and standardized microphone demos.
These are revealed by our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white). Each new microphone sample begins with the statement: “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration…”
Thanks for staying with us, and we hope to see you again when we get everything sorted out.
How is the sound of Surface Headphones 2?
very good. This is a pair of headphones, so let’s talk audio. While you can change the EQ using the Surface Audio app, I’d stick with the default “flat” setting, which de-emphasizes the response. However, this does not mean that these are completely “flat” or neutral. As you can see from the frequency response graph, the Surface 2 headphones are consumer-friendly, which means there’s a nice bump at the bottom to make the bass notes in your favorite songs easier to hear, while the treble notes are more easily heard. Keep the song reasonable.
Bottom, middle and top
The volume was a little higher than I normally would have liked. On Michael Kiwanuka’s song Home Again at around 0:29, you can hear his voice lose some detail as he picks up the bass notes. On the other hand, the mids and highs are my favorite part of the sound profile.
The vocals on James Blake’s Fall Creek Boys Choir just float over the synth-heavy tracks throughout the song, never becoming hard to hear even over Bon Iver in the background.
Does the Microsoft Surface 2 headset have a good microphone?
No one likes to be interrupted while listening to music, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. Fortunately, the Surface Headphones 2 have a built-in microphone, so you can answer phone calls and talk in conference calls. I used these on several phone calls and never experienced any dropouts or hiccups in my voice which was nice. The reason you should get this headset for conference calls isn’t necessarily the raw mic quality, but the integrated mic mute switch on the right earcup.
Microphone demo of Microsoft Surface Headphone 2 (old):
As of July 9, 2021, 95% of our respondents rated the microphone quality as “good,” “good,” or “excellent.” If you want to use these headphones for your conference calls, you probably won’t get a big complaint.
Should you buy Microsoft’s Surface 2 headphones?
Mans moving the ring on a Microsoft Surface 2 headset
While the touch-sensitive ear cups are cool, my favorite part of these headphones was definitely the rotating rings.
What I haven’t mentioned yet is the price. The Microsoft Headphones 2 comes at a price of $230, which is much cheaper than the Sony and Bose flagships. It is also more affordable than the previous Surface headphones. So you’ll get slightly better battery life than the original and better Bluetooth codec support for less. If you want a pair of Surface headphones, there’s really no reason to get them.
Even if you compare this to the Sony WH-1000XM4, I’d say it holds its own thanks to good enough sound quality, noise cancellation, and excellent multi-point connectivity that’s still slightly better than the Sony. If you want the best codec support and the best noise cancellation, then no, these are not for you.
What about the Microsoft Surface 2+ headphones?
Microsoft Surface 2+ headphones
In 2021, Microsoft introduced a new version of Surface Headphone 2 called Surface Headphone 2+. This new version is targeted at business professionals, with a Surface USB link that connects Surface Headphones 2+ to a computer for an ultra-secure connection. The Surface Headphones 2+ are also certified for Microsoft Teams, with a dedicated button to launch the Microsoft Teams app on the side of the ear and a call status light on the USB link. Outside of the office, the Surface Headphones 2+ perform just like the regular Surface Headphones 2.
Bose and Microsoft made sure these headsets looked like premium noise-canceling headphones, but they took different approaches: the Bose 700 noise-cancelling headphones forgo all the edges in favor of a sleek, modern design, while Microsoft’s Surface Headphones 2 It attracts the eyes.
Both headsets support Bluetooth multipoint, but Microsoft’s headphones switch faster than Bose’s. Both headsets have limited Bluetooth codec support. The Bose 700 headphones only support AAC for high-definition playback, while the Surface 2 headphones support aptX for high-definition playback.
If you have an iOS device, you’ll benefit more from the Bose 700 noise-canceling headphones, while us Android users are better off with Microsoft’s headset. Otherwise, Android users may not experience consistent playback rates with Bose’s SBC and AAC-only headphones. iPhone users will be booted to SBC with Microsoft’s Surface 2 headphones.
What should you get instead of Microsoft’s Surface 2 headphones?
The Sony WH-1000XM4 and the Bose QuietComfort 45 are two clear competitors for the Surface Headphones 2. Sony and Bose have some of the best noise-canceling technology on the market, but Sony beats Bose when it comes to features. With the WH-1000M4 you get 360-degree audio with talk-to-chat functionality and Bluetooth multi-point.
QC 45 from Bose is definitely more comfortable. As with the Surface 2 headphones, you can’t explicitly disable ANC on the Bose QC 45. In fact, it takes you to clear sound just by turning down the ANC intensity.
Go portable with Microsoft Surface Earbuds
Microsoft Surface Earbuds with one bud on the frame and one on the outside next to the blue iPhone 12 mini. The headphones don’t support true mono playback, as the right headphone still needs to be close to the source device, even though it’s in the body.
If you want to stay in the Microsoft family, but aren’t ready to commit to a full set of headphones, consider the Microsoft Surface Earbuds instead. These open-back headphones allow you to hear your surroundings much like AirPods, but they stay in place thanks to the silicone wings. The headphones are IPX4 rated, so you can exercise with them.
This headset has some weird features, which you can read about in our full Microsoft Surface Earbuds review, but if you’re into unique design, these headsets are a good choice.