It’s frankly surprising that Samsung owns Harman, and Apple owns Beats, but neither of the superbrands has ever built a proper pair of headphones. Yes, Samsung keeps teasing the Galaxy buds and Apple has the Airpods, but they merely play second fiddle to the smartphone they go with, and aren’t, in themselves, powerful audio gear. So, it’s frankly surprising to see Microsoft step up with the Surface Headphones, a clean, feature-packed, powerful pair of cans.
The Surface Headphones reflect a design language that complements the Microsoft Surface’s aesthetic. Off-white, with crisp geometric lines, and the Microsoft logo, the Surface Headphones are instantly relatable to the Microsoft brand. They pair with the Surface, allowing you to play music, make and accept calls, and even summon Microsoft’s voice AI, Cortana. The headphones come with two 40mm drivers that deliver sound that should give the Airpods a run for its money. They also come with an impressive playback time of 15 hours, thrice as much as other truly wireless airbuds.
The headphones come with capacitive touch panels on either side, allowing you to play-pause-skip tracks as well as accept-reject calls. Around these panels are large rotating knobs. The knob on the left controls volume, while the one on the right, rather interestingly, allows you to adjust noise-cancellation, pretty letting you decide the volume of external noise too… and when you need to take a break from the audio, just take the headphones off and optical sensors actively pause your audio until you wear the headphones again.