Surface headphones review: competition for Bose and Sony?
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Unboxing and initial setup
I already wrote about the unboxing and the initial setup of the Surface Headphones in one own hands-on. Here is a brief overview again.
The headphones come in packaging similar to that of other SurfaceProvery similar to products. If you lift the lid, there is a case on top in which the Product lies. This also includes a jack cable, USB-C cable and a simple quick start guide. Microsoft packed a few pieces of paper under the carrying case. The fastest way to set up is via the Bluetooth settings of the respective device. The Headphones app is also available for Windows.
Design, workmanship and comfort
When it comes to Surface Headphones, we're dealing with over-ear headphones. This means that the ears are completely enclosed and that there is a certain amount of noise suppression. In addition, the headphones offer Active Noise Canceling, which I will explain in more detail later. Microsoft offers the headphones in one color, namely gray. The processing turned out to be flawless in my test.
As you might already see from the pictures, the sides of the Surface Headphones look a bit strange. That's because there pro There is a rotary wheel on each side. The right one regulates the volume, the left one the intensity of the noise suppression. The surfaces are touch sensitive and can be used to control music or other media. Microsoft installed one USB-C (very exemplary!) and one jack as connections. On the buttons you will find a power button and a mute button for the microphone. You can pause the music using the touchpads.
I was able to wear the Surface Headphones for a long time without any discomfort. This is thanks to the soft ear pads and the soft headband. Like all other headphones of this type, Microsoft's headphones can also be adjusted in size. Even with my big head, I was able to find a step that would fit well.
A few more words about the carrier bag, which I mentioned in the unboxing part. This is also gray and has a subtle Microsoft logo on the lid. Inside it offers enough space for the charging cable, the jack cable, a power supply of your choice and the headphones. Unfortunately, it is quite large, which means that it takes up a lot of space in suitcases and bags. This is because the on-ear headphones cannot be folded up. I hope a second generation will come with this feature.
Specifications and sound quality
According to Microsoft, the battery of the Surface Headphones lasts up to 15 hours, depending on usage. I was able to experience that during my test phase. In one day, I never ran out of Microsoft on-ear headphones. Most of the time, they had to go back to the can after two to three days. Charging then takes about two hours, depending on the power supply used.
The headphones also offer ANC, i.e. Active Noice Canceling. This can be regulated in stages - there are a total of 13 levels - and suppresses up to 30 dB with active noise suppression and up to 40 dB with passive noise suppression. In my test, the noise cancellation worked very well. While I could still hear ambient noises to some extent at the lowest level, they were completely filtered out at the highest level.
Now let's clarify the most important thing of all, the sound quality of the Surface Headphones. I've had the experience that these can get very loud and the sound is still crystal clear. The bass is very powerful, which I like a lot, and the highs are okay too. If you put the headphones on at an angle, however, it can happen that a kind of reverberation occurs. Adjusting the headphones can help here.
Surface Headphones: app
Microsoft also offers an app for their own on-ear headphones. However, these are only available in the Microsoft Store, not in the Google Play Store and not in the Apple App Store. I don't understand because Microsoft is actually already represented in these two stores and an app for Android and iOS would be very practical.
Unfortunately, I can't say that the app for Windows knocked me off my feet. The first time you open it, you notice that the app's window cannot be scaled properly. Apparently the manager for the headphones was only developed for Windows Phone and just ported to Windows 10. You don't really get a lot of features with the app. Microsoft built in a battery meter, an equalizer and tutorial videos. Furthermore, you can only see which devices the Surface Headphones were ever connected to. All in all, I was a little disappointed with the tool, you could have gotten a lot more out of it.
Prices and availability
Microsoft sells the Surface Headphones in its own online shop, on Amazon and at various retailers. during that ProIf the product currently only costs 260 euros on Amazon, they charge 350 euros for it in their own online shop. So you have to decide for yourself where to buy the headphones.
Surface Headphones: Conclusion
The Surface Headphones are Microsoft's first headphones. And I think the manufacturer did a good job. From the modern design to the sound quality, everything was right for me. The noise canceling also worked very well in my test. Thanks to the long battery life and the high wearing comfort, you can use the headphones without Probleme for several hours at a time. So the price is justified in my opinion.
Nevertheless, I found two points of criticism: the large carrying case and the app. The case is very large, which means that it takes up a lot of space in bags and suitcases. I think it's a shame that the app has very few features and is only available for Windows.
Thank you for providing the Surface Headphones.