After being delayed in November to spring the Microsoft Surface Earbuds are finally coming to market. As expected, the earbuds will be available globally in 24 markets through Microsoft’s online store. The price has also dropped from $249 to a more reasonable $199 as a likely response to the competition.
The Microsoft Surface Earbuds are for a specific demographic with some unique differentiators. While there is no noise canceling (active or passive) with Surface Earbuds, that is by design. Microsoft sees these headphones as an accessory for the working professional who an all-day work experience with music, calls, and even presentations in the office.
Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds are built from the ground up to deliver excellent sound quality through Omnisonic speakers, unique haptic swipe gestures, dual mic array, and a Type-C charging case that delivers up to 24 hours of playback.
Some of the gestures were already revealed in a recent FCC filing. Those gestures include tap, touch, and swipe. Users can swipe up or down to change the volume. Swipe back or forward to change tracks and double-tap to pause music and make calls.
A new triple-tap on either earbud automatically launches Spotify on Android phones. And on iOS, users can use the new Play My Emails in the Outlook mobile app (US only), a feature that is coming to Android phones soon.
|Dimensions||Each earbud: 0.98″ (25 mm) x 0.78″ (19.9 mm)|
|Charging case||2.96″ (75 mm) x 1.31″ (33.2 mm) x 0.98″ (25 mm)|
|Weight Each earbud||7.2g with ear tip|
|Charging case||40g without earbuds|
|Frequency response||20 –20 kHz|
|Microphone||Two microphones per earbud|
|Battery life||Up to 24 hours battery with included charging case|
|Up to eight hours of continuous listening per charge|
|A 10-minute charge provides up to one hour of battery life|
|Cord||USB-A to USB-C cord (1 meter)|
|Audio codecs||SBC and aptX|
|Compatibility||Windows 10, Android 4.4, iPhone 5, iOS9, Bluetooth 4.1/4.2|
|Controls||Touch, tap, swipe, voice|
|Warranty||One-year limited hardware warranty|
In a surprising move, the Surface Earbuds also integrate with Office 365 with gestures, dictation, and translation features.
Pairing is also effortless with support for Swift Pair in Windows 10 and Fast Pair with Android phones. The feature lets users connect the Surface Earbuds with one tap by merely placing the charging case near a Surface PC or phone.
Microsoft has a lot of competition in this space, especially with Google just launching its well-received Google Pixel Buds 2020, which are $20 cheaper. But those buds also have three-hour less battery life and may not be as comfortable as the new Surface Earbuds.
Surface Earbuds go on sale May 12 in Microsoft’s online stores in 24 markets. Although they are launching in “glacier” white initially, the darker gray versions are expected to come at a later date.