Surface Headphones 2: Review

Microsoft was once known as just a software company, but in the last decade or so, they have tested their hands at various hardware form factors. With the Surface Headphones 2, Microsoft is looking to induct themselves as a serious competitor with Sony and Bose’s. If you are seeking a beautiful set of noise-canceling headphones, then the Surface Headphones 2 are a great value. The Surface Headphones cost 249.99, $100 less than it’s predecessor.

Here’s our full review:

Design

The Surface Headphones 2 is a mixture of a very comfortable padding, soft plastic, and durable aluminum to give it a premium finish and feel. These headphones feel very durable and take a lot of wear and tear to damage them to no return. The Surface Headphones 2 come in two different colors, light gray and matte black, with both color finishes being nothing short of excellent.


The padding is very plush, but wish Microsoft would have considered going with memory foam for the padding to heighten that comfort experience.
I went on a small road trip with my family, and there were moments in which I forgot I was wearing headphones, because of how light these headphones were. There were no instances of discomfort, and being a person that wear glasses, I did not feel my glasses pushing into my head as I’ve experienced with a lot of headphones.

These headphones can be worn for several hours without any discomfort at all. These headphones are not made for working out; the padding would lead to you overheating quickly.


The headband on the headphones blends well into the overall finish of the headphones. The adjustment slider on the headband is very satisfying and fits around the head well.


One design element that these headphones have over the competition is the turn dials for volume and noise cancellation. The noise cancelation turn dial is the most satisfying feature of these headphones.

Ease-of-Use

You can control the Surface Headphones 2 through touch controls and the dials. Tapping the center of the touch area will do various things, such as; play or pause music, switch to the next track or previous track, you can also use tap gestures to make calls, decline, etc. There were instances in which the touch area can be very sensitive, which makes it easy to accidentally pause music, due to the touch area being pretty big.

On the right earcup you will find the power/pairing button, mute button, LED light, USB-C port, and 3.5mm port.

Like I mentioned earlier, the dials are the most satisfying design element of these headphones. Turning the right dial adjusts the volume, and the left dial adjusts the noise cancellation.

Audio Performance

The Surface Headphones 2 deliver excellent audio performance powered by 40mm drivers; Microsoft calls this “Omnisonic sound.”

To test out the sound quality, I decided to listen to R&B legend Brandy’s latest album “B7”. Brandy is known for stacking harmonies and warm tones, so listening to some of her music seemed perfect to test these headphones.

The Surface Headphones 2 bass shine throughout every listen, even though they do not deliver the best bass that you can find in headphones around the same price range. The warm texture of Brandy’s voice does shine a lot here due to the friendly and wide soundstage that the headphones present. However, the treble frequencies lack substance, and the mid rates are very minimal.

Delivering excellent sound quality is very important for headphones, and these do that right, but they’re a couple of mishaps, especially if you are a huge audiophile.

Noise Cancellation

Microsoft touts their noise cancellation as being made to block out the human voice, and they excel well at doing that. There are 13 levels of noise cancellation to choose from.

The left dial controls the noise cancellation by turning it backward or forward for your desired levels. I wish the headphones did let you know what level you are at, which would probably be annoying if it was a feature; instead, it only signifies if the headphones are a max noise cancellation or no noise cancellation. However, when no music is being played, the voice assistant will let you know when you’re at max noise cancellation, no noise cancellation, and ambient sound amplification. With ambient sound amplification, the Surface Headphones 2 will amplify your surrounding’s sound to ensure that you can hear what is going on while you are listening to music.

The noise cancellation on the Surface Headphones 2 is superb, they are not as great as what the Sony WH-1000XM3 offers, but for a $100 less, they do not lack much.

Battery Life

Microsoft increases the battery with this iteration of the headphones by five hours, making the Surface Headphones 2 20-hours of battery life. It is possible to get through a week of traveling to work before charging these headphones.

Should you purchase them?

The Surface Headphones 2 has a lot of potentials to compete with very high-end headphones. They are definitely worth the purchase, especially since Microsoft dropped the price by $100 compared to its predecessor and the competitors.

The noise cancellation, turn dials, and bass are the shining factors here. These headphones have a good sound quality overall and for a great price. With so many competitors out there, the Surface Headphones 2 shows that Microsoft is very serious about being a part of the hardware space.

Buy these if you want to experience an enjoyable listening experience, simplistic controls, ease of use, comfort, and fantastic noise cancellation, for a $100 less than what Bose and Sony offer. If you’re an audiophile, I would suggest stepping into Sennheiser, Sony, or Bose, until Microsoft iron out the overall sound quality.

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